Plagiarism: American author, Nora Roberts, addresses Tomi Adeyemi’s allegations

Nora Roberts and Tomi Adeyemi
Nora Roberts and Tomi Adeyemi

Popular American romance writer, Nora Roberts, has responded to plagiarism allegations made by Nigerian author, Tomi Adeyemi, on social media.

Ms Roberts is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 190 novels while Ms Adeyemi is an award-winning Nigerian writer based in the U.S.

Ms Adeyemi, in a tweet on Wednesday, accused the American writer of stealing the book title “Of Blood and Bone” from her own fantasy novel “Children of Blood and Bone” and “shamelessly” profiting off it.

With pictures comparing Ms Adeyemi’s 25-week NY Times Bestseller ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ and Nora Roberts’ upcoming sequel ‘Of Blood and Bone’, Adeyemi tweeted: “It would be nice if an artist could create something special without another artist trying to shamelessly profit off it.”

Some hours later, the author retracted her statement, saying that she now believes the titles were created in isolation.

Although Ms Adeyemi tweeted an apology, explaining that Roberts reached out to her to clarify, she did not take the accusation down, leaving fans to continue to criticise the writer.

Ms Roberts, writing on her blog, addressed the issue in a post titled “Mob Rule on Social Media.”

In the blog post, she called out the Nigerian-American author as reckless, foolish, unprofessional and emotional, lacking basis for the accusations.

The long post has an obviously upset Roberts revealing that her team reached out to Ms Adeyemi’s asking that the tweet be taken down, and no reply has been given.

Here is an excerpt of the statement:

“I don’t believe, and have never believed in taking personal issues onto public forums. I don’t believe, and have never believed–will never believe–in a writer attacking another writing on a public forum. It’s unprofessional, it’s tacky and the results are, always, just always, ugly.

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.

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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.”

The main reason for her public address was, though Ms Adeyemi had put out an apology, she has so far done nothing to put out the fires she had started.

She wrote: “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.

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