Kathleen Hale's own account of her stalking a reviewer
- 1. Obtained a blogger’s address under false pretenses.
- Then a book club wanted an interview, and suggested I pick a blogger to do it.
- “[Blogger's Name],” I wrote back. I knew tons of nice bloggers, but I still longed to engage with [her] directly.
- The book club explained that it was common for authors to do “giveaways” in conjunction with the interview, and asked if I could sign some books. I agreed, and they forwarded me [her] address.
- 2. Once armed with the address, pay for a background check to determine blogger’s name and employer.
- According to the telephone directory and recent census reports, nobody named [blogger's name] lived there. The address belonged to someone I’ll call [ ] who, according to an internet background check ($19), was 46 – not 27, as Blythe was – and worked as [job] of a company that authorises [stuff].
- 3. Rents a car to drive to the blogger’s house (an address she obtained under false pretenses.
- “Well, there’s only one way to find out,” Sarah said, sending me a car rental link. “Go talk to her.”
- I opened a new tab to book a car.
- 4. Why? Because her feelings got hurt.
- “How did you know that she hurt my feelings?”
- 5. he goes to the blogger’s house. Examines the property and the contents of the owner's vehicle, looks at the dogs, compares the information with all the information the blogger has innocently shared online such as vacations and her pets.
- Before I could change my mind, I walked briskly down the street toward the Mazda parked in Judy’s driveway. A hooded sweatshirt with glittery pink lips across the chest lay on the passenger seat; in the back was a large folder full of what looked like insurance claims. I heard tyres on gravel and spun round to see a police van. For a second I thought I was going to be arrested, but it was passing by – just a drive through a quiet neighbourhood where the only thing suspicious was me.
- I strolled to the front door. A dog barked and I thought of [her] Instagram Pomeranian. Was it the same one? The doorbell had been torn off, and up close the garden was overgrown. I started to feel hot and claustrophobic. The stupid happiness book grew sweaty in my hands. I couldn’t decide whether to knock.
- The curtains were drawn, but I could see a figure silhouetted in one window, looking at me.
- The barking stopped.
- I dropped the book on the step and walked away.
- 6. Calls the blogger’s work under false pretenses:
- Instead of returning to [her] house, which still felt like the biggest breach of decency I’d ever pulled, I decided to call her at work. Sarah and I rehearsed the conversation.
- “What do I even say?” I kept asking.
- “Just pretend to be a factchecker,” she said.
- “So now I’m catfishing her.”
- I called the number, expecting to get sent to an operator. But a human answered and when I asked for [her], she put me through.
- I spat out the line about needing to factcheck a piece. She seemed uncertain but agreed to answer some questions.
- “Is this how to spell your name?” I asked, and spelled it.
- 7. Confirms that this is the address of the blogger with her publisher.
- An hour after I got off the phone to [her], [she] deleted her Twitter and set her Instagram to private. A contact at a publishing house confirmed that they’d been sending books to Judy’s address all year, and as recently as two weeks ago.