Name: Eva Pohler
Where are you from: San Antonio, TX
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I’m wife and mother of three living in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas. I earned my B.A. in English from Trinity University, my M.A. in English from St. Mary’s University, and my Ph.D. in English from Texas Tech University. I wrote my dissertation on narrative strategies, in which I analyzed the use of voice, point of view, character, plot, and other narrative devices used in twentieth-century British and American literature, informed by narratologists such as Tsvetan Todorov, Gerard Genette, Vladimir Propp, Seymour Chatman, Wayne Booth, and James Phelan. I also took as many classes in creative writing as was allowed at every university I attended and had the honor of studying under Robert Flynn, Nan Cuba, and Walt McDonald.
I currently write fiction for teens and adults and teach writing and literature at a university in San Antonio, where I live with my husband, three kids, and two dogs. For years I was a den leader and cub master for my sons in Boy Scouts and a troop leader for my daughter in Girl Scouts. I loved those years, but they are behind me, leaving me with more time to read and write.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
In November, I released The Gatekeeper’s Saga Boxed Set, (books 1-6). This series follows the adventures of a teen, whose life becomes entangled with the gods of Mount Olympus when one of them falls in love with her. The first book, The Gatekeeper’s Sons, is free where all ebooks are sold.
On January 1st, the first book of my new Vampires of Athens series, Vampire Addiction, releases in both ebook and paperback. This three-book series combines vampire lore with Greek mythology. I’m very excited about it!
Then in February, the third and final book in my Purgatorium series will release. It’s called The Calibans, and is about a doctor who uses experimental psychology and a teen who wants to die. I’m so pleased with the way this trilogy is coming to an end. To get everyone pumped up about its release, I have put the first book, The Purgatorium, on sale for 99 cents.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I fell in love with reading and writing while in middle school, when an uncle gave me his college literature anthology. I read it from cover to cover, multiple times. Soon I began writing my own poems, short stories, and plays. I never really stopped.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably about five years ago, when I began investing in what had, up until then, felt more like a someday dream. I attended professional writer’s conferences and hired an editor. I stopped dreaming and started living the dream.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Other novels inspired me. I enjoyed reading them so much, and I wanted to give other readers that same experience of a really good story. So I wrote what I wanted to read.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
My style is pretty simple and straightforward.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The Gatekeeper’s Sons was a hard one to come up with. It was initially The Sons of Hades, but I thought that sounded too masculine. Also, calling it The Gatekeeper’s Sons (with Hades as the Gatekeeper), made it possible for me to continue using “The Gatekeeper’s” in all the titles: The Gatekeeper’s Challenge, The Gatekeeper’s Daughter, The Gatekeeper’s House, The Gatekeeper’s Secret, and The Gatekeeper’s Promise. I’m working on a sequel, called The Gatekeeper’s Bride. I bet you can guess what that one’s about.
The Purgatorium was easy, because the island in that novel is essentially Purgatory on earth.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I used Therese’s desire to be a goddess and her ultimate transformation as a metaphor for becoming an adult. I wanted readers to understand the importance of wielding their own power. Athena gives Therese a locket with an inscription, inspired by Alice Walker, which reads: “The most common way people give up their power is by believing they have none.”
Although The Purgatorium is also about wielding your own power, this book asks the question, “Do the ends justify the means?” A psychologist uses experimental methods on an island off the coast of California, where she terrifies suicidal and depressed patients into fighting for their lives. They come to the island wanting to die, and they leave fighting to live. The doctor’s methods work, but they cross ethical lines. Should they be allowed?
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
One hundred percent!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No. Well, sometimes. But more often than not, they are completely imagined.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Probably the novels of John Fowles.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Quinn Loftis and Alison Pensy. I met them both at UtopYA Con, where my career and life were changed by the amazing information and inspiration I received from them and other authors like them.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wien (for the second time).
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I really enjoyed John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and will probably read more from him.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I just finished Vampire Addiction, the first book in my Vampires of Athens series, and it is with my editor now. I’ve just begun writing The Calibans, the final book in The Purgatorium Series.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
UtopYA Con is an annual writers’ conference in Nashville, TX. I went for the first time in 2013, and it changed my career (and my life). I plan to go every year.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. I will retire from teaching college writing and literature in five years, and then I will write full time.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not a thing. I think it’s perfect!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As I mentioned before, I fell in love with reading and writing while in middle school, when an uncle gave me his college literature anthology. I read it from cover to cover, multiple times. Soon I began writing my own poems, short stories, and plays. I never really stopped.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s is the beginning of Chapter Five in Vampire Addiction:
Chapter Five: Close Quarters
“So you four take that one,” Babá said in the hallway of the ferry, “and Phoebe and Mamá and I will sleep here.”
“Girls on top, boys on bottom,” Mamá added, which caused all four teens to snicker.
Babá’s face turned bright red, and he smiled sheepishly, but Mamá just bent her brows and asked, “What?”
The four-bed cabin had no window, and the beds were like coffins with no more than two feet between them. The top bunks were bolted onto the wall and folded up when they weren’t being used. Since the teens weren’t sleepy, they left the top beds folded and sat across from one another—girls on one bed and boys on another—utterly awkward and bored until Nikita begged Hector to play his ukulele.
“What if I didn’t pack it?” Hector asked.
