Stranger than fiction | 

Romance author who faked her own suicide miraculously appears two years later

Susan Meachen’s family claimed that she had taken her own life after bullying within the book community

Samantha Cole

Daragh KeanySunday World

A romance novelist has been accused of faking her own suicide in a bizarre alleged scheme to deceive her fans and fellow authors.

Fantasist author Susan Meachen was believed dead since September 2020, when someone claiming to be her daughter posted from her Facebook account saying she had died of suicide and took aim at the book community for bullying her.

The post was shared within the community who immediately rallied around Meachen’s family arranging fundraisers as well as ensuring sales of the author’s back catalogue of books.

On Monday, however, the same account posted to a private fan group, claiming that Meachen's family had faked her death while she was in a mental health crisis, and revealing she had continued to publish under the pseudonym TN Steele.

The miraculous comeback post earlier this week

“I debated on how to do this a million times and still not sure if it’s right or not,” the account wrote in announcing Meachen’s return. “I am in a good place now and I am hoping to write again. Let the fun begin.”

Fellow author Samantha A. Cole, who was online friends with Meachen and had grieved her purported death two years ago, expressed outrage over the apparent hoax.

“That is beyond psychotic, whether it was Susan herself or her daughter making these comments, to knowingly mislead somebody who’s grieving,” Cole said in an emotional Facebook video on Wednesday.

“Now I am wary of anybody I have never met in person, that I am friends with on Facebook, and that’s really sad,” added Cole.

The author Meachen has independently published 10 romance novels, including Smokey Mtn. Love, Stolen Moments, and His Wicked Way.

Her ‘final’ novel, Love To Last A Lifetime, was supposedly published posthumously in October 2020 with final rewrites from the author’s daughter.

Incredibly, in the aftermath of her supposed death a fellow author dedicated one book to Meachen, presuming she was dead, writing ‘the world is a little less bright without her’.

A dedication from a fellow author in the aftermath of her 'death'

Since 2020, Meachen has apparently continued to publish under the pseudonum TN Steele.

According to Cole, Meachen’s apparent resurrection has caused a firestorm of controversy in the tight-knit world of independent romance authors and fans.

“I’ve spoken to others who were much closer to Susan than I was, and they were all blindsided by this,” she revealed.

“They were as shocked as everybody else when the post appeared in Susan’s group saying that basically she was alive and tired of being under her alias name.”

After Cole saw the Facebook post announcing Meachen’s return, she engaged in a private Facebook chat with Meachen’s account - screenshots of which she shared publicly.

Samantha Cole

Fellow author Samantha A. Cole (above), who was online friends with Meachen and had grieved her purported death two years ago, expressed outrage over the apparent hoax

Meachen’s defence came in the form of blaming her family’s actions. “I had no control over what my family did. I was in the hospital fighting for my life. But I understand what they did,” the person controlling Meachen's account wrote.

“I am happy she is alive because I don’t want to wish death on anybody,” said the fellow author Cole in her video statement. “But I cannot condone what she did, and I cannot forgive what she did.”

“I was floored, the emotions that went through me felt like I got kicked in the chest,” Cole said of finding out that Meachen is apparently alive. “I felt like I got kicked in the gut, I was sick to my stomach for 36 hours.”

The resurrected author insisted she had remained silent for two years while working with a therapist and Cole implored her to ‘get the help she needs.’

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