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Libel Suit Contends Romance Novel Based On Kansas City Woman

January 17, 1986

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A woman has filed a $1.5 million libel suit against the author and publisher of a romance novel, contending that the book’s main character was maliciously based on her.

The suit filed on behalf of Jan Hile of Lee’s Summit, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City, contends that she and the main character of ″Moonstruck,″ a Doubleday Ecstacy Supreme novel, are similar in appearance, worked the same jobs at an annual renaissance festival, and dated a man with similar characteristics.

Leland Shurin, Ms. Hile’s attorney, said the novel is set in the Kansas City area, the home of author Prudence Lichte, who writes under the pseudonym Prudence Martin.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court, says both Ms. Hile and Alison Smith, the main character of the novel, are tall and blond.

The suit also says both were part of Kansas City’s Renaissance Festival, worked in the same booth and used the same vendor’s cart to sell their goods.

In addition, both Ms. Hile and the character dated a muscular man from Minneapolis who rode a motorcycle, the suit says.

The lawsuit alleges that Ms. Hile was libeled and has been subjected to public ridicule because of her depiction in the book.

Shurin said his client does not know the author and or why she would create the character. Ms. Hile did not answer telephone calls to her home seeking comment.

Ms. Lichte said she has written several romance novels, including ″Moonstruck,″ which was released in December 1984.

She referred all other questions to an attorney for Doubleday & Co., the New York company that published the novel. The attorney did not answer telephone calls Thursday night.

Shurin said Ms. Hile first became aware of the character she contends was based upon her when visitors to last year’s Renaissance Festival ″pointed at her and said, ’You’re the one in the book.‴

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