A romance author allegedly faked her own suicide to boost book sales

I saw this tweet going around the other day:

And immediately thought "wait what?!"

Both The Daily Beast and Rolling Stone did some digging into the situation, which somehow gets more bizarre as it goes:

On Tuesday, Meachen's Facebook account surged back to life, posting in her fan group that she was alive. Meachen blamed the fake suicide story on family members, saying that she wanted to resume writing as if the supposed death had never happened.

"Let the fun begin," Meachen wrote in the new Facebook post.

For romance enthusiasts who grieved Meachen's death, however, the news that she was still alive wasn't considered "fun." The revelation has had an explosive effect in the online romance-writing community, raising questions about why the ruse went on for so long and where the money for her funeral went.


The allegations from her family that Meachen's death was caused by bullies in the romance world prompted attacks on other writers, including Cole. But in her Facebook video, Cole said she was more saddened after Meachen's supposed suicide by the thought that she hadn't contacted Meachen in the days leading up to the death announcement.

"Was there something I could have said or done to make her realize that there were people in the book world that supported her?" [fellow romance writer Samantha A.] Cole said.

In the week that followed since this revelation, Meachen has reportedly claimed that she was indeed suffering from a mental health crisis, which lead to a suicide attempt — and that her family choose to publicize the news as if it had actually happened, in order to give Meachen room to heal.

A few days after the revelation, Upstream Reviews published a Q+A with Meachen about the whole situation. Meachen had reached out to the publishing newsletter via social media, offering a statement on her actions. Which is, uhhh, interesting:

At some point I wasn't doing anyone any good by staying dead when there was more to be gained and more healing to be had by reaching out. The New Year seemed like an auspicious time for a New Beginning. I knew some people would be upset at least at first, I'm sorry they feel that way but the proof is in the pudding. 

A Fiction Author's job is to create New Realities which is what I did. Does transcending the pages of a book make me a bad Author or a good one? Who's to say where the lines are drawn but in one tiny corner of the world my death was real, the darkness that led up to it was real and so was the light that emerged. 

Only the end of my life was a work of fiction and those who would prefer otherwise should consider what that means they WANT me dead. Even if you think I did something wrong does it warrant THAT? The death penalty? The same toxicity pushed me to this in the first place proves I was morally justified, as soon as the world learned I still had a pulse the bullying resumed and the "piling on" began. 

So why did I make a public return? What will be different this time? As I said the best fiction is rooted in fact. For the past 2+ years I've lived my own death, I've witnessed what few others have and survived to tell the tale. And that's exactly what I'll do, in my next book will be one only I could write. Because I lived it, I lived that death. What better stage for a Perfectly Flawed Romance?

Unless … it was never actually Meachen after all. Who, it seems, is certainly alive, but denied ever giving such an interview

The mystery remains open. But for what it's worth: apparently the ruse never actually improved Meachen's books sales (though her "resurrection" still might).

Indie Romance Author Susan Meachen Accused of Faking Her Suicide [Will Sommer / The Daily Beast]

The Book Community Thought This Author Died. Now, It Seems Her Suicide Was a Hoax [Larisha Paul / Rolling Stone]