She lives just outside Philadelphia in a home she shares with her sister. She graduated from Duquesne University and has worked at Pittsburgh magazine, All You, and Country Living. The 30-year old says hers is the typical all-American family of four. In addition to Samara and her sister, the family includes their parents, who have been married for 30 years. Samara was so kind as to answer all of my questions for this first Profile feature on 365Letters. More Profiles will follow each week. If you have an idea for a Profile subject, please let me know! 1. Why do you write letters? I started writing letters because it was the age just before texting and e-mail, and that’s what we did. We passed notes in class, and I hand-wrote letters to the boy I met at summer camp. As time went on and technology progressed, I realized that people still appreciate letters like no other medium.

I also thoroughly enjoy sitting down to write a letter. It’s a great escape from all the noise spouting from the computer and the TV. 2. Which is more exciting for you (and tell us why — elaborate) — finding a letter in your mailbox or dropping a letter into a mailbox? At one point in my life, I was more excited to receive letters, and now I’d rather send them. I imagine this changed in the same way that I once preferred receiving gifts and now I enjoy giving them more. I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I love surprising people, and a letter is a sweet little surprise. 3. Who do you write to? I write friends, family, and complete strangers. Some people I write because they write me and say they’ve come across my Web site or read my book. I write friends to say hello. I write family—usually to say thank for a gift or throwing a get-together.

There is no rhyme or reason really. I do it when the mood strikes and when a certain person is on my mind. 4. Do you write to people who never write back? Why or why not? I do. My friend Blake, for example, I write him often and he always replies with a text message. “Got your letter. Loved it! ” I don’t mind that he doesn’t respond with a letter He’s good to me in many other ways. I understand that letter writing isn’t his thing. 5. Do you use fancy stationery or plain notebook paper? I wouldn’t call it fancy or plain. The paper I use is light-blue letter-writing paper from Papyrus. It’s clearly meant for writing letters, but it’s not too ornate. I use it because it’s a little old-fashioned looking, and I want the person I’m writing to receive something out of the ordinary. If I’m not writing on that paper, then I’m usually writing on a thank you note.

Stacks of thank you notes from stationery stores or Target are my weakness. I have to stop myself from buying them all. 6. Do you e-mail, text, etc., too? If so, what determines who gets an e-mail and who gets a letter? Yes, I e-mail, text, Tweet, and update my status on Facebook. It’s the message that determines if I send an e-mail or write a letter. If it’s something quick or urgent, then I’ll go with the faster means of communication. If it’s a message that has no time constraints, I’ll send a letter. 7. Do you always handwrite letters? Or, do you ever type them on a typewriter or print them out from a computer? If it’s a long letter then I’ll type it. I type for spell check’s sake as well as being able to make changes more easily. I never use a typewriter, but I do love the sound they make. It’s the sound of work getting done.

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