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The Ability to Manipulate

Jan Marshall Author Interview

Jan Marshall Author Interview

Romance Scam Survivor is an in depth account of your experience with an online scammer. What was the inspiration that made you want to turn your experience into a book?

Initially I gathered all the emails and texts in an attempt to understand what had happened. When I realised I had been scammed I was in a state of disorientation, so did this to try and make sense of it all, to try and see where my judgment had lapsed and how I had slipped up so badly. I chose to put all of this content together in a way that was totally honest, so the reader to see for themselves if they would have done the same thing. Once I had collated all of this I couldn’t look at it for some time.

The rest of the book wasn’t written until several years later. By that time I had done a lot of research and better understood the psychological skills that scammers have, and their ability to manipulate one’s emotions. Later I was writing to show that it is possible to come through the other side of such a devastating and traumatic experience.

It’s obvious in hindsight that this was a scam, but do you feel that there was something that someone could have said that could have helped you?

I was warned several times that it was a scam, but somehow could not believe it. I felt that the relationship was too intimate to be a scam.

I have also worked with others who are in this situation, and know it is very difficult to break through the hypnotic state that a victim is in when they are in a scam. I wish I did know what might have helped, because there are many others who could be helped with this information. There is no silver bullet that I have found, regrettably.

Do you think that finding love online is an inherently vulnerable prospect? Is there a way for people to be both safe and vulnerable online?

I am not against online dating per se. Many people have established and maintained successful relationships and marriages from meeting online. I do think it is important to not give too much away, especially personal details, until you are very confident of your partner.

For those who do want to do date online I would suggest

  • Make sure you only connect with those people you can meet face to face
  • Understand what the red flags are before you begin – later may be too late.
  • Have a friend mentor you in the process, but start with an agreement that you will take their advice. You need someone who will not be emotionally involved.
  • Follow the safety rules that are set up within the dating site – don’t get enticed to go off the site for convenience.
  • Never give money – ANY requests for money are a scam

What advice would you give to someone that is currently online dating?

  • Trust your intuition: If you have any sense that it might or could be a scam then it more than likely is?
  • Make sure you meet face to face.
  • Follow the guidance given above. If any of them raise concerns, it is likely to be a scam.
  • If you do get caught in a scam, report it to the relevant fraud agency.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Romance Scam Survivor: The Whole Sordid Story by [Marshall, Jan]

“How could you give money to someone you’ve never met?”

That’s the first question most people ask.

For Jan Marshall, life was good. She had worked hard, set herself up well, and was looking for a companion to share her future with. Just as countless thousands around the world do, every day, she turned to online dating.

In just a few months, Jan believed she was ‘in love’. She accepted a proposal of marriage, and then sent money – ALL her money – to a professional scammer.

How did it happen? How can an intelligent person be so thoroughly scammed?

Jan courageously shares the details of her devastating experience, in order to help others recognise such devious swindlers who prey on trusting souls, and maybe even to catch this thief.

You might think it can’t happen to you, or someone you love, but can you be sure?

The work is a non-fiction account and memoir covering the communication between myself and the scammer, based on my records of our communications. By sharing the personal and intimate nature of the interactions it asks the reader to put themselves in my shoes, and in response the question “how could you be so stupid?” is answered. It details the process of dealing emotionally with the scam and the financial difficulties that I found myself in afterwards. It is a story of my process through being a victim to becoming a survivor. Areas that need change are also addressed. Some support resources and links are also provided, though this is not the main purpose.

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Romance Scam Survivor: The Whole Sordid Story

Romance Scam Survivor: The Whole Sordid Story by [Marshall, Jan]

Romance Scam Survivor, written by Jan Marshall, is the story of how Jan herself came to be the victim of an online scam. Jan, a woman in her fifties, moves back to her childhood home in Melbourne. Having originally left to pursue her career, Jan lived independently for a long time, but coming back to Melbourne she had realized she wanted to feel loved. This leads her to look for a match on an online dating website. Not long after creating her profile, a man going by the name of Eamon, from Canada, messages her and they decide to stay connected. They go on to exchange emails, instant messages and eventually call each other; with each step their relationship grows stronger. Jan, filled with hope for a future with a man she has never met, fails to see the numerous red flags along the way.

Jan recounts her story using many of the emails and instant messages she collected throughout the exchange. This is a unique approach to the topic, as in doing this, she shows how the scam affected her emotionally at each stage of the journey. By looking back on her conversations with Eamon she comments, with hindsight, the worrying signs of a scam and pin-points exactly how she got reeled in.

As the relationship grew stronger Jan’s friends and family tried to warn her against Eamon. They tried to tell her that Eamon was becoming obsessive, a trait common in scammers. The reader holds a similar outsider perspective as the friends do in the book, watching as Eamon tries to increase the contact to numerous times a day and persistently asking for personal details. The reader thus feels the same compulsion as Jan’s friends and family to point out the ‘red flags’ of the relationship.

Eamon continuously plays on Jan’s hopes, fantasies and fears. She wants to settle down with a man, so Eamon fills that role for her, talking about potentially moving to Melbourne with her. This makes the relationship all the more real to Jan thus getting her hopes up. Jan’s fear of being alone and unworthy of love also add to her denial of Eamon being anything sinister, even when he change’s topic swiftly to her assets and work history. As the reader, it is hard to watch the scam unfold and seeing how vulnerable Jan was.

The most striking part of this book however, is Part Two, where Jan discusses her recovery. She explains the first days and weeks in detail, exploring her relationships with the people around her. Explaining their reactions, how they questioned her decisions. But most importantly her own thoughts; how she grappled with how easily she had been manipulated and why she ignored the signs.

