I ran into a very strange experience last night. My editor, always on the trail of all things interesting, emailed me with the very disconcerting idea that a fellow author I used to know may have plagiarized from me. Now I'm a plagiarism snoop from way back, as any of my students will tell you. I can spot the malfeasance a mile away. Many a student has earned the painful P on their paper from me.
But this is different. This isn't as obvious as my students' plagiarism, if it's plagiarism at all. This is the more challenging type of stealing--the tone and idea lifting instead of word-for-word taking of another's work. I should mention I used to know this author quite well. I won't go into how I knew her, but we were close.
I haven't decided what I intend to do about this. When my editor and I spoke on the phone, she read me what she'd read and I definitely heard things that sounded very similar to Blood Avenged. I have no doubt this author read that book. My editor found what she believes is plagiarism in the sample of the book on Amazon. She didn't even get past the first two chapters. I have to admit that mostly what I heard when she read the sample to me was poorly edited writing, but there were parts that sounded a bit close for my comfort.
For my editor's part, she's ready to buy the book and do the fine-toothed comb thing. For my part, I feel like I always do when the issue of plagiarism comes up. I can't help but feel sorry for the person who believes their ideas and words are so lacking that they have to look to other people's. That said, if I do find that this author has taken enough to make me move past seeing them as merely pathetic, I will have to look into the next step. As any of my students can tell you, I will call plagiarism out when I confirm it.