Happy Spooky season, friends! Last week, I shared my review of the delightfully scary short story “Gethen Manor.” This week, I am honored to share an interview with the author Samantha Shaw. Shaw is a resident of eastern Ohio, and has two jobs: one being an author and running a bookstagram and two being an accounts payable manager of a golf course. Shaw hopes to one day become a full time author (and with her gift, I fully believe she will make that a reality!).
Living every day like it is Halloween, Shaw loves October because now everyone is in the same boat. Shaw enjoys reading, writing, playing video games, watching YouTube with her husband, and riding roller coasters – she says she is obsessed with them! She told me, “I’m well-versed in [roller coaster] mechanics, stats, and history in general. If I didn’t want to be a full-time author, I’d pursue a career in the amusement industry.”
Read our full interview below to learn more about Shaw and her writing!
Q) How long have you been writing?
A) I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve been writing short stories, poetry, and song lyrics since I learned how to write full sentences. However, I started taking writing seriously when I signed up for a creative writing class in my sophomore year of high school. I began professionally writing in college.
Q) Why do you write?
A) I feel like I need to. My mind is always full of words and ideas that fascinate me, and I want to get them down on paper to see where they take me. Additionally, if I don’t get them out, they get compacted in my brain, and there are already too many thoughts up there. When I think about my life, I’m often reminded of the Paramore lyrics “Keep your feet on the ground while your head’s in the clouds.” I’m always drifting off into my own little world, and writing is the best way for me to stay grounded.
Q) What is your favorite genre to read? To write?
A) I’ll read anything that interests me, but my favorite to write and read is horror, thriller, supernatural, etc.
Q) What is your favorite book and why?
A) So, I have two. I can’t pick one over the other because I love them for very different reasons.
One is ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ by Stephen Chbosky. Not only do I love Charlie’s story, but I fully believe I am the person I am today because of this book. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone in a very vulnerable time in my life. It helped me understand and grapple with my anxiety disorders as I grew up. Perks is SO important to me.
The other is ‘The Elementals’ by Michael McDowell. I could gush about this book for hours, but to keep things short, I think it’s the best horror novel I’ve ever read. It checks off all my boxes for the perfect haunted house story. If I achieve anything with my bookstagram, I hope I can help build the fan-base Mr. McDowell deserved in life.
Q) Who is your favorite author and why?
A) I absolutely cannot pick just one, so I’ll list a few: Edgar Allan Poe, Michael McDowell, Dawn Kurtagich, Stephen Chbosky, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Adam Vine… I’ll cut myself off here.
Q) What is your favorite horror movie?
A) The Shining. I know it’s a far stretch from King’s original work, but Kubrick’s vision is brilliant.
Midsommar has recently become a close second.
Q) Who is someone that inspires you?
A) I’d probably say Edgar Allan Poe. Reading “The Tell-Tale Heart” in 7th grade kicked my love of horror into gear. And made me even more of a weird kid, haha.
Q) What inspired “Gethen Manor“? What was your purpose for writing the story?
A) The idea came to me after a bad bout of writer’s block. While I was working on a different piece of fiction, I had a dream about a Gothic mansion and a couple trying desperately to escape its horrors. I won’t include spoilers, but I also dreamt about the twist. I woke up and immediately wrote down everything I could remember. And I built the backstory and setting around the events of my dream.
In terms of media that influenced “Gethen Manor,” I’d say I drew inspiration from the film “Crimson Peak,” “The Elementals,” and just about every supernatural YA romance I’ve ever read.
Q) Can you tell us about your current WIP?
A) My current WIP is a novel I started writing 8 years ago. It’s a mystery thriller [releasing this winter].
For the past year, she’s grappled with her new, unexplainable gift: she can experience other people’s deaths. Any encounter with a dead body, even a picture of one, will send Micah into an all-encompassing hallucination, giving her a first-person perspective of the deceased’s last moments.
Luckily, she’s not alone. She’s found refuge in her childhood home of Sapphire Lake, living with her long-estranged grandmother that happens to have the same bizarre gift Micah does. With her grandmother’s guidance and wisdom, Micah is learning how to manage her life with her new power (and slowly accepting that she might not be completely crazy.)
Sapphire Lake will be released this Winter.
Q) Can you tell us about your hope and vision for your writing?
A) I hope that I’ll continue to grow my skills as a writer, impress my readers, and eventually, dedicate even more of my life to writing.
Q) What advice do you have for other authors?
A) You’re going to get stuck at times. It’s inevitable. I had a delusion throughout college that if I could just get published, my writer’s block would just stop. I can assure you this is not the case. But don’t stop writing. Always look for inspiration. Write down any ideas you have, even if it’s only a few words. And please, don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t get as much done as you wanted in the day/week/month. Even if you stumble or take a break, you’re still headed towards the finish line.
Get your copy of “Gethen Manor” today here, and be sure to follow Samantha Shaw on social media!