This book gives a victim’s perspective of how a scam impacts one’s life and with hindsight gives a deeply critical investigation into how they can be manipulated. In an age where dating sites and apps are becoming common, this book could help people who have been in a similar situations, those who are potentially going through it, or potentially instill caution in those that don’t know the signs to lookout for.

Pages: 339 | ASIN: B078KS9Q2M

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Sombristic

Sombristic by [Sebastian, S.A.]

Sombristic, written by S.A. Sebastian follows a close group of culturally diverse friends who are all at different points in their lives and relationships – some are married and some are just trying to figure things out. But, they are joined by the bonds of friendship that keep them grounded in their search for the right person. The title, a word seemingly coined by the author, means to be optimistic in the face of romantic sadness. This being said at the beginning gives the text a positive opening tone – it makes you think that the characters are going to try and be optimistic even when the going gets tough, and hopefully things will work out for all of them.

There’s also a brief but helpful character list at the beginning of the text as the story dives into the deep end in an active scene between a father, son, and friends – so it helps to know who’s who. The list was particularly useful as there is little introductory context, which was initially a little difficult, but the characters come into focus as you continue reading.

This book is written in the form of a play, or a conversation-based work, the text is mostly dialogue and is written in a relaxed style, reflective of each character’s accent with each one being subtly different. The ‘acts’ are usually short, and they jump between different situations and have time lapses throughout, so it can be hard to keep up with all of the different goings on. However, the easy to read style helps the reader stay immersed when they come back around to a previously mentioned character.

The conversations between the characters, when split into male and female groups are very typical of the gender ideals. The men discuss sports and their level of sexual activity and the women discuss clothes and relationship gossip. Although this might be reflective of the groups general stereotypes, I though it made them one dimensional. I wanted to see the characters interested in things other than the overall theme of the book.

I thought that the story was a little hard to follow, as it moved from scene to scene so quickly, despite the relaxed and attractive writing style that kept me engaged with interesting writing. The book incorporates long descriptive passages that are interesting and well written, suggesting that the script would perhaps be more engaging if rewritten as a novel rather than a play.

What the text does do very well is highlight the varied types of relationships and dating that exist in modern society, and explores how hard these can be to navigate. There is also some pretty funny references in this book that made me laugh!

ASIN: B07DW4J71W

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Now You See Her Book Trailer

15-year-old Luke Gray is in shock—his girlfriend Lonnie is moving, and he can’t follow her. Before she leaves, he gets her to promise to wait for him until they are 18. With Lonnie gone, Luke falls into a whirlpool of depression and fear. He tries to stay afloat via sarcasm, 1970s music, and fantasy.

And then a new girl appears on the scene, Sherry, who seems perfect. Without giving up on Lonnie, Luke begins dating Sherry, and she keeps him on this side of insanity. His parents, though, notice disturbing changes in his behavior… and eventually Luke realizes that his relationship with Sherry has limits they can’t move beyond. So he befriends Julie, a clever, down-to-earth girl he quickly grows to love. But when Julie finds out that Luke has never let go of Lonnie, he’s forced to either try to find Lonnie or turn his back on her forever.

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More Than Just a Monster

Thomas Duffy Author Interview

Thomas Duffy Author Interview

Heart Breaker is a dramatic story about one woman’s traumatic and tumultuous life. What was your inspiration for this story?

I had met a girl a lot like Amber during my time on an online “dating” telephone service years ago. She always seemed to have bad luck yet she was very smart and capable of doing a lot more with herself than what she was doing. Her story sort of debunks the lifestyle you see in movies with the “hooker with a heart of gold.” It’s so hard to keep the “heart of gold” when nothing in your life ever goes right. I would like to hope this girl has found some kind of peace in her life. She deserves to.

Amber is an interesting character that is sometimes impulsive and rash. What obstacles do you feel were important to highlight the characters development?

The Amber we meet at the beginning and the Amber we see at the end is a character completely transformed. She has learned the error of her ways in an uncomfortable and heart-wrenching way. It’s important to remember that her decision to do what she does to Jeffrey comes from the way she had been treated. I think we become a lot like the people we are around. Unfortunately, Amber’s abduction by Miguel has negative consequences for her as she ultimately becomes almost as heartless and vicious as he was to her. For Amber to just move forward like nothing had happened to her, that was almost impossible to convey. People always take bad experiences with them for a very long time. She just happens to act on her impulses because of what was done to her.

Was there anything from your own life that you were able to put into the story?

Surprisingly, yes. The forest fire story Amber tells Jeffrey that happened to her as a young girl. That was actually an event in my own life from when I was in the Boy Scouts that I was able to put in the novel. I have had almost as much bad luck as Amber. Some people will not relate to Amber at all. However, I feel she’s totally relatable in my opinion because everybody has had a streak of bad luck in their lives. Hers is just more continuous than the average everyday person. Also, some of Miguel’s suicidal thoughts have some element of realism because they are based on some of the more disappointing aspects of my own life. It was important to see Miguel as more than just a monster. I wanted to add some humanity to him. I hope readers, if they can’t sympathize with him, will understand why he is remorseful in the end.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?

“The Separation,” a new sci-fi book, is coming out in November. I’d like to follow that up with a third book for my truly moving book series (which consists of “One Love,” “To Never Know”). Not sure what the story will be. Several ideas floating through my head right now.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Heartbreaker by [Duffy, Thomas]Heartbreaker is the story of a down on her luck young woman named Amber. She comes to New York City and gets into more trouble than she ever imagined when she becomes an independent escort. When a client kidnaps her, she begins to value her life more than she realized she could. This is the story of Amber’s journey to overcome her past and present on her quest for a better tomorrow.

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