Indie Romance Novelist Has Been Accused Of Faking Her Own Suicide
This plot twist was unexpected! An indie romance novelist has been accused of faking her own suicide.If you may remember, there was someone claiming to be Susan Meachen's daughter who posted on Facebook in September 2020 that the author had committed suicide.
Ms. Meachen had built a close-knit online community of readers and fellow writers who encouraged each other's work through her "perfectly flawed" romantic books. When word spread that she had died, writer Samantha A. Cole remembered that she had been so shocked. She said:
When it came out that one of our own had taken her life, that was destructive enough, we were grieving for that alone. All the finger pointing started and it drove a huge wedge in the community that lasted for months
As time went on, rumors circulated online that Ms. Meachen had been the victim of bullying. After Susan Meachen died, the group got together every year for two years to remember and commemorate her.
Authors such as Candace Adams contributed to an anthology of short stories in her honor to put bullying in its place, and benefit auctions and book sales were conducted in her name. But that changed this week when Ms. Meachen appeared from nowhere.
She surprised her followers and acquaintances by announcing her comeback on social media and confessing that she had faked her suicide. This social media post will be loaded with questions. According to screenshots that spread online, "Let the games begin!"
The sudden and startling return of Susan Meachen has shocked and angered her online fanbase. Ms. Cole said:
To me it's something that happens in fiction. I will never be able to completely wrap my brain around whatever she might have been thinking because people just don't do this. Everybody kind of feels like now they can't take care of each other because they don't know what's real and what's not.- Ms. Adam
Ms. Adams, a member of Ms. Meachen's online writing group since 2019, expressed that the revelation had shattered the group's sense of safety and camaraderie. Also, after she was said to have died, someone pretending to be her daughter posted on Ms. Meachen's Facebook page asking for help finishing and promoting her mother's last book.
Her "daughter" responded to questions about why Ms. Meachen's account was still active after her death by saying the dead do not use social media. BBC Newshas obtained screenshots that appear to back up this claim. The BBC News department is in charge of reporting the news.
However, Ms. Adams stated that, over time, others in the group had begun to have questions as well, with the suspicions being fueled by a coincidence that only writers would notice: "a grammar mistake." Ms. Adam said:
Susan had a very strange spelling error. Whenever she would write 'supposed to', she wouldn't write that, she would write 'post to'.
Ms. Adams claimed that after Ms. Meachen's death in cyberspace, several people had noted that the posts made on accounts purporting to be from Ms. Meachen's daughter all contained the same typo. Looking back, Ms. Adams says many people in the community thought the error was a red flag. She added: "All of us have come to the conclusion that it was her the whole time and it was not her daughter."
According to screenshots shared with the BBC, on Tuesday, someone claiming to be Ms. Meachen disclosed to the group that she was definitely alive and had been controlling and posting in the group for years under an assumed identity. While the details of the incident remain unknown, the message aroused anger among the writers. Ms. Cole claimed she approached Ms. Meachen on Facebook and demanded answers. She said: "Why come back at all? Why not just stay under the alias you were using?"
Ms. Meachen told the BBC that she had stayed quiet because she believed her family deserved the blame and that she was making progress with her mental health care providers. Others wanted to know if they'd be paid back for all the money and help they'd given to her family over the years.
Ms. Adams said she had filed fraud claims with the sheriff's office in Ms. Meachen's county. When the BBC called the sheriff's office, they said they couldn't comment on specific reports and asked them to call back at a later time.
After word of the hoax spread, a person posing as Ms. Meachen informed author Michael Gallagher that she believed that the only way to escape the online harassment she claimed to have faced was to fake her own death.
In a message addressed to Ms. Meachen's account, the BBC requested comment. The account had not been answered at the time of publication. Ms. Meachen's former editor, Kasey Hill, is one of the few people who has communicated with the author since her resurrection.
Ms. Hill told BBC News that while she admits to faking her death, Ms. Meachen denied receiving any payments for burial expenses. Instead, Ms. Meachen claimed that she had purposefully committed herself to treatment for addiction and mental illness and that any remarks she made online during that time were those of her family members.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail UK news stated:
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.