ABC news had this story yesterday morning. It concerns a young 21-year-old woman, Alex Firestone, who has basically had to be mom for her 5 siblings, one of them autistic, for the last SEVEN YEARS. She did this because her mother went on a short trip, and never returned. Her mother also conveniently cleaned out the family's bank account before she left. Alex never heard from her mother again.
She took a chance on an internet search, knowing that her mom was a struggling author. She typed in the title of one of her mom's old stories, and there popped up a site for romance author Sandee McCann. New name, same picture. Her mom, now going by Sandee, had apparently struck up a friendship with some man in England, and moved in with him. She started a fairly successful career as a romance novelist under the new name.
Sandee McCann claims that the man she left, Alex's stepfather and the father of her other five children, was abusive and controlling, and she had no choice but to leave. She says that she tried multiple times to contact her children, but her ex blocked all her attempts to communicate.
Alex disputes that theory, saying that she had quit school to take care of her siblings and was home all day. She was the one who picked up the daily mail, and never once got a letter or card from Sandee.
Now that you're up to speed, here's my question: Many of those who left comments on the ABC website wanted everyone to boycott Sandee McCann's books. In fairness, I don't know any of these people. I know that abused spouses go through terrible soul-destroying madness, but I have serious doubts about Ms. McCann's claims. If her ex was abusive, why leave the kids in his care? If she was so isolated and cut off from any money, how could she strike up a friendship with a man she felt comfortable enough to move in with, and grab enough money to go to Europe? After becoming so successful, why not hire a lawyer to insist on her rights? Her ex and her kids are in poverty. She'd have had a chance.
I've always felt that how an author behaves shouldn't necessarily affect his/her sales; but I'll be honest. I've never bought, or read, Sandee McCann's books; after this, I'm not likely to. Do you think any author's personal life should be a deciding factor for a buyer? Or are there levels? An author getting snotty on a blog is one thing- this? For me, at least, it's quite another.