An indie romance novelist has been accused of faking her own suicide in a bizarre alleged scheme to deceive her fans and fellow authors.
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.
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.
‘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.
In 2020, author Susan Meachen’s Facebook account claimed that she had died by suicide, saying her final book (right) would be published posthumously
On Monday, author Susan Meachen’s Facebook account posted to a private fan group, claiming that her family had faked her death while she was in a mental health crisis
‘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.
Public records show a 47-year-old Susan Meachen with prior addresses in Tennessee and Georgia, one of which closely matches the Eton, Georgia hometown listed on the TN Steele pseudonym’s Facebook page.
There is no death record associated with that Meachen, and DailyMail.com could not find records of an obituary by that name. Attempts to reach Meachen by phone, email and Facebook were unsuccessful.
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.
Meachen has independently published 10 romance novels, including such titles as Losing Him & Finding You and Chance Encounters
A fellow author dedicated one book to Meachen, presuming she was dead, writing ‘the world is a little less bright without her’
Since 2020, Meachen has apparently continued to publish under the name ‘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 said.
‘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,’ added Cole.
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.
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
In the exchange, Meachen claimed that she was hospitalized when her family announced her death through her Facebook account in 2020.
‘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.
The account claimed in the exchange that Meachen had remained silent about the false reports of her death while working with a psychiatrist and therapist to ‘get in a better place’.
‘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.’
Cole posted screenshots of private Facebook chat with Meachen’s account, in which the author claimed that she was hospitalized when her family announced her death in 2020
Meachen insisted she had remained silent for two years while working with a therapist
Cole said that her foremost wish is that Meachen ‘gets the help she needs’ and implored her followers not to attack Meachen online over the alleged fake suicide.
Likewise, Cole insisted that her posts speaking out about the issue were not a ploy to sell books.
‘This is not a publicity stunt on my behalf by exposing this horror story,’ said Cole. ‘Please do not run out and buy my books because I was hurt by this.’
‘I hope the book world can heal from this, it’s gonna take time,’ the author added. ‘I don’t know who I can trust anymore, except the people that I have met, that I am closest to.’
If you or a loved one is in crisis, call or text 988 for confidential mental health support.