Author Topic: When a successful author suffers from bipolar II disorder, or worse  (Read 643 times)

Demon_Lord

I originally was to post this on the private forums, because it deals with someone who is an author, and had worked in the publishing industry for a while. But I'm posting it publicly, and letting Timothy decide if he wants it private. And I'm just sharing the article, because I don't know what to say, except, WTF!

Just when I thought that nothing could shock me anymore, but I didn't know all of this about Dan Mallory.

I assure you that this is not click-bait, but you guys have to read it yourselves to believe it.

A Suspense Novelist’s Trail of Deceptions
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/02/11/a-suspense-novelists-trail-of-deceptions

This article appears in the print edition of the February 11, 2019, issue, with the headline “Unreliable Narrator.”

I'm editing this to add that the audio version is available in the same page, since the article is so long, maybe listening is a better option.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 05:23:19 AM by Demon_Lord »
 
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Shoe

Re: When a successful author suffers from bipolar II disorder, or worse
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2019, 05:48:48 AM »
I haven't read the New Yorker article yet (man, 12,000 words) but elsewhere I've read Mallory's afflictions/stories have been proven false or at least embellished, though not quite in league with Glenn Frey.

"The Woman in the Window" is a great book writing-wise though other's have said the crime/mystery aspects were on the weak side (all I care about is the writing). I finished it last night.

His personal life, whatever it is, is sort of irrelevant to his fiction. If it turns out "Woman" was plagiarized that's a different story, but no one has made that claim.
Publishing since May 2017. Writing full time since January 2018 general fiction and satire.
 
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David VanDyke

Re: When a successful author suffers from bipolar II disorder, or worse
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2019, 06:35:47 AM »
Writers (like others whose primary tools are the mind+computer--for example, programmers) as a class probably have a higher percentage of people with mental issues or disorders than others.

Writing is solitary, so the problems might not cause as many problems as otherwise. Writing produces a product separable from the producer. Writers can create worlds and people different from themselves--they can imagine people with more, or fewer, mental issues than they themselves have. Today, writing and publishing can be done entirely online, by a shut-in, with (for example) agoraphobia. For a bipolar person, writing can be done during the highs and languish during the lows, and might not even suffer significantly, if the writer is not beholden to anyone for a deadline. Certain mental disorders can often create strengths out of weaknesses--such as how some autistic people are savants in certain niches.

One idea of a perfect world might be where everyone's mental differences were turned from weaknesses into strengths, and nobody was socially outcast because of these "abnormalities."
Never listen to people with no skin in the game.
 
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munboy

Re: When a successful author suffers from bipolar II disorder, or worse
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2019, 09:05:17 AM »
If he does have bipolar disorder, then I can understand the lying. I have several friends and family members who suffer from it and it is very obvious when they're manic or depressive. But lying is a part of it...not necessarily a symptom of the disease, but a side affect of it. The lying often is a way to cover up the way their feeling or their actions...usually coming in the form of an impulse lie. They'll also lie to gain attention without directly referencing what's going on with them.

Granted, I didn't read the entire thing. I read the first few thousand words to get the gist of the article and skimmed the rest. But, it seemed like there was no real malicious intent in his lies....not like that one lady who defrauded people in the literary world out of money through her lies and deceit (forget her name). It seems like his lying came from seeking attention and to cover up the actions he couldn't explain (actions people with the disease can't control).

That said, it seems like the author of the article was attacking him because he didn't like his writing. Sure the guy had been lying about things for years, but if it took decades to be diagnosed with bipolar, in a way, it's understandable.

Of course, the actual book...how it's written and whether he copied other books...is another point all together. I'm just not a fan of the personal attack if the man really does have bipolar disease.

BTW, bipolar II is like bipolar on steroids. Huge, deep bouts of depression that are sometimes followed by almost euphoric spells of mania.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 02:45:30 AM by munboy »
 
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Electric Dan

Re: When a successful author suffers from bipolar II disorder, or worse
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2019, 09:08:09 AM »
The LA Times also did an article on him, albeit much shorter than The New Yorker's:

https://www.latimes.com/books/la-et-jc-dan-mallory-cancer-20190207-story.html
     
 
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Anarchist

Re: When a successful author suffers from bipolar II disorder, or worse
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2019, 02:07:25 AM »
Seems like he's playing spin doctor.
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and hence clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." - H. L. Mencken

I keep a stiff upper lip and shoot from the hip. - AC/DC
 
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liveswithbirds

Re: When a successful author suffers from bipolar II disorder, or worse
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2019, 03:50:30 AM »
I haven't read the New Yorker article yet (man, 12,000 words) but elsewhere I've read Mallory's afflictions/stories have been proven false or at least embellished, though not quite in league with Glenn Frey.


Glenn Frey? As in the Eagles?
 

Shoe

Re: When a successful author suffers from bipolar II disorder, or worse
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2019, 04:15:47 AM »
I haven't read the New Yorker article yet (man, 12,000 words) but elsewhere I've read Mallory's afflictions/stories have been proven false or at least embellished, though not quite in league with Glenn Frey.


Glenn Frey? As in the Eagles?

