Author's Husband: We Faked Her Death to Save Her Life

'New York Times' uncovers the strange tale of romance writer Susan Meachen
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2023 10:35 AM CST
Author's Husband: We Faked Her Death to Save Her Life
   (Getty / Oscar Garcia Reales)

Earlier this month, a strange story made headlines from the world of self-publishing romance novelists. Author Susan Meachen reemerged online two years after an online post written by her daughter suggested Meachen had committed suicide. Meachen's reentry into the public caused shock and outrage among fellow writers, some of whom were grappling with guilt because of suggestions Meachen had been bullied. After interviews with the 47-year-old Meachen and her family, Ellen Barry of the New York Times now provides the most complete picture of what happened in the small town of Benton, Tennessee.

Meachen and husband Troy, a long-haul trucker, say her mental health began disintegrating as she struggled for success as a writer. One day in 2020, Meachen's daughter found her unresponsive after the author took a large dose of Xanax. Troy, on the road at the time, says he told his daughter to post the fake note about Susan's death. "I told them that she is dead to the indie world, the internet, because we had to stop her, period," he tells Barry. "She could not stop it on her own. And, even to this day, I'll take 100% of the blame, the accolades, whatever you want to call it."

Meachen herself is now on board with the decision. She says she'd begun having trouble differentiating between her fictional and real worlds. Her psychiatrist confirms to Barry that Meachen is being treated for bipolar disorder and has been prescribed meds for anxiety, depression, and psychosis. "I'm sorry for their mourning, but from a legal standpoint, I did nothing wrong," says the author. "Morally, I might have done something wrong. But legally, there's nothing wrong." Police are investigating, but no charges have been filed. Meachen says she has offered detectives access to her bank accounts to prove she didn't cash in on the deception. Read the full story, which also explores the sometimes volatile world of indie romance writers. (More romance novels stories.)

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