by Kelsey Kieckbusch
Eva Pohler is a San Antonio based author whose primary genre is Young Adult Fiction. Many of her books focus on coming-of-age action and adventure as well as a little fantasy. She wrote The Vampires of Athens Series, The Purgatorium Series, The Gatekeeper’s Saga, and The Mystery Book Collection.
Pohler’s novels also focus on another of her passions, mythology. She does extensive research before picking up her pen, so the myths and legends that the reader encounters are as close to the source material as she can possibly make them. Her passion for her genre shines through in her writing, and one of her joys is sharing that passion with others. She taught literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio, helping new writers develop their own styles, and now she is dedicating her time to her family and her own writing.
I had the pleasure of being able to interview Pohler about her work and her talent via email.
Kelsey Kieckbusch: Many of your novels deal with Greek mythology. What originally got you interested in this topic?
Eva Pohler: My eighth grade English teacher had a book of Greek myths. I fell in love with the stories, especially the one about Persephone and Hades. Later, as an adult, I watched a movie starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins called Meet Joe Black, in which Death wants to experience life. The movie made me wonder how the story would be different if the main character was Thanatos, the Greek god of death. My series took off from there.
KK: Have you ever had a chance to visit Greece to see where these stories got their start?
EP: No, but it’s definitely on my bucket list!
KK: What made you decide to sit down and write your first novel? Was it even really a decision or just something you had to do?
EP: I loved to read as a child, and by the time I was in the sixth grade, I started creating my own stories, purely for my own entertainment. In high school, I wrote a fable for an assignment in English, and mine was chosen to be read out loud to the class. One of the students in the class asked if he could publish it in his Dungeons and Dragons newsletter. I was thrilled.
In college, I took every creative writing class that was offered. My school didn’t have a creative writing major, so I majored in English. My goal was to teach college English and write on the side. I wrote as often as I could.
So the ambition to write stories that would be read and enjoyed by others grew from my childhood.
KK: How did you feel once you learned that your first novel would be published? Do you get the same feeling with each consecutive novel?
EP: I was both excited and terrified. I was excited to be finally sharing my work with a wide audience, but I was also terrified that readers wouldn’t like it. And yes, each time, those feelings of excitement and terror are there, but with each book, I’ve become more and more confident that people–not all people, but MY people, MY audience–will love it.
KK: How do you come up with your characters? Do you plan their personality out in advance or create it as you go?
EP: I spend some time getting to know a character before I write a story. I borrow parts from different people in my life to build this new person–appearance, mannerisms, speech, and personality. I also use Tarot cards to learn what this character really wants, what’s holding him or her back, and what hidden talents he or she might possess.
Then, as I write the story, other aspects of the character emerge to help shape a whole person.
KK: What is the best part about writing Young Adult Fiction? What is the worst?
EP: The best part is capturing that feeling of undergoing important moments in life for the first time–the first kiss, first love, first adventure away from home, or first time having to take on responsibilities with consequences that affect more than yourself. Maybe the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and everything you’re facing is both exciting and terrifying, but also brand-spanking new.
The worst part is the expectation some people have that young adult fiction–unlike works for adults–must be socially responsible by teaching a lesson, creating a role model, avoiding all taboo behavior, and maybe even sprinkling in strong morals. While I consider my young adult fiction to be clean (no sex and very few instances of bad language), and while I do hope to inspire young readers to become independent and empowered people, I strongly feel that my stories should first and foremost be enjoyable experiences that take readers through the whole gamut of human emotion and leave them feeling like they want to read the whole story all over again.
Eva Pohler is the Amazon bestselling author of The Gatekeeper’s Saga, The Purgatorium Series, The Vampires of Athens Series, and The Mystery Book Collection. After teaching writing and literature at a university for over twenty years, she now writes full time in San Antonio, where she lives with her husband and three teenagers. More information about her books is available on her website.