Author Fakes Suicide And Returns Two Years Later. Was It All a Marketing Ploy?

Romance writer Susan Meachen's family announced her death by suicide in 2020, but the author popped up on Facebook earlier this week. The book world is outraged.

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By Jonathan Small

How's this for a plot twist? In 2020, romance book author Susan Meachen's daughter announced on Facebook that her mom had committed suicide. Meachen was much admired in the indie romance book community, and the thoughts and prayers poured in.

Meachen published ten romance novels. Her "final" book, Love To Last A Lifetime, was supposedly published posthumously in October 2020 with final rewrites made by her daughter.

Fans were encouraged to order the book on Facebook. "Susan wanted to have it published by her daughter's wedding," an emotional post said.

In the years that followed, Meacham's daughter would post from time to time, encouraging people to buy her mom's books using discount codes or donate to suicide prevention organizations.

Only one problem — it was all a lie.

Susan Meachen is very much alive. This week she reappeared in a private writer's Facebook group called The Ward, writing:

"I debated on how to do this a million times and still not sure if it's right or not. There's going to be tons of questions and a lot of people leaving the group I'd guess. But my family did what they thought was best for me and I can't fault them for it. I almost died again at my own hand and they had to go through all that hell again. Returning to The Ward doesn't mean much, but I am in a good place now, and I am hoping to write again. Let the fun begin."

Not only is Meachen alive and kicking, but she has been publishing books under a pseudonym, TN Steele, for the past two years.

"I don't know who to trust anymore."

The outrage was swift and forceful, with fans and former mourners going online to express their anger.

"What an absolute piece of s$%," tweeted @Draggerofliars.

"Using 'Let the fun begin.' As your sign-off when you announce you didn't really commit suicide is something. No notes," tweeted @megantastic

Fellow author Samantha A. Cole, who was online friends with Meachen, said in a Facebook video: "That is beyond psychotic, whether it was Susan herself or her daughter making these comments, to knowingly mislead somebody who's grieving."

Later, in a private Facebook chat with Meachen's account, Cole wrote, "I am happy she is alive because I don't want to wish death on anybody. But I cannot condone what she did, and I cannot forgive what she did."

Cole continued, "'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."

So far, neither Meachen nor her family has responded publicly.

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief of Green Entrepreneur

Jonathan Small is editor-in-chief of Green Entrepreneur, a vertical from Entrepreneur Media focused on the intersection of sustainability and business. He is also an award-winning journalist, producer, and podcast host of the upcoming True Crime series, Dirty Money, and Write About Now podcasts. Jonathan is the founder of Strike Fire Productions, a premium podcast production company. He had held editing positions at Glamour, Stuff, Fitness, and Twist Magazines. His stories have appeared in The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, and Good Housekeeping. Previously, Jonathan served as VP of Content for the GSN (the Game Show Network), where he produced original digital video series.

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