Monday, May 19, 2014
Author Interview - Eva Pohler
Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! In keeping with my Monday theme through UtopYA Con 2014, I bring you another author interview. So far we’ve had a number of awesome authors give their time and expertise to make us smile. If you missed any of the past interviews or awesome guest posts, I invite you to check them out here. If you don’t have your tickets to the con yet, you may be SOL! See if there are any more available here and get yours today. Let’s get our interview on! Everyone make some noise to welcome the lovely Eva Pohler to the blog!
Jo: *squeeeee* Hiya, Eva! So good to have you here on the blog. I hope you’re ready to be thrown to the wolves that pretend to be readers of my blog. *grin*
Eva: Wolves? I LOVE wolves. Toss me in!
Jo: You asked for it! Haha! You’re one of the most interesting people I’ve ever done a search on, let me tell you. Okay, let’s begin our feeding of the audience! I hear you have a couple of rats as pets (I love rats! SO smart!). Would you care to dispel some common myths surrounding those cute fuzzballs of joy and tell us a little about yours?
Eva: Absolutely. First of all, rats DO NOT carry rabies. My veterinarian assures me of that. They also regularly clean themselves and tend to use the bathroom in one area of their cage, and like cats, can even be litter trained. Like all animals, they aren’t a one-personality-fits-all species. Katniss (who recently died at four years of age—may she rest in peace) was not as social as Prim. When out of her cage, Prim will run right up to you, and she loves to lick your ear and play in your hair. She is so excited to be with you, just like a dog. So I tell people that rats combine the best qualities of cats and dogs to make the perfect pet.
Anyone considering owning rats should make sure they buy two. They get quite lonesome, unlike hamsters (who prefer solitude). It’s best to get sisters. And you want to be sure to let them out of their cage once every other day or so for at least twenty minutes.
We built a rat mansion out of an old chest of drawers. At four feet high and two and a half feet wide with four levels, it has been a great home for them. Here’s a photo, so you can see what I mean.
Jo: I had one named Baby who gave me many years of joy (and screams from women when I took her to the mall). *snort* I heard tell you plan your life six to seven years into the future. Wow. Does that take a lot of time? What’s been your biggest snafu in those plans so far?
Eva: I’m a big dreamer, and I like to think a lot about the future. Writing those dreams and goals down makes them feel more possible to me. So far, I’ve hit all the big ones: earn a Ph.D. in English, find the man of my dreams and marry him, have a few kids, teach on the college level, and become a published novelist. The biggest snafu was not finding an agent. I wasted years looking for one and got close many times only to have things fall through. The revolution in the publishing industry couldn’t have come at a better time. The option to self-publish got me back and track and has even helped me to get further along in my goals than I originally estimated.
Jo: Wow. Sounds like you're on the right track. Admirable, dear! Glad to have you Indie with us! You have a ton of books out. What’s your favorite title so far? Why?
Eva: Gosh, that’s hard. It’s like asking me which of my children is a favorite. Do I really have to answer? I love all of them. I put so much blood, sweat, and tears into writing every one, and they each brought me great joy. It wouldn’t be fair to choose one above another.
Jo: Well, it was kind of rhetorical. *grin* Tell me about the book you’re working on titled Queen of the Bees. What’s it about and where’d the title come from?
Eva: Wow, you really DID do your research! The title is a working title and is a play on William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Since reading Golding’s novel, I have liked to imagine how the story might have turned out had the characters stranded on the island been girls instead of boys. How would things turn out differently? Or WOULD they turn out differently? So I created a cast of modern-day American private school girls who have the chance to be exchange students with another private school for girls in Japan. On the return flight, the American plane goes down, and only nine of the original girls survive. The adults are all dead.
In Lord of Flies, Golding emphasizes the importance of social institutions and their conditioning forces in taming and civilizing the natural beast within each of us. I want my story to show how those same institutions can hold us back (with things like gender stereotypes) from achieving self-actualization. Although the girls go through hell on the island, and conflict and betrayal and other bad stuff happens, my story is ultimately one of liberation and of the human capacity for love and compassion in the darkest of times.
