Samantha McClanahan was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Not in the country, but never far from a goat farm or horse ranch. Books have always been a large part of her life. Samantha found her passion reading classic horror, such as Poe and Hawthorne. They opened a portal to the world of literary horror (by this time she was already well-versed in the movie genre) and soon her shelves were filling up with Stephen King, Clive Barker and H.P. Lovecraft. Don’t think she ignores the classics – there are plenty of those on her shelf too!
Samantha’s love of movies and great characters influenced her work in the dramatic arts and she wound up majoring in musical theater at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She initially began with a double major in theater and literature, but the lime light was too time consuming to continue both. After four years of singing and dancing in corsets (and sometimes worse) she graduated, and moved to Los Angeles with her husband.
She currently resides in Oklahoma City with her husband, two adorably hellish children, and Jake the Dog. When she’s not writing, she is simply a stay-at-home mom, forever trying to keep a clean house and hopelessly trying to keep up with her ever-growing reading list.
I was always writing as a kid, jotting down a short story when I should have been paying attention in class. But it wasn’t until I became pregnant with my first child that I found I had a story to tell that required more than 7,000 words. That book is still sitting on the shelf waiting for a rewrite, lol, but it kickstarted my desire to write again and helped me realize that I could do more than I believed I was capable of. It took me three books and four years to find my wonderful agent. I did my edits and we went out on submission. Recently, we’ve decided to stop submitting that first book in favor of submitting my new horror when the edits are complete. I hope to be on submission before the year is out.
My background is in theater and dance. Years of performing Chekhov, Shakespeare, and Williams has left me with a profound appreciation for the written word and how it flows and rolls off the tip of a tongue. How we say one thing yet mean another and how we can easily mislead with one carefully chosen word. Historical accuracy is important to me as setting and costumes should always enhance the story and make the reader feel as though they’ve fallen into your world. But the best thing I’ve gained from my years in the theater is knowing that everything comes back to character and the choices they make, their motivation, and their journey of self. I was a mentor in AMM Round Two and have had mentees find success with their queries and currently have their full MS out to agents.
I’m fairly easy to please. Give me a good story with captivating characters and I’ll be as happy as a clam. If you can scare me or put me on edge, that’s even better! I want blood and guts and creatures and specters. And kissing. Don’t forget the kissing.
Sometimes all someone needs is to have someone believe in them. I thought for the longest time that I was going to have to make my journey on my own. I didn’t know about CPs and these sites where writers can connect and support each other and it was lonely. I am so grateful to have found such a wonderful group of writers in an extremely supporting community and I want to give back. If I can help a story or its writer, I will.
- Magical Realism/Fabulism
- Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
- Speculative Fiction
Horror – I am a huge fan of the “last girl” trope. I will take a bad ass chick (or dude) surviving hell any day of the week. I prefer my horror dark… like, DARK.
Romance – If you have a brother/sister romance or any other incestuous type of romance, please do not sub to me. Unless your book is meant to be dark, I don’t want to see any stalking or abusive behaviors. There is a big difference between being possessive in a normal, jealous human way and possessive in an “I’ll kill you if you ever leave me” way. No graphic sex scenes as I don’t think they are appropriate for YA.
Mystery/Thriller – I like twists and red herrings but if the killer is going to be the butler, please make it believable. And please, no Sixth Sense endings unless you’re pitching it as a ghost story.
I WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Skype or phone call
- Freestyle in chat
The first round of notes I give are usually big picture changes. This is where we fix story arc and plot holes – this is also where I’ll ask you about character motivations and why they are making the choices they make. I always tell CPs and mentees to feel free to argue with me. This is your book and if you aren’t comfortable changing something, we’ll work through it and find the solution that best fits your story.
Second round consists of tightening those first round changes and also me giving line edits. I like commas… I will probably add commas.
From there, we polish your MS and move on to your query and Twitter pitches (if you participate in those) and we will compile a list of agents you feel comfortable submitting to.
My ideal mentee would be someone who is ready to work, someone ready to put in the time, and someone not afraid to make reasonable changes. I’m hoping to find someone who is not only talented but tenacious.
As of lately, I’ve been hankering for horror. I want dark. I want slimy creatures lurking in our hero’s peripheral. I want something contemporary that incorporates monsters and villains of old. Give me a John Carpenter film in book form!
I would love to see a contemporary story centered around a magician and dark magic. There aren’t enough stories involving murderous cults or Lovecraftian monsters.
A contemporary version of The Warriors would be amazing… maybe tossing in some magic or giving it a Mad Max feel. Somebody please write this for me.
I am a sucker for romances and am not ashamed to admit that I watch Hallmark often. If your book combines something dark with a sweet love story (or a tragic love story, I’m not picky) then please send it to me! Think along the lines of Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles.
I didn’t mark contemporary books as a preferred genre but I wouldn’t mind finding a good book about a football player or a hockey player, girl or guy. We don’t see enough sports in YA books IMO.
DO NOT SEND ME:
I still don’t want to see zombies.
No fairies. It’s not that I don’t like fairies and elves but I have read too many Tam Lin retellings lately and I’m fairy-ed out.
Nothing involving princesses or courts unless you are going full fairy tale like Alethea Kontis’s Enchanted.
No space stories. Unless you are giving me Aliens.
No science fiction unless it’s along the lines of John Wyndham.
And no dragons.
I like horror films from nearly every decade. Give me John Carpenter, Wes Craven, puppet masters, demons, ghosts, and killer clowns.
I am a big fan of ballet; the art form and the stories that inspired the most famous ballets.
Authors I’ve been digging lately are: Kresley Cole, Peter Straub, Stephen King (been going back to reread for all of these movies coming out!)
TV shows, assuming I remember to tune in: Wicked Tuna, Forged in Fire, Hoarders, The Strain, The Goldbergs