American Nora Roberts blasts Nigerian writer Tomi Adeyemi over plagiarism allegation

Tomi Adeyemi and Nora Roberts

American novelist Nora Roberts has addressed a plagiarism allegation levelled against her by Nigerian writer Tomi Adeyemi.

Adeyemi, the author of acclaimed fantasy novel Children of Blood and Bone, made the allegation in a Twitter post on Tuesday.

Wednesday ago to share a photo of the cover of her book alongside Roberts’, with photos showing both books share similar titles.

With pictures comparing her own debut work with Roberts’ upcoming sequel Of Blood and Bone, she tweeted: “It would be nice if an artist could create something special without another artist trying to shamelessly profit off it.”

Less than 24 hours after the accusation, Adeyemi made another Twitter post on Wednesday to say that Roberts had reached out to her to say that she (Roberts) had just recently heard of Adeyemi’s book.

“I’m grateful she explained & I’ve apologized, but I wanted to address it here as I know others were upset too,” the Nigerian wrote.

Addressing the issue in an article titled Mob Rule by Social Media on her website on Thursday, Roberts showed the gulf in professionalism and class between her and her accuser.

Parts of the article read: “Recently another writer used her social media forums to baselessly, recklessly accuse me of stealing the title of her book–which is bullshit right off–to attempt to profit from this theft. She had no facts, just her emotions, and threw this out there for her followers.

“First, let’s address the particular title which happens to be similar. I titled this particular book, wrote this book, turned this book into my publisher nearly a year before her book–a first novel–was published. So unless I conquered the time/space continuum, my book was actually titled before hers. Regardless, you can’t copyright a title. And titles, like broad ideas, just float around in the creative clouds. It’s what’s inside that counts.

“It’s just a title.

“By accusing me, in public, of attempting to ‘shamelessly profit’ off of her creativity, she incited her readers into attacking me–on her feed, then on my pages, then on the internet in general. She did nothing to stop this. I have been accused of theft, of trying to use this first time writer–whose book has been well received–for my own profit. To ride her coattails as I have no originality. This after more than thirty years in the business, more than two hundred books.

“I was accused of plagiarism–for a title–of stealing her ideas–though I had never heard of her book before this firestorm, have never read her book.

“And trust me, I never will now.

“This is what happens when a reckless statement is made on social media. It becomes a monstrous lie that spreads and grows and escalates.

“I don’t know this woman; she doesn’t know me. She lit the match, foolishly. Perhaps being young and new and so recently successful she doesn’t fully understand the relationship between a writer and her readers, or the power of an ugly insinuation posted on Twitter. But, God, you should know how tools work before you use them.

“We should all take a lesson here. Think, then think again, before you post. Be sure of your facts before you take a shot at someone. Be prepared for the vicious fallout once you do.”

She acknowledged that Adeyemi reached out to her, but added that the damage done was beyond immense.

“While this writer issued a kind of retraction after I reached out to her, it didn’t stop some of her readers from calling me a liar, and worse. We reached out again, asking her to put out the fire.

“We’ve had no response, not from her, not from her agent.

“Shame on them.

“I had every intention of letting this go, until the flames kept burning, until the attacks kept coming. And nothing was done by the person who lit the match to stop it.

“I don’t like taking my issues public. But I will stand up for myself. I will defend my integrity and my reputation and my work.

“I’m appalled by this, sickened by it. I’m disgusted that people who don’t know me would feel free to say vicious things about me. I know very well the anonymity of the internet can foster such nastiness, but it still disgusts me,” she added.