By Lori Perkins
No, this is NOT a zombie romance.
Yesterday, Twitter was a flutter with the news that indie self-pubbed romance writer Susan Meachen, who had supposedly committed suicide in 2020 because of bullying over her work, announced in an online chat group that she was “back.”
She “explained” that after some sort of break down, her family thought it best to announce her death by suicide, which was done on her online chat group, The Ward. Colleagues had organized a GoFundMe to pay for funeral expenses, as well as put together an anti-bullying anthology. Her posthumous “last” novel was edited pro bono and people were encouraged to buy it.
But yesterday, the online group that Meachen has started, and continued after her death, received the following note:
“I debated on how to do this a million times. 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.”
But here’s the real kicker. She ended the note with the words, “Let the fun begin.” WTF?
There’s so much more to this on so many levels--layers and layers.
It turns out she crated a pseudonym to lurk on The Ward, which was being run by her former assistant after her “death.” When her assistant could no longer run The Ward due to her own family issues, Meachen’s pseudonymous author took over.
In a video, author Samantha Cole, who wrote on Facebook that Meachen’s death by suicide had profoundly impacted her, making her question if there was something she could have done to intercede (she said she wrote to Meachen about twice a month), said: “I’m glad that [Susan] was allegedly getting the help that she needs… [but] I do not condone what she did and I cannot forgive what she did.”
In an email to Rolling Stone, Cole added, “This tore the book community apart when everyone started pointing fingers at people who allegedly bullied her. Innocent people were accused. It took months for the tension to die down. To have it end up being a hoax that was dragged out for almost two and a half years is a slap in the face to anyone who ever supported her. She had plenty of time to come clean, if in fact her family had made up the story, but she didn’t. Instead, she made another profile under another name, and watched as people posted tributes to her and encouraged others to buy her books in her memory and to help support her family.”
There are most likely legal and financial issues that will emerge from this revelation, but I don’t think that’s what Meachen meant when she wrote, “let the fun begun.”