Sorry about that. James Frey, who wrote A Million Little Pieces and was nailed by Oprah for making up his memoir. It was in all the papers...
Publishing since May 2017. Writing full time since January 2018 general fiction and satire.
 

notthatamanda

Re: When a successful author suffers from bipolar II disorder, or worse
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2019, 07:25:13 AM »
Certain mental disorders can often create strengths out of weaknesses--such as how some autistic people are savants in certain niches.

One idea of a perfect world might be where everyone's mental differences were turned from weaknesses into strengths, and nobody was socially outcast because of these "abnormalities."

Since the author in the article suffers (and I use that word literally) from bi-polar I feel compelled to point out that mental illnesses are diseases.  Like any disease, treatments for mental illness may be effective, or they may not be.  In some cases people may have to be on medication their entire life to manage their disease.  There should be no stigma from this, people should be never be socially outcast for things beyond their control.  Respectfully disagree because my perfect world would look like a cure for every disease, or for no one to be afflicted in the first place.  Note that autism is a disorder and not a mental illness and I am not saying autistic people need to be cured.

Edit: adverb needed ly on it
 
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Max

Re: When a successful author suffers from bipolar II disorder, or worse
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2019, 09:50:30 AM »
...

One idea of a perfect world might be where everyone's mental differences were turned from weaknesses into strengths, and nobody was socially outcast because of these "abnormalities."

Preach.
 

angelapepper

Re: When a successful author suffers from bipolar II disorder, or worse
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2019, 03:00:08 AM »
It's funny how everyone has a different take on this story.

What I thought was ... of course an editor can sell a commercially-viable book. They're a bit like indie authors in that they know what's selling, so they can write to market. That's literally what this guy did.

At the writing conventions I used to attend, the ones preying on "aspiring" authors, the editors and agents never gave good advice like write to market or jump on trends. I guess they can't tell the truth because it would be less dignified?

Anyway, that was my take away. The dude took the formula and made a book that was exactly what everyone wanted, and due to being an editor, his execution was top quality. It was funny that some publishers backed away when they learned it wasn't some anonymous newbie wonderkid after all.
 
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Lee Dennis

Re: When a successful author suffers from bipolar II disorder, or worse
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2019, 06:35:23 AM »
There's more to this story:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/books/dan-mallory-plagiarism.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Apparently (I haven't read either one) Mallory/Finn's novel bears striking resemblances to Sarah A. Denzil's “Saving April” published in March 2016.

It's interesting that Mallory's book was bought and published by his own employer, Morrow. Denzil is a pen name of Sarah Dalton, and "Saving April" was published by Kindle Press. Is Denzil/Dalton a successful trad pubbed author who was trying to go hybrid? Did Mallory think no one in trad pub would notice a (semi)self-pubbed ebook?

I'm trying to think of what other person in the news has recently claimed bipolar disorder as a "reason" for bad behavior.
 
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123mlh

Re: When a successful author suffers from bipolar II disorder, or worse
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2019, 07:21:51 AM »
Is Denzil/Dalton a successful trad pubbed author who was trying to go hybrid? Did Mallory think no one in trad pub would notice a (semi)self-pubbed ebook?

As far as I know Sarah Dalton started self-publishing YA and then moved into psychological thrillers where she had tremendous success, so this wouldn't have been a case of subbing the manuscript. She made a brief comment about this in a FB group and the thought was that he might have seen the book after she published it and used the published book as the basis for his own. This would've been at a time when her other psychological thriller was in the top 20 on Amazon so highly visible.
 
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deedee

Re: When a successful author suffers from bipolar II disorder, or worse
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2019, 11:36:02 AM »
I gather Mallory is an unpopular man. That doesn't mean we get to throw around accusations like plagiarism.

 The guys who actually made the movie Copycat (in the 1990s, two decades before Saving April) do not claim to be plagiarized, nor do they claim to be the only humans who are allowed to use the middle-aged woman with anxiety/agoraphobia trope. Assigning a trope to one author or one filmmaker is not going to be a very good thing for those of us who weren't already working in 1957 or whenever they actually made films like Rear Window.

 I get it. It hurts to see people you dislike become successful, and Mallory is widely hated in New York. But this type of article & this type of accusation isn't helpful. We all reserve the right to work with these tropes. People you dislike are allowed to use them too. That's the price we pay for the ability for all of us to access these tropes without endless hours in court. Anxiety/agoraphobia in middle-aged women is extremely common. More than one author is going to write about it. I did read the book. He did a nice job, and he packed in tons and tons of explicit movie references to make it clear that he wasn't claiming to have invented the trope himself.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 11:39:40 AM by deedee »
 
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She-la-te-da

Re: When a successful author suffers from bipolar II disorder, or worse
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2019, 11:38:37 PM »
Quote
If it turns out "Woman" was plagiarized that's a different story, but no one has made that claim.

Not publicly, I'd guess. And not likely to happen, from what I'm hearing in private groups. It's the author's prerogative if charges are made.

I get that the guy may have a mental illness. He seems to be amazingly capable of making things work out to his benefit, rather than the other way around, which I find doesn't usually happen with diseases of this sort.
I write various flavors of speculative fiction. This is my main pen name.