“No way,” Nikita challenged. “You never go on journeys without it.”
“You got me there,” he said with a smile. He pulled a bag out from under one of the beds. “Let me just unzip this here and get out the ol’ instrument then.”
The other three broke into hysterical laughter.
“You’re worse than Mamá!” Klaus cried. Tears had come to his eyes from laughing so hard.
Gertie fell back on the bed, forgetting how narrow it was, and hit her head on the cabin wall. This brought more laughter from the bunch, including Gertie, who didn’t mind the brief smart to her skull.
Hector played traditional songs that all of them knew except Gertie. She listened to them sing in Greek. Then they taught her some of the words. It was all rubbish to her, until they translated it, and even then, it was still rubbish.
“What does that mean, ‘four winds took them on a promenade’?” she asked them.
They laughed and shrugged, until Hector said, “Chance was dancing with them. See?”
“But none of it makes sense when you put it all together,” Gertie said. “Gilded words for the next generation, going down to Hades. I don’t get it.”
“You’ll get it someday,” Klaus said sagely.
“My young padawan,” Nikita giggled.
As much as Gertie laughed at them, she had to admit that all three of them had lovely voices. It was obvious they sang together often, because they were able to harmonize. When Gertie asked if they were in choir or a band, they said no, not yet.
“We will be,” Nikita said. “In school this year.”
Around midnight, Babá knocked on the door and told them all to go to bed, so they did. They took turns using the toilet in the tiny closet. Gertie couldn’t stop giggling as she lay on her bunk thinking how she was “sleeping on top of Hector.” She cupped her hand to her mouth and tried to stop.
Eventually, she pulled her e-reader from her bag and read the last chapters of Interview with a Vampire as the others snored.
At some point, after she had finished the book and had nearly dozed off, she heard Hector get up and leave the cabin. She looked at the time on her phone. Four in the morning? Where would he be going at four in the morning?
She left her phone and e-reader beneath her pillow and climbed from her bed to follow him.
In her bare feet, she crept along the narrow hallway. Hector was nowhere in sight. Worried she might be sleep walking, she pinched herself. No. She was definitely not asleep.
When she reached the top of the steps leading to the deck, the wind railed against her, sending her hair in all directions. Despite the wind, the night sky was clear and full of stars. The moon was full, bathing the deck in light.
She glanced around and finally saw Hector twenty feet away, leaning against the rail, looking out to sea. His pale skin, blond hair, and white t-shirt and boxers made him easy to spot in the moonlight. Gertie realized her own blonde hair, white night shirt, and purple shorts made her equally conspicuous, but she didn’t care. All she cared about was learning what had prompted Hector to come. Had he needed fresh air? Maybe he couldn’t sleep.
The sea air was amazingly refreshing. For a moment, Gertie closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Then she clutched the rail and looked out at the ocean and the distant land, both twinkling with lights. The reflection of the stars on the sea resembled flittering fireflies, and the lights on the land in the distance a fireworks show. Gertie was grateful to see it.
She was startled by a couple making out in the corner—at least she hoped they were just making out. She crept past them and headed toward Hector.
The wind made it impossible to hear anything, so there was no use calling his name. She glanced up to the bridge and couldn’t see anyone manning the ferry—though she was sure someone had to be there steering it. She continued toward Hector and was about four feet behind him when he did something that completely shocked her: He climbed over the railing and flung himself into the sea.
Gertie’s mouth dropped open and she ran to the rail, searching the waters for his pale head. It emerged but was many yards away by now as the ferry rolled onward. She glanced back up at the bridge, hoping an adult had seen him jump, but no horn blasted, no voice shouted, nothing.
Not knowing what to do, she hollered out for help. “Man overboard!”
Maybe the couple would hear her. She even looked for them. They were no longer on deck. Not knowing what else to do, she climbed onto the rail and jumped in after Hector.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The spelling of the lesser gods in Greek mythology was a challenge!
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
This is so hard to answer, because I love so many authors. But if I really must choose one, I would say Tracy Chevalier because of her ability to draw unforgettable characters.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Yes, but I’m hoping to slow down. Before my books started taking off, I dreamed of travelling all over the country. Then when I started travelling all over the country, I missed my family so much! Next year, I’m limiting the travelling to two or three major events.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Melinda Vanlone of Book Cover Corner
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Nothing stands out in my mind as the hardest part. Writing is hard work. Everything about it is hard work. But I happen to love it!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I feel I have improved with the writing of each new book. I learned something from every one of them, too. They required a great deal of research and discipline.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes: 1. Read a lot. 2. Write a lot. 3. Do what successful writers do.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would like to tell my readers thank you for your support and encouragement. You have no idea how much joy your reviews bring me.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, but I can remember my older son’s. The first book he could read on his own was Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Every little dang thing these days. It’s probably hormones.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I think it would be a treat to meet Oprah Winfrey.
Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone and why?
Beloved Wife and Mother, Sister and Daughter—because my family is the most important thing to me.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love doing home improvement projects, crafting, and some crocheting.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love The Big Bang Theory, Once Upon a Time, NCIS, Modern Family, and The Middle
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I’m not good at picking favorites, because I like so many things. Maybe my favorite color is green—in all its variations.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I can’t imagine not being a writer. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry. I don’t think my life could be as fulfilling doing anything else. Song writing, perhaps?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?