CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A romance author from Benton, Tennessee has stirred up controversy in the book community because she's not dead.
Susan Meachen's Facebook account claimed she committed suicide in 2020 because of bullying. Last week, she returned to her account saying, "Let the fun begin."
Fellow authors believe Meachen created a fake alias to watch others mourn her death and that she posed as her daughter when posting about the death.
"We all came together to support a friend who we thought had lost her life to bullying," said author Candace Adams. "We raised funds for her. We tried to take care of her family, only find out it was all a sham."
Adams said auctions were held to benefit Meachen's funeral expenses back in 2020. Adams has been in contact with the Benton Sheriff's Department but was redirected to the DA. She says the matter is for "accepting funds under false pretenses." We have not gotten a response from the Benton Police Department yet.
After Maechen's return post via Facebook, the book community discovered that she had a TikTok page she began posting on almost a year after her apparent death. October 19, 2021, was her first post, with her last on March 1, 2022.
"I'm trying to figure out what she possibly could've been thinking to do this in the first place," said fellow author Samantha Cole. "Then to come back with a 'Surprise!' and 'Hi!' and think everything is going to be okay."
Cole said she and Meachen would have private conversations and interact online, but she did not speak to her for four to five months before the apparent death.
Cole said she felt guilty for not reaching out sooner. She said she wondered if she could have done more to help. Now, she has blocked Maechen's accounts.
"Please don't come looking for forgiveness because you will not get it," said Cole.
Adams viewed an interview Maechen did and believes she is looking to profit from this incident.
"Her next book that's going to come out...It's going to be about this experience, about watching her own death for two years and then coming back," said Adams.
We have not gotten a response from Susan Maechen or her daughter. Susan's husband, Troy, says he has no comment and wants no affiliation with the book community.