How Quentin Rowan (aka Q.R. Markham) went from aspiring writer to serial plagiarist—and how everything unraveled after the publication of his spy novel, Assassin of Secrets:
"By then, the mystery about whether Rowan was, so to speak, an authentic plagiarist had been solved. Two days earlier, he’d sent a series of apologetic e-mails to Jeremy Duns, who posted them on his blog. 'I just wanted to make the best ’60s spy novel I could,' Rowan wrote, adding that he was not 'playing a prank.' He signed off, 'Gosh I wish I could do it all over.' He was picking up the odds and ends of his life. Little, Brown asked that he pay back his advance—fifteen thousand dollars, for two books—and reimburse the company for the book’s production costs. He was no longer welcome at the bookstore. He’d been about to move in with his girlfriend, a lawyer, but she broke up with him, and he was planning to move to Seattle. Rowan said that for the past fifteen years he had been dreading being discovered as a plagiarist—“Lots of waking up in the middle of the night and looking in the mirror.” Now he seemed dazed. 'I couldn’t really envision it, to be honest,' he said. 'I couldn’t envision what it would entail, except humiliation.'"
PUBLISHED: Feb. 13, 2012
LENGTH: 24 minutes (6177 words)