In October 2020, a post allegedly written by her daughter appeared on indie romance author Susan Meachen’s Facebook page: announced that Meachen had tragically died by suicide a month earlier. This news was followed by other posts by Meachen’s “daughter” (on Meachen’s account) in the author’s private writing group, The Ward, suggesting that her mother took her own life because of her peers in the online indie book community they had bullied.
Faced with the terrible news, authors and online friends helped fund Meachen’s funeral, created an anti-bullying anthology in her memory, and offered to help her daughter edit her mother’s last book for free. On Monday – over two years later – Meachen’s account posted something new in The Ward. This time it was Susan who said that she was indeed alive the whole time.
“I’ve discussed how to do this a million times,” she wrote, before explaining that she was, in fact, alive. After correctly assuming people would have questions and some wanting to leave the Facebook group, Meachen finished with, “Let the fun begin.” I can’t help but wonder how many of the millions of versions of this one Post ended with that feeling.
Meachen is (was?) a 14-title self-published indie romance novelist listed on their Amazon author page, including her “last” book love to last a lifetime, which was supposed to be a wedding present for her daughter … according to a Facebook post on Meachen’s author page promoting the book after her “death.” From the backlash this new announcement has received, it’s clear that it’s had quite a sizable presence in the community of very online indie writers. Your Amazon Author Bio reads: “I live with my 24-year-old husband in the southeast corner of Tennessee with our two cats and our four snakes. When you don’t see me hanging around online, I’m usually busy creating a world for others to enjoy.” I guess the world she created this time didn’t bring people too much joy.
I’m tempted to joke about letting a self-published romance novelist give you the twist of your life, but the whole ordeal is so confusing and annoying. If Meachen’s last post in The Ward is to be believed, it appears that she may have attempted suicide in 2020 and that her daughter decided it was best to just tell people had successful Committed suicide because “it was something [the family] Thought was best.” Meachen says she “can’t blame them.” Hmm, I… can? As a general rule, it’s best to declare someone dead when they are actually dead. Otherwise it gets a bit messy.
Immediately after Meachen’s announcement, of course (Revival? Resurrection?) the community of online writers who gathered around the news of her death two years ago had many questions. My personal favorite is the first comment on her post in The Ward, which just says, “WB?” (Welcome back?)
A search of Meachen’s name on Facebook brings up a number of posts consistent with Kelly Kapoor of The office say, “Yes, I have many questions, number one: how dare you?”
Writer and former online friend Samantha A. Cole wrote a long post on her own Facebook page, which explains Meachen’s resurrection and expresses her own anger and shock.
In that post, Cole revealed another piece of wild information: a month after Meachen’s “death,” she created a new fake account under the name TN Steele. Meachen joined The Ward Facebook group as TN Steele and worked his way up to lead it. Meachen’s former personal assistant, Connie Ortiz, had taken over the group after Meachen’s “death,” but in November Ortiz sent that her family’s recent health problems made it difficult for her to keep up with her administrative duties. She asked if anyone wanted to fill her role so she wouldn’t have to close the group. Shortly after the post, TN Steele commented, “I’ll take it Connie Ortiz. I’m going to refurbish it and I hope you and Susan enjoy it.” On Madness, what I write in my opinion !!
It’s not entirely clear how people determined that TN Steele was Meachen’s fake account, nor is it clear if Ortiz was aware that Meachen’s death was an alleged scam. Some people claim she was there; others, like Cole, insist that like the rest of them, she “was completely blind”. Those who are blind are rightfully angry at the time, money and grief they have expended on an allegedly fake death to maybe sell more books(?). Some people, like Candace Adams, have reached out to Meachen directly and asked when they can expect their money back. Meachen claims there was never a fundraiser in her name.
Looking through Amazon’s listings of Meachen’s books, almost any one of them could be the title of this drama: Finding Me: Two books in one, Stolen Moments, Let go. Obviously, many questions have been raised by this whole ordeal. Does Meachen even have a daughter? Is that a joke in and of itself? If not, is Meachen legally responsible for paying back those who donated for her funeral? What happened in those two years between her faked death and now? Why on earth did she end her resurrection post with, “Let the fun begin?”
I expect we’ll learn more about it as it unfolds, and — as perhaps was the plan — hold on to every word Meachen writes to come.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, you can call 988 any time of the day or night to speak to trained counselors.
Jezebel has reached out to Susan Meachen, Connie Ortiz, and Samantha A. Cole for comment on the situation, but has received no response.
https://jezebel.com/novelist-appears-to-announce-shes-alive-2-years-after-f-1849949521 Novelist Seems to Announce She’s Alive 2 Years After Faked Suicide: ‘Let the Fun Begin’