A freelance novelist has been accused of faking her own suicide in an allegedly bizarre scheme to deceive her fans and fellow authors.
Author Susan Meachen was believed to have been dead since September 2020, when someone claiming to be her daughter posted on her Facebook account saying she took her own life.
On Monday, however, the same account was posted to a private fan group, claiming that Meachen’s family faked her death while she was in a mental health crisis, and revealing that she had continued to post under the pseudonym of TN Steele.
“I’ve debated how to do this a million times and still don’t know if this is right or not,” the account wrote when announcing Meachen’s return. “I’m in a good place now and I hope to write again. Let the party begin.’
Author Samantha A. Cole, who was online friends with Meachen and had mourned his alleged death two years ago, expressed outrage at the apparent hoax.
In 2020, author Susan Meachen’s Facebook account claimed she had died by suicide, saying her latest book (right) would be published posthumously
On Monday, author Susan Meachen’s Facebook account was posted to a private fan group claiming her family faked her death while she was in a mental health crisis.
“It’s beyond psychosis, whether it’s Susan herself or her daughter making these comments, to knowingly mislead someone who is grieving,” Cole said in a moving Facebook video on Wednesday. .
“Now I’m suspicious of everyone I’ve never met in person, who I’m friends with on Facebook, and that’s really sad,” Cole added.
Public records show a 47-year-old Susan Meachen with previous addresses in Tennessee and Georgia, one of which closely matches the hometown of Eton, Georgia, listed on the pseudonym TN Steele’s Facebook page.
There is no death record associated with this Meachen, and DailyMail.com could not find records for an obituary with that name. Attempts to reach Meachen by phone, email and Facebook were unsuccessful.
Author Meachen has independently published 10 romance novels, including Smokey Mtn. Love, stolen moments and his bad way.
Her “last” novel, Love To Last A Lifetime, was reportedly posthumously published in October 2020 with final rewrites by the author’s daughter.
Meachen has independently published 10 romance novels, including titles such as Losing Him & Finding You and Chance Encounters.
A fellow author dedicated a 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 storm of controversy in the close-knit world of indie novel writers and fans.
“I spoke to others who were much closer to Susan than I was, and they were all blindsided by it,” she said.
“They were as shocked as everyone when the message appeared in Susan’s group saying she was alive and tired of being under her alias,” Cole added.
After Cole saw the Facebook post announcing Meachen’s return, she engaged in a private Facebook conversation with Meachen’s account – of which she publicly shared screenshots.
Author Samantha A. Cole (above), who was online friends with Meachen and mourned his alleged death two years ago, expressed outrage at the apparent hoax
In the exchange, Meachen claimed 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 false reports of her death as she worked with a psychiatrist and therapist to “find herself in a better place.”
“I’m glad she’s alive because I don’t want to wish death on anyone,” author Cole said in his video statement. “But I can’t condone what she did, and I can’t forgive what she did.”
“I was stunned, the emotions that ran through me felt like I had been kicked in the chest,” Cole said after finding out Meachen was apparently alive. “I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach, I had a stomach ache for 36 hours.”
Cole posted screenshots of a private Facebook chat with Meachen’s account, in which the author claimed she was hospitalized when her family announced her death in 2020
Meachen insisted she had been silent for two years while working with a therapist
Cole said her dearest wish was that Meachen “gets the help she needs” and implored her followers not to attack Meachen online for the alleged fake suicide.
Likewise, Cole insisted that his posts discussing the issue were not a ploy to sell books.
“It’s not a publicity stunt on my behalf by exposing this horror story,” Cole said. “Please don’t run to buy my books because I’ve been hurt by this.”
“I hope the book world can heal from this, it will take time,” added the author. “I don’t know who I can trust anymore, other than the people I’ve met, who I’m closest to.”
If you or a loved one are in crisis, call or text 988 for confidential mental health support.