hello, i'm samantha chaffin.
sam, if you like.
I think you have a universe of stories in you.
Other things: I have a B.A. in Theatre and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. I’ve been a contributing blogger at The Yellow Conference and some other places, and can usually be counted on to work Batman, The Princess Bride, and/or Alan Rickman into conversations.
Right now, I'm probably hugging a bookshelf somewhere.
also, some faqs
+ why do you write young adult novels?
I think YA literature is changing the landscape of fiction. It's home to some of the most brilliant, thoughtful, funny, courageous, and compassionate people I've known - readers and writers alike. I write YA because books told me I wasn't alone when I was growing up, and I read YA because it's home to me. Also, things like YALLWEST prove to me that there's probably nothing better than this community.
+ you mentioned working at a nonprofit in your last post...
I spent nearly three years working at the Downtown Women's Center, the only organization in Los Angeles' Skid Row exclusively dedicated to housing and advocating for homeless women. I tend to talk about those years sometimes in my blog posts, because they were some of the most beautiful and heartbreaking of my life. The women I worked with are the strongest people I know.
+ so where do you work now?
I started working at a 4-12 girls' school in April 2017, doing website/online content management. Now I spend my days with tiny children and not-so-tiny almost-adults everywhere, all the time. They're the coolest. I still work as a freelance digital content consultant (more about that here) on the side.
+ are you a christian?
+ are you a feminist?
+ how can you be a feminist and a christian?
Short version: Jesus Christ is actually responsible for making me a feminist.
Longer version: I was raised in an extremely conservative denomination of Protestant Christianity, where I was taught that women were second to men because "the Bible said so." I didn't realize until I was older (and studied literature) that reading the Bible requires an understanding of cultural and historical context. And when you add context, the Bible becomes a love song and an anthem for those whom society oppressed and/or persecuted (namely: women, poor/young/old people, people discriminated against because of race or sexuality, etc.). The actions and words of Jesus become a poem about the deep love that makes all of us valued and equal.
It was only once I started to see my own misconceptions about who God truly is that I encountered Christ the Original Feminist, who casually broke all the rules society had/has put in place, challenging patriarchy and empowering the marginalized.
That said, I understand that there's a lot of baggage connected to the word "feminist" and the word "Christian." I struggle with both of them myself, namely because there are some very real problems with both labels and the camps with which they are associated, because we are a lot of broken humans trying to figure out how to do justice and love mercy. I think Sarah Bessey breaks down this tension really well (I recommend her book Jesus Feminist). The Junia Project is a great place to read more about egalitarian theology, if you're interested.