Hi all! Today I've got a rather frightening case of "author behaving badly" for you. I don't have all the details but I'll update as I find more out. All of this is taken from the agent's twitter account. (BTW, thanks go out to author Naomi Clark for originally finding and pointing this out!!)
Less than 24 hours ago, agent Pam van Hylckama was attacked in her car. The guy came up and knocked a side mirror off, then when Pam unrolled the window to talk to him, he began slamming her head against the steering wheel. Luckily Pam's dog was there to help protect her, biting the man and causing him to flee. Pam later called the police at the urging of a family member.
Then they realized that it might not be a random attack. As stated above, Pam works as an agent and as such, both declines and accepts manuscripts and authors on a regular basis. The police believe that the guy that assaulted her (who is unnamed so far) was someone that she turned down. A look through her email showed that she'd received emails that said "The normal I hate you and I want you to die and I'll kill you". Pam had sort of just ignored those for the most part since agents get these all the time, but apparently the guy who sent these also had priors against him. The police then used the address the guy gave in his query to go to his house, where they discovered him with a bite mark on him from Pam's dog. The guy is now officially in police custody.
To put it frankly, this is pretty terrifying. Pam was just doing what agents do, yet she got attacked for it. I know that most of the irate and badly behaved authors would not stoop to physical violence, but this still is pretty scary. You never know when someone is going to take the information they discover about you, track you down, and try to physically assault you. Seriously, this is messed up.
Pam has been fantastic enough to give me a little mini-interview! Click here to go there!
I just logged on and noticed that there's been a fuss in the comments. I've deleted two of the remarks that were only made to be mean spirited and hateful. One made remarks while pretending to be someone else. Another insinuated that someone's sexuality affected their judgement. Neither contributed to the conversation at all.
But let me make this one point clear: it doesn't matter how Pam may or may not have acted towards the writer when rejecting his manuscript. Do I think she was rude? No. I don't. I think she probably gave him a form letter or something along those lines that she's given to countless other authors. She doesn't strike me as the type of person that would be rude or nasty. However even if she'd set his manuscript on fire, let her dog pee on the ashes, and made up a list of things she'd rather do than read any more of his book (such as rinsing her eyes out with lemon juice), that does NOT give him the right to attack her. That also doesn't mean that she "deserves" to be attacked. That it was fairly easy for the loon to track her down doesn't mean that she deserves the attack either. Rather than saying that she's at fault for having her personal information easily detectable, people should be lamenting that there are enough people with poor impulse control to where such things are necessary. That's blaming the victim and up to that point Pam had no reason to hide her information. She had no way of knowing that one of the people submitting to her would be that crazy.
As I can tell, the guy that attacked Pam had priors. That means that Pam was likely not the first person he lashed out against. This also means that no matter how polite Pam was, how much pains she took to spare his ego, or how kind her words might have been, this guy probably would've gone after her. It doesn't take a lot to set off someone who is mentally unstable. He might have attacked her even if his manuscript had been accepted, just because he didn't like the terms she was offering him. My point here is that the people who do this sort of thing are the type of people that would see anything as an invitation to an attack. Some of these crazies do it just because their shoe laces came untied. That anyone would ever think that for a second Pam might have done something to "deserve" this or that this crazy freak's attack was in any way justified is incredibly messed up.
THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR PHYSICAL VIOLENCE. How Pam may or may not have acted is irrelevant. There is no excuse for violence. We're human beings, not animals. The person that attacked Pam stalked her and then proceeded to smash her face against her steering wheel. The only reason that's all he did was because her dog defended her against the other person's assault. That anyone would think that a physical assault is an appropriate reaction to a manuscript getting declined is rather disturbing. Again, even if she was the rudest person on earth, which I doubt she was, that doesn't make physical violence acceptable. I'm going to assume that this person was coming on here to troll, but I wanted to make this statement because unfortunately there's always a group of people who will try to blame the victim in all of this, regardless of the circumstances.
I don't usually censor or delete posts on here, but I'd much appreciate it if people didn't make it necessary.
I've noticed that on some of the various news sites about this, people are questioning Pam's apparent retraction of the statement that the guy had been apprehended and that it was likely to be the same guy that she rejected manuscript-wise.
I do want to make a brief statement on this, saying that until the case has been through the court system and everything has been 100% proven in a court of law, you have to be careful about how you discuss things. It's fairly normal for a lawyer to tell someone that they should refrain from making any absolute statements saying "this person did this" or "I believe it's someone I rejected at work". If this goes to court then those statements can be used in the case against the guy that attacked her. The guy's lawyer can say that she "poisoned the well" against the client and so on. There's a lot of ways that a good lawyer can twist this around, which is why she's more than likely being vague about everything now. This does not mean that the attack didn't happen or that the guy that attacked her isn't the same one whose manuscript she declined. It just means that Pam probably lawyered up and is being told that being vague right now is her friend.
Now as for the allegations that she's too calm for someone that has been attacked, people respond to things differently. We also have no way of knowing exactly how frantic Pam actually was at this time. It's very, very common for people to kind of detach themselves from everything. It's a form of denial and it's fairly common. I've known a few people who have had some pretty awful stuff happen to them and they discuss everything with a minimum amount of fuss and screaming. It doesn't mean that the trauma didn't happen, just that they hadn't fully processed everything yet. Everyone deals with things differently and just because Pam wasn't ZOMG-ing on various social sites doesn't mean that the attack didn't happen.
*Pam's Twitter account