A Thousand Little Lies

Have you ever heard of Q. R Markham?  If you haven’t, you probably will.

You see, Mr. Markham (which is the pen name for the author Qunitan Rowan) is a plagiarizer.  And I’m not talking about the little borrowing of things here and there…no, if only…the truth is, it’s much deeper than that.  Quintan Rowan plagiarized an entire novel.  He took all the works that ever inspired him to begin with, mashed them up and served them up under the title “Assassin of Secrets”.  And no, he’s not some new Indie who simply didn’t know better..Rowan owns a bookstore in Brooklyn, NY (Spoonbill and Sugartown)…and the book, well, it was published by Little, Brown.

The story of this unfolds like Russian Nesting Dolls.  From the novel itself which, from the very first pages, copies nearly verbatim the works of others, dribbling down to the interviews he did where he passed off quotes of others as his own.  I’m not going to go into the gory details of this disgusting breech of trust and blunt dishonesty…but rather share my reaction to it.

When I came home this evening and told Mark what I’d learned about this–the whole story–he sort of shrugged like it was no big deal.  Then, he kind of laughed and referenced James Fry.

And it was in that moment I understood the difference in weight and balance. He couldn’t see what I saw in this. For me, what Quintan Rowan (and yes, I refuse to use his pen name…because really…what’s the point?  what did he pen?) did was take everything I did, everything we all do, and spit on it.  He’s not an author–he doesn’t deserve to be published.  While it may be funny–highlighting the gaps in traditional publishing, making a martyr of this “author”–for me, it’s just sad.

I don’t know why Rowan did what he did.  I can take my guesses, throw them at the wall, and wait to see what sticks. Maybe he was tired of the hoops and the jumping, maybe the rejections were piling up and he felt broken, maybe he wanted to see just how far this could go, maybe he has entitlement issue.  Who knows.  But what I do know for certain is that he was given an opportunity and he wasted it.  It wasn’t a rightfully earned placed on the book shelves, he piggy-backed off the work of others.  But still, he had a chance.  He could have done what we all do–he could have worked hard, taken the lumps of rejection, pushed passed it, found a way to make the literary world for him in his terms…but he didn’t.  What a shame.

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3 thoughts on “A Thousand Little Lies

  1. Disgusting dishonesty aside, wouldn’t trying to piece a novel out of chunks taken from an armful of other novels be more work than just writing your own dang story?? I am forever amazed by the amount of out-and-out *crazy* in the world.
    Disgusting dishonesty no longer aside, cheaters are utterly abhorrent to me. I kinda hope this guy’s name is mud for a good long time.

  2. Yes and no.

    I’ve heard the point you made, about it being “more work”, said over and over…But…writing your own book and making it good, well–very little is actually harder than that.

    I think it’s the hight of laziness. All the glory without any of the sweat. To simply regurgitate the works of others it’s the polar of actually writing anything.

    Think of your own books…all the time, the worry, the energy in making it read “just so”…and imagine how much time you’d have if all of that work was done for you? Copious amounts of time.

    I remember writing The Milestone Tapes on a plane. My husband was listing to some podcast beside me, totally blissed out, getting ready to take 10 days in the middle of the Caribbean to do nothing. I had a full stocked Kindle in my carry on. If I’d been able to simply “copy” what was prewritten I’d have saved myself time…but no…I wrote 300 words on that four hour flight.

    Writing is a job…same as anything else. If someone wants to do it…be prepared to really do it. Otherwise, spare us all.

  3. Mmm, true enough, writing well is not at all easy. I guess I just don’t fully notice it, because I love it so much; whereas the kind of research that would go into Rowan’s build-a-book method would bore me to tears.
    (That’s right, folks, you heard it here first: The straight and narrow is the far more interesting path!)

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