Beyond the Blurb | Should We Readers Ever Accept Kathleen Hale?

Morning bloggers

I feel as if we’re back in 2014. Now, I wasn’t blogging then, but I remember hearing about Kathleen Hale—the author who stalked a Goodreads reviewer who happened to give Hale’s Now One Else Can Have You a low rating—and somehow she has wormed her way back into our community again. Now, what utterly vexes me is how BookPage decided to bring more attention to Hale. Carla Jean Whitley from BookPage sat down with Hale to discuss Hale’s past and her upcoming book, which I see no point in publicizing on my blog. But the title is rather fitting, if you ask me.

I needed a few weeks to calm down and not to feel the need to throw more swear words into one post than I’ve used in all my published work. Hale first received notoriety when she wrote a Guardian article about stalking that reviewer. In her recent interview with BookPage, Hale fails to learn from her mistakes. She even ignores the fact she stalked someone. When asked if she’d continue writing YA fiction, she states,

“No, my career in young adult fiction is over. No YA publisher will work with me out of fear of offending my anonymous online critics/trolls.”

Again, she simply doesn’t grasp why no one will work with her in the YA community. No YA publisher will touch her because she broke an unspoken oath in publishing: do not attack reviewers. What she did was a crime. In late 2013, Jeann from Happy Indulgence eloquently explained why she couldn’t support Hale. And I couldn’t agree more.

Most bloggers know about Hale. We fear something similar happening to us. We question if we can prevent this situation. I understand how toxic the cancel culture is though. However, Hale has committed something more revolting that would warrant such a reaction. There are reasons why bloggers do not list their real names online. And frankly, I wonder if I should have decided to do the same when I first started my blog.

I believe social media accounts should be used carefully. You can easily destroy your career in any field by writing without thinking. But Hale took it beyond a Tweet. And somehow she has gained another platform to discuss her actions without owning up to them. The journalism grad in me screamed while I read the latest article. Why wasn’t the Whitley bringing up Hale’s stalking or didn’t confront Hale’s lack of remorse?

The only sane reactions I’ve read were from bloggers. Give it to Kal from Reader Voracious for being one of the first to call out BookPage.

I don’t believe the publisher, the reporter, and the media outlet realize that normalizing stalking creates a dangerous scene for everyone. You don’t know who has suffered from this illegal act. You don’t know if people are suffering from it now. Stalkers sometimes murder their victims. People get raped. People suffer PTSD because of it. Victims often fear torture or death. They will face other mental illnesses along with PTSD. And unfortunately, some may have to change their entire identity in order to get away from their stalkers. But given that Hale brushed off rape and PTSD and used them as punch lines in No One Else Can Have You, I’m not damn surprised that she disregards the crime once again.

According to the CDC,

  • 7.5 million people have been stalked in one year, and
  • 61% of victims are female, while 44% are male.

And these statistics are from 2011, not 2018. Yet here I am, complaining about another so-called author who will not acknowledge her actions. So instead of our book community trying to ignore another scandal, stand up against normalizing stalking. Call out media outlets who give authors a free platform without the consequence of the author’s actions. Protect our online society.

Readers might say that since I debate whether we should accept Hale’s re-entry into the publishing, then I inflame the situation. No. Let’s get one thing clear: I do not give her a platform. She holds no foundation on my blog. I do not support that author or her publisher. I shine a light on author stalking. I stand up against it. We as a community need to address this scary issue of accepting authors who will do and say whatever they want without consequence. Authors need to be held accountable.

It’s 2019, publishers and media outlets. Fix this problem.

 

What do you think about Hale’s newest book? Do you think we should forgive Hale? Do you believe BookPage should have decided against an interview? Bloggers, let me know what you think.

7 thoughts on “Beyond the Blurb | Should We Readers Ever Accept Kathleen Hale?

  1. This is such an interesting blog post! I actually was going to kick start a new ‘Conversations in a Coffee Shop’ feature for my blog in July with the very same topic of Kathleen Hale because I have…. thoughts and feelings and snark. I almost thought about not doing it when I was reading yours before you’ve said everything I want to say so eloquently but then I was thinking that I also just want to highlight how toxic and appalling and *illegal* her behaviour actually was and the only way to do that is to discuss it openly.

    I’m furious she performed this behaviour in the first place, I’m furious no interviewers are calling her out about it, I’m furious that she’s allowed to not only get away with it but potentially profit from it and I’m also furious at the authors (many mainstream ones) that are also condoning the behaviour. There are plenty who don’t and who are speaking out so I know that not everyone in publishing/ writing is liking this.

    I think the cherry is that she doesn’t see what she’s done wrong but honestly I think the wiring in her brain may not be fully working as she is not exhibiting behaviour or thought processes that I would consider to be ok.

    Plus I’m pretty sure she only got her writing deals because of nepotism so she can just *insert impolite wording of your choice here*.

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  2. I don’t know how she got another publishing deal after what happened the first time, and I hate the fact that she refuses to acknowledge that her behavior was in the wrong. She was in the wrong. She honestly should have been charged with stalking and harassment but I doubt that Blythe would want to go through that (I don’t know her, so I don’t know for sure). I don’t know who her initial publisher was, but to condone this kind of behavior from an author is appalling and I’m glad you posted about this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Did you see the Buzzfeed article that somehow managed to further push the disgusting BookPage narrative further? I don’t know what reality she and her publicity team live in, but I don’t want to be there. It is so incredibly upsetting to me that she is being given a platform to paint herself as the victim. It’s obvious she has mental issues and it’s true that cancel culture is difficult to deal with, but she did NOT stand up to an anonymous internet troll: she tricked someone into divulging the blogger’s address and DROVE TO HER HOUSE UNINVITED, and then CALLED HER AT WORK. She is a lunatic and doesn’t deserve a career in writing until she acknowledges what she did is wrong and apologizes.

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