Romance Author Accuses Family Member of Plagiarism, Stalking
True crime monster-in-law.
A few weeks back, romance readers accused writer Romilly King of plagiarizing fanfiction stories and making a profit off of fic authors’ work. They worked together to contact the original writers, as well as others potentially tricked by King like the audiobook narrators, booksellers, etc. Theft of creative works never sleeps, though, and this time the accusation of theft comes from a romance author, and the alleged theft comes from within her own family.
Author A.K. Evans took to her blog to share the details of what she found to be stalker behavior and accused fellow romance writer Dr. Rebecca Sharp of plagiarism. Before getting into the meat of the blog post, Decay: A true life stalker story, Evans shared that she purposefully avoids entangling her personal life and her author persona. However, she writes that the betrayal has been noticed by too many fans, and it is time to reveal how deep this issue is with Sharp.
The family member in question?
Shared sometime late summer of 2021, the long blog post (with over 20 receipts) details out the more mundane, probably-just-a-coincidence similarities to the more defined examples of theft.
First, Evans shares examples of Sharp posting on social media with similar images, fonts, and captions—sometimes within hours. She writes, “This doesn’t seem like a big deal. They are all simple posts on social media and really don’t matter. But it’s important to this whole thing because it shows a pattern of behavior.”
Next, Evans shows examples of fans reaching out across platforms about similarities and her own research after the fact. In some instances, readers shared with Evans that Sharp reached out to them on Goodreads because they positively reviewed Evans’ books. In the screenshots, Sharp writes that their reviews were thoughtful and she hoped that they would check out her book, as well.
Related or not, this is inappropriate and unprofessional. Reaching out to readers is kind of on par with commenting below a person’s YouTube video saying, “Check out my content.” What’s worse is that, in the blog post, Evans states that she and Sharp are not on speaking terms. Reaching out like this also invited readers to compare both authors’ work, which is kind of ill-advised considering the similarities.
While the premises of the books being in a detective agency or about snowboarders is similar, that alone doesn’t warrant the accusations. Certain premises are genres within themselves. The issue lies in how, some months later, Sharp seems to release books right after Evans. Also, the fact that the plot points, characters’ names, in-book locations, book blurbs, announcement graphics, and covers are the same is a major issue.
Many of these examples are whole series! Even if one could forgive a similar Book 1, how can one ignore the next 4+ books’ plot following the same trajectory?
In some of the similarities, nuance is also lost between the books. For example, Evans wrote about a rape survivor in the title Overcome. Evans compares that to Sharp’s book (always released after) was called Befallen. Where Evans’ book has a line that reads, “It’s time to wake up, warrior,” Befallen‘s advertisement copy reads, “She was more than an overcomer. She was a warrior.”
Finally, Evans shared activity logs on her website, newsletter, and fan Facebook group.
Alleging that Sharp created a fake Facebook to get into Evans’ private book group and join Evans’ newsletters, Evans shared screenshots of an account for a person named Megan Dane. Evans claims she was blocked or the account was deleted after her sister-in-law was confronted.
To help paint a picture of this story, know that the profile image on “Megan Dane’s” Facebook page was of a BlueLivesMatter flag. Yep.
Maybe Sharp just had that in her recent downloads?
In addition to the anecdotal evidence, Evans showed blocked-out IP addresses for the ghosted Facebook user, newsletter, and a person frequently visiting her page for hours at a time that all come from the same location.
By the end of her blog, Evans makes it clear that she doesn’t want her sister-in-law harassed or sued. She blurs out identifying information and invites Sharp to prove her wrong. Evans says Sharp is unlikely to challenge her. Evans writes, “Because she knows that it’s not just her pen name that’s at stake at that point. Exposing her real identity exposes the dental practice. And exposing that? Well, let’s just say that this short story I’m sharing is not the first time her family has made headlines.” Sharp locked her Instagram comments and has not spoken up about these accusations publicly, even weeks later.
In the meantime, I encourage you to check out the 3,900-word account and look at the pictures yourself. There are so many creepy details Evans shared in the blog post. There are also people in r/RomanceBooks who claim to have had alarming interactions with Sharp and her books.
Unredacted, Evans might have enough to pursue legal action for plagiarism, but what she’s interested in is simpler than that: “What do I want? I want this to stop. That’s all I’ve wanted from the very beginning.”
(via Jess Owens, featured image: Dream Lens Production)
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