“Yes, I am saying that Peter Levenda stole my book”

“The roots of the Hocus Pocus essay actually come from a detailed chapter outline I wrote for another book that I proposed to HarperCollins in 2006. I asked Peter [Levenda]  if he could hook me up with his editor [Peter Hubbard peter.hubbard@harpercollins.com ] there. He gave me the guy’s email address, and I sent a 1-page query to the editor. The guy wrote back saying he was interested and wanted to see a detailed outline with sample chapters. I sent these to him. I never heard back from him. A few months later, Papal Magic came out. It followed my outline almost exactly.”

Yes, I am saying that Peter Levenda stole my book. Probably on the advice of his editor [Peter Hubbard at HarperCollins]. It’s not uncommon for editors to take book proposals they like from unknown authors, and give them to more famous authors to write, screwing the original author completely. I just didn’t think Peter [Levenda] would do that to me, but he did.”

“[W]ell, it took me a while to figure out what happened. After I didn’t hear back from the editor, I just forgot about the book proposal completely. I interviewed Peter [Levenda] for the radio show. Everything seemed kosher. He didn’t tell me about Papal Magic when it came out. I found it myself at the book store one day. And in fact, even when I read it, I noticed some similarities with what I had written, but I actually assumed that I had sent the proposal after Papal Magic was published, or after it was in production. I thought maybe that was why the publisher hadn’t gotten back to me–because he already had a book about the same subject in the works. Until one day I was came across the original emails I sent. I checked the dates of the emails and the dates of Papal Magic’s publication. And I looked at the chapter outline I had sent, and compared it with the book. In some cases entire paragraphs are almost identical. Then I realized what had happened.

Tracy R Twyman
February, 2009

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