On Tuesday's The Real Housewives of New York City, "BookGate" erupted as Carole Radziwill and Aviva Drescher exchanged heated words about writing their memoirs.
What started off as an innocent lunch – with Drescher asking Radziwill to share some writing advice with her as she completed her first book – turned into a mystery when Drescher seemed to imply that Radziwill had used a ghostwriter to pen her own bestselling memoir, What Remains.
"Is she insinuating I hired a ghostwriter to write my first book?" Radziwill wondered as the uncomfortable lunch progressed. "That's awkward and awful."
When Radziwill asked Drescher about her own writing process, and if she had used a ghostwriter, Drescher replied offhandedly, "I just wrote … It was kind of like e-mailing … It wasn't that big of a deal."
"What she's saying undermines those who spend years crafting," said Radziwill, 50.
When the two departed, Drescher continued to tell the other housewives that Radziwill had indeed utilized a ghostwriter, Bill Whitworth, the former editor-in-chief of The Atlantic Monthly.
"She's written one book … I felt one-upped and put down," Drescher, 43, told Ramona Singer at a wine shop following the lunch. "She had this attitude that 'I'm the writer' … Carole shopped her novel at my publishing house, and they passed … They said it needed to be completely overhauled … I heard her first book had a ghostwriter."
"Suddenly, I was having to defend my 20-year writing career," Radziwill later told Heather Thomson and Kristen Taekman. "She asked me if I hired a ghostwriter … Who asks that? … Did she just question my credibility and career? … It's the worst thing you could say to a writer."
The two faced off at Drescher's housewarming party, when Radziwill confronted her about her remarks.
"I was really happy for you when you got a book deal," Radziwill said, "but [comparing your writing to mine is] like apples and spaceships."
"The word on the street is that you had What Remains ghostwritten," Drescher said to her, which elicited screams from Radziwill. "You're yelling."
"I don't care," she said. "Your own publishing company doesn't want to work with you."
"Why did they pass on your novel?"
"There was a bidding war," replied Radziwill. "I would never make up such vicious and stupid lies about someone's career."
"You've written one book," Drescher sarcastically replied. "Who do you think you are, John Grisham? Stephen King?"
"You are a liar," said Radziwill. "You lie about everything."
Chapter two of their literary war continues Tuesday (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.