Romance Novelist Rachel Ann Nunes Sues Kindergarten Teacher for Plagiarism
Posted on September 8, 2014Romance novelist Rachel Ann Nunes is suing kindergarten teacher Tiffanie Rushton for plagiarizing her romance novels and for harassing her online. Nunes is a Mormon writer who writes G-rated women's fiction, including romances and urban fantasy. She has filed a lawsuit against Rushton, asking for injunctive relief and damages.
The Ogden, Utah Examiner reports that Rushton is accused of taking Nunes' Christian romance novel A Bid for Love, adding in a number of extremely graphic sex scenes then publishing the book as The Auction Deal. Rushton used a pen name, Sam Taylor Mullens. She sent ARCs to reviewers, booked interviews and promoted the book online, according to the lawsuit.
Nunes, a mother of seven children who supports her family by writing, wrote to Mullins asking for an ARC, which Mullins refused to send. Several book reviewers confirmed to Nunes that the books were virtually identical, with the addition of the racy scenes. At that point Nunes says she was harassed online by a number of anonymous users who also wrote negative reviews of her books. Nunes says she is sure it was Mullins.
After trying to resolve the issue with Mullins and getting various excuses as to why the books were identical, Nunes hired a lawyer who tracked down Mullins' real identity: a Nevada schoolteacher named Tiffanie Rushdon. She will have several weeks to respond to the lawsuit.
Nunes has published 47 books. She was a finalist for the Whitney Award, which honors books by Mormon authors. Her book Daughter of a King won Best Book of the year by the Independent LDS Booksellers Association. She has set up a Gofundme page to help fund her lawsuit to protect her copyright. Nunes has asked that readers not attack or harass Rushdon, but to allow the court case to proceed. She said, "I do want to urge people not to bully or name-call her. I don’t want any vigilantism."