Amy Bishop Plot Thickens: Accused University of Alabama Shooter is Cousin of Author John Irving

(AP/Huntsville Police Dept)
BOSTON (CBS/AP) Yet another surprising twist in the story of Amy Bishop, the Alabama university professor who allegedly opened fire on campus, killing three of her colleagues.

Photo: Amy Bishop.

PICTURES: Shooting in Alabama

Bishop is the second cousin of John Irving, a publicist for the author confirmed today.

Irving is writing a novel and declined to comment about his relationship with Bishop's family. Random House publicist Anne Tate except said he is a cousin of Judith Bishop, who is Amy Bishop's mother.

Photo: Novelist John Irving.

PICTURES: Shooting in Alabama

According to book club acquaintances, Bishop often said she hoped the connection would help her publish her three novels, which she viewed as a way out of the frustrations of her university job, the Boston Globe reported.

Rob Dinsmoor, who was in a writer's group north of Boston with Bishop, said she told him that Irving gave her advice on writing and finding an agent.

Among Irving's best-known books are "The World According to Garp," "A Prayer for Owen Meany" and "The Cider House Rules."

Amy Bishop is accused of shooting six of her peers during a University of Alabama staff meeting Feb. 12. Three died. Three have so far survived. She is charged with capital murder and may face the death penalty.

PICTURES: Shooting in Alabama

February 17, 2010 - Why Didn't Anyone Stop Amy Bishop Years Ago?
February 16, 2010 - Amy Bishop Went to Target Practice Before Alabama Campus Murders, Says Husband
February 15, 2010 - Did Amy Bishop, Accused University of Alabama Shooter, Murder Her Own Brother?