An indie romance writer has been accused of killing herself in a bizarre scheme to deceive her fans and fellow authors.
Author Susan Meachen was believed to be dead since September 2020, when someone claiming to be her daughter said on her Facebook account that she had died by suicide.
On Monday, the same account was posted to a private fan group, with Meachen’s family claiming he faked his death while he was having a mental health crisis, and revealed that he continued to post under the pseudonym TN Steele.
“I’ve debated how to do this a million times and I’m still not sure if it’s the right thing to do,” Meachen said in the account announcing his return. “I’m in a good place now and I hope to write again. Let the fun begin.’
Fellow writer Samantha A. Cole, who befriended Meachen online and mourned his death two years ago, was outraged by the apparent hoax.
In 2020, author Susan Meachen’s Facebook account claimed that she had died by suicide, saying her latest book (right) would be published posthumously.
On Monday, author Susan Meachen’s Facebook account took to her personal fan group and claimed her family had faked her death while she was having a mental health crisis.
In an emotional Facebook video Wednesday, Cole said, “It’s not psychotic to intentionally confuse someone who is grieving, whether it’s Susan herself or her daughter, by making these comments.”
“Now I’m wary of everyone I’ve never met in person, I’m Facebook friends with, and it’s really sad,” Cole said.
Public records show 47-year-old Susan Meachen has previous addresses in Tennessee and Georgia, one of which closely matches the Eton, Georgia, address listed on her Facebook page under the alias TN Steele.
There are no death records associated with this Meachen, and DailyMail.com was unable to find any obituary records of 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 Its Bad Way.
Her ‘last’ novel, Love To Last A Lifetime, was supposedly published posthumously in October 2020 with final revisions by the author’s daughter.
Meachen has independently published 10 romance novels, including Losing Her and Finding You and Chance Encounters
The author dedicated a book to his friend Meachen, assuming he was dead, writing “the world is a little less bright without him”.
As of 2020, Meachen has continued to publish under the name ‘TN Steele’.
According to Cole, Meachen’s apparent resurrection has sparked a firestorm of controversy in the tight-knit world of independent romance authors and fans.
“I talked to others who were closer to Susan than I was, and they were all blindsided by it,” he said.
“They were just as shocked as everyone else when a post appeared on Susan’s group saying she was alive and tired of living under her moniker,” Cole said.
After seeing Meachen’s Facebook post announcing his comeback, Cole engaged in a private Facebook chat with Meachen’s account — publicly sharing screenshots.
Fellow author Samantha A. Cole (above), who befriended Meachen online and mourned his death two years ago, expressed outrage at the apparent hoax.
In the exchange, Meachen claimed he was hospitalized when his family announced his death via his Facebook account in 2020.
“I didn’t control what my family did. I was fighting for my life in the hospital. But I understand what they’re doing,” the person who controlled Meachen’s account wrote.
The account claimed in the exchange that Meachen remained silent on false reports of her death while working with a psychiatrist and therapist to ‘get to a better place’.
“I’m happy that he’s alive because I don’t want to wish death on anyone,” co-star Cole said in a video caption. “But I can’t forgive what he did and I can’t forgive what he did.”
“I just fell over, I felt like I was kicked in the chest with all the emotions going through me,” Cole said of learning Meachen was apparently alive. “I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut, I had a stomach ache for 36 hours.”
Cole posted screenshots of a private Facebook conversation with Meachen’s account, in which the author claimed he was hospitalized in 2020 when his family announced his death.
Meachen insisted she remained silent for two years while working with a therapist
Cole said his biggest wish is for Meachen to “get the help he needs” and asked his followers not to attack Meachen online for allegedly faking suicide.
Likewise, Cole insisted that his writings on the subject were not a ploy to sell books.
“This is not publicity on my behalf by exposing this horror story,” Cole said. “Please don’t get rid of my books because I’m offended.”
“I hope the book world will recover from this, it will take time,” the author added. ‘I don’t know who I can trust except the people I know and are closest to.’
If you or a loved one is in crisis, call or text 988 for confidential mental health support.