Two years ago, romance author Susan Meachen’s suicide shocked the romance writing world. A woman claiming to be her daughter posted an announcement on Susan’s Facebook group, The Ward. From that moment on, her online friends mourned her loss. They published a charity anthology, dedicated to Susan Meachan. A Go Fund Me campaign helped to raise money for Susan’s family. Apparently, a couple of editors offered to edit Susan’s final book, a book she’d written prior to her death, as a gift to Susan’s daughter.
But, there is a darker side to the online author community. Susan’s daughter had indicated in a post that Susan had been a victim of online bullying, and that had led to her suicide. Allegedly, accusations of bullying permeated author spaces after Susan’s death. Some authors blamed other authors for bullying Susan into taking her own life.
Then, at the beginnig of this year, Susan Meachan apparently resurrected from the dead (glory!), posted this message to her Facebook group:
“I debated on how to do this a million times and still not sure if it’s right or not. There’s going to be tons of questions and a lot of people leaving the group I’d guess. But my family did what they thought was best for me and I can’t fault them for it. I almost died again at my own hand and they had to go through all that hell again. Returning to The Ward doesn’t mean much but I am in a good place now and I am hoping to write again. Let the fun begin.”
Her. Death. Had. Been. A. Hoax.
Susan Meachan is still alive. Her death had been a hoax. So, according to Susan in various interviews, her family decided to tell the book community she was dead in order to save her life (I’m paraphrasing, obviously). She was suffering from mental health issues and often blurred the line between the reality and fantasy. In order to save her, her husband told their daughter to make an announcement of Susan’s death on Facebook. Her husband said he would take full responsibility for making that decision.
Okay, but… I’m having a hard time understanding her family’s reasoning, IF they were the ones to come up with this scheme. If they blamed the book world for compromising her mental health, why publish her “final” book “post-humously?” IF the book world actually caused Susan such grief, why not cut all ties altogether? And, why keep Susan’s Facebook group open? I have so many questions! Like, why allow a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for someone who was obviously still alive, or allow the other authors to go ahead with a charity anthology dedicated to Susan’s “memory?”
Even if (big if) her family had orchestrated this scheme on their own, why would Susan have gone along with it for so long? Are we to believe Susan was completely cut off from all outside contact from September 2020 (the time of her unfortunate “passing”) until now? Or did Susan agree with her husband that this plan was for the best?
There are many in the romance-writing world who believe Susan was monitoring and possibly posting on social media all along. (allegedly)
In response to Susan’s announcement, a fellow author and friend from Susan’s “previous life” posted the following:
This wild situation has not only rocked the romance writing world, but has also been reported on in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and the BBC. She’s being talked about all over social media, as well. There are some great videos on YouTube, including on Savy Writes Books: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdF8qPG1FSE.
The general consensus seems to be that there is no excuse to do what she did. Suicide is not a joke. Though I completely sympathize with her mental health struggles, she could have simply stepped away from writing or from social media. I’m constantly stepping away due to one reason or another. I mean, how often do you see me on this blog? When’s the last time I wrote anything? If I need to step away, or if I’m not in a good place, I step away. No excuses. No big announcement. I certainly don’t fake my own death. How does that even enter one’s mind as a plausible scenario? I don’t get it.
So, what is your take on this whole mess?