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5 authors who pulled off strange scandals, from faking a suicide to becoming a murderer

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaJan 18, 2023 | 08:00

5 authors who pulled off strange scandals, from faking a suicide to becoming a murderer

The 70 year old author of "How to kill your Husband", actually kills her husband for insurance money. GIF: dailyO

When Taylor Swift sang "Don't blame me, love made me crazy", she meant how love and romance prompts us to do a bunch of crazy things. But what does love do to people who write about it? Even crazier things. 

What? Authors are known to do crazy things for getting inspiration for writing their books. In the latest, Susan Meachen, a 47-year-old homemaker and author of romance novels, faked her own death and then reappeared after two years. 

Photo: Susan Meachen

Susan's death news was disclosed by her daughter two years ago in a Facebook post. During that time, her distant family and fans assumed that she died by suicide, as she was suffering from severe mental health issues. According to The New York Times, Susan was severely bullied online which made her work more difficult. 

Let the fun begin.
- Susan Meachen Tweeted

Meachen's grieving fans funded her funeral costs, according to members of the romance community, and helped edit and promote her final book. 

Photo: Susan Meachen's Books

But Susan's sudden disappearance and reappearance didn't go as planned. Fans and her fellow writers were very disappointed after her tweet, as many blamed it was an attempt to gain attention and money.

This is not the strangest scandal to afflict the writing world, as authors have gone too far many times. Check out some: 

  1. Wrote a book about 'How to murder your husband' and was later sentenced for murdering her husband. 

In 2022, a 71-year-old self-published romance writer Nancy Brophy, author of an essay entitled "How to Murder Your Husband", was convicted of murdering her husband. The jury found Brophy guilty of murdering her husband and currently serving a life sentence in Oregon.  According to BBC, she shot her husband of 26 years in 2018 for a $1.5m (Rs 13,26,16,083) life insurance pay-out.

Photo: Nancy Brophy and her Husband

Before her crime, Brophy had been a self-published author whose works of steamy romance and suspense include novels such as "The Wrong Husband" and "The Wrong Lover".


2. Killed her best friend's mother and later became an award-winning author for her life story

How far can you go for friendship?

Hulme and her best friend Pauline Parker killed Parker's mother, Honorah Rieper, in June 1954, when she was 15 years old and Hulme's parents were divorcing, and she was meant to travel to South Africa to be with a relative. 

Both of them did not want to be parted, so instead of talking to their family, they did what? Killed Parker's mother, so that Parker could move to South Africa with her (Best friend's goals? JK).

The murder has inspired plays, novels, non-fiction books, and films including Peter Jackson's 1994 film Heavenly Creatures.

However, Hulmes moved to England changed her name to  Anne Perry and wrote detective and crime novels like The Face of a Stranger and Defend and Betray. She later won various awards like Agatha Award for Best Novel, Edgar Award for Best Short Story, and Agatha Award for Best Short Story.   

Photo: Anne Perry/Twitter

3. A famous Spanish female author turned out to be three cis-white male 

We women often wished to be a man, when we see the patriarchy hitting us, but a million euro literary prize lured three Spanish men out of anonymity, on October 2021 to reveal that they are behind ultra-violent Spanish crime thrillers marketed as the work of "Spain's Elena Ferrante". 

The men had published under the pseudonym Carmen Mola, which roughly translates as "Carmen's cool". 

The three men: Jorge Diaz, Augustin Martinez, and Antonio Merceno, were actually TV scriptwriters. 

We didn't hide behind a woman, we hid behind a name 
- Antonio Merceno

4. Best selling author lied about having cancer

Dan Mallory, author of the bestselling thriller novel The Woman in the Window under the pseudonym AJ Finn, 2019 admitted to lying about having Cancer, according to The Guardian.  

Previously, he lied about having brain cancer for years, after a lengthy New Yorker profile accused him of a long history of falsehoods about his professional history and health.
The novel was later converted into a film (released obviously by Netflix) called the girl in the window in  2021.

Check out the trailer here:

The context of the novel? It was about a woman with agoraphobia who begins spying on her new neighbours, is due out later this year, scripted by Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts and starring Amy Adams and Gary Oldman.

5. Cannibal IRL
The case itself is very old but worth mentioning. In 2017, 38-year-old Jose Luis Calva was working on a book titled "Cannibal Instincts"

Photo: Jose Luis Calva

Later it was found that he killed his girlfriend and ate her body parts (Cannibal in real life). After his conviction, according to Reuters, he committed suicide during his time in jail.

Last updated: January 18, 2023 | 08:00
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