Zoella ghostwriter Siobhan Curham: 'I did not write Girl Online to get rich or famous'

The author has responded to online abuse from Zoella's fans, saying the thought of writing a book to cash in on someone's fame 'turns my stomach'

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The Independent Culture

The outed ghostwriter of Zoella’s debut novel has spoken for the first time about the online abuse she has received from fans of the popular YouTube star.

Siobhan Curham said she felt compelled to speak out after being accused by Zoella’s fans of working on Girl Online to “get rich and famous”.

She said she did not know that her full name would be printed in the book, and had no intention of “cashing in” on someone else’s fame.

“I did not invite any of this attention upon myself…The thought of doing so turns my stomach”, she said.

Curham also told fans who had accused her of “acting like a victim” after thanking people on social media for their support that they did not know the full extent of “what had been going on behind the scenes in this project”.

In a blog post on her website, Curham said she became involved with the book because it dealt with serious issues such as "cyber bullying, homophobia and anxiety". She said the desire to be rich and famous was based on a “hollow and dangerous” dream, and it did not motivate her to write the book as some of Zoella’s fans had suggested.

“When you build the foundation of your life and happiness on the adulation of strangers it’s like building a house on sinking sand. It could disappear at any moment,” she said.

The author, who has published a number of young adult novels under her own name, said she did have some issues with how the project was managed, but said she was unable to speak about them in detail due to legal reasons.


She went on to praise Zoella, calling Sugg “caring a considerate” and asked people not to blame her personally for not writing the entire book herself.

“I think it would be really healthy to have a broader debate about transparency in celebrity publishing. But please don’t blame Zoe personally for a practice that has been going on for years,” she said.

She added that she felt proud to have worked with Zoella on the novel, saying that Girl Online’s record-breaking sales will have helped the book-selling and publishing industries.

“I really hope that once this storm settles, people will focus on the serious issues at the heart of Girl Online,” she said.

Read more: Zoella publishers admit Girl Online was ghostwritten
Zoella's Girl Online becomes fastest-selling debut novel ever