Miriam wrote a book titled Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person, released in April, which tells the story of her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in comic form. Some journalists, including Liz Szabo of USA Today, have noted the coincidence of two cancer-themed graphic novels hitting the market around the same time. That makes it a trend, and journalists love to spot trends.
Miriam and I made e-mail contact a while ago when one of the first such articles came out. We exchanged a couple of notes, commiserated over some shared frustrations, and basically said, "I guess we'll be seeing each other's names a lot in the next few months." She couldn't have been more friendly or personable. I liked her a lot.
I sometimes get comments from people expressing sympathy or frustration that I have to share my press with my competition. I don't see it like that. First, it's not "my" press in the first place. More likely, without Miriam's book many of the stories written about both of us wouldn't have been written at all. We get more attention together than either of us would alone.
Second, I don't consider her my competition. Her perspective, approach, writing voice, and drawing style are very different from mine (although it's interesting to see similarities where they occur as well). I suspect we attract different readers. Unfortunately, there's enough misery in the world for a multitude of takes on it. I'm not competing with Miriam; I'm competing with all the other ways people can spend $12.95.
So, while I probably wouldn't have chosen to have Miriam's book come out so soon after mine, I think it's working out fine. On balance, we're probably good for each other. I sincerely wish her and her book the best, and I look forward to treating her to lunch someday. We should have a lot to talk about.