Jo: Isn't the internet an amazing place to find information about people? *wicked laugh* Now that's a book I'd totally sink my teeth into. I love stories about the human condition (zombie books, anyone?). You have some new features on your website you’re in love with. What are they, where did the idea for them come from, and what do you see yourself doing with them in the future?
Eva: I enjoy engaging with my readers through a variety of media, so I launched Monday’s Meme, Two-Minute Talk Show, and Fan Art to make that happen. Monday’s Meme is usually a funny play on Greek mythology—like Hermes (the messenger god, among other things) hitting the beach once the gods get cell phones. Two-Minute talk Show was actually my son’s idea. He’s moved on to other projects, but I’ve left the nine videos he produced available to readers because they are so stinkin’ funny. The fan art idea came from Quinn Loftis. I am totally copying her on that. But I’m asking for Greek mythology-related art. I just can’t get enough of those beloved gods!
Jo: I'm a huge Rick Riordian fan and love tales involving the gods. *high-five* Who’s your biggest supporter in your writing and how have they influenced you over the years?
Eva: That’s a tough question, because I have so many supporters—my friends, my parents, my siblings, my grandparents, and my children. My children have been especially supportive, especially during the days of rejection letters from agents. But I’d have to say that my husband has been my biggest helper. He picks of the slack for me around the house when I’m crunching for time for a deadline. He’s also the one that encouraged me to take the leap and self-publish. When my books broke out and started bringing in a regular income, he told me he always knew it was a matter of time.
Jo: Awwww your husband sounds so much like mine. Isn't it great to have a staunch believer? I know your favorite literary character is Mr. Darcy from P&P. What qualities does he possess that make you like him so much? Is your husband a lot like Mr. Darcy (if yes, how so)?
Eva: Actually, my favorite literary character is Fermin from The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I love Fermin because he is so funny and tragic at the same time. Mr. Darcy is my favorite book boyfriend, though. I love how, in spite of the social expectations of his time, he follows his heart by proposing to Lizzy. I also love how he helps Lizzy’s sister and family and is generous to his own sister. My husband is not wealthy like Darcy, but he is very generous with family and would do anything to help a family member or friend in need. When he married me, I came with a lot of debt, so I know he didn’t marry me for my money!
Jo: I agree. Darcy is the every-man. Loving that you’re a huge Harry Potter fan (I am, too)! What do you think about the new attraction going up at Universal Orlando in July? Do you think your desire to visit Hogwarts will be filled anytime soon because of the HP world?
Eva: I cannot wait to go and am so jealous of my friend and fellow writer, Alison Pensy, who is going this summer! I’m not sure when or how, but I WILL get to Hogwarts!
Jo: OMG no way is she going! She didn't tell me that. *huffs* I wanna go, too! Sounds exciting. Time for the alien question of the interview! Being that you’re from San Antonio, Texas, close to New Mexico, do you guys ever see UFOs? Do you have an alien/weird encounter to share with us?
Eva: I don’t, but my husband’s cousin has a story. She refuses to talk about it but swears that personal experience has led her to believe that aliens exist without a doubt. I visited the UFO Museum in Roswell but wasn’t overly impressed. I believe that life most likely exists on other planets, and I do think it’s possible that they have made contact here. Abductions also seem like a legitimate possibility. I’m just skeptical of the typical image we see in the media—kind of like the white Jesus. Doesn’t seem true to life.
Jo: You now owe me a screen cleaning for that answer! *wink* Rapid fire questions! Napkins or paper towels?
Eva: Paper towels.
Jo: Red or Green?
Jo: Believe it or not, a favorite color tells a lot about a person. *smiles innocently* Tell me about being a lecturer at the college. Is it fun? How often do you go? What do you talk about?
Eva: Yes, it is fun. I teach on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. This was my last full-time semester (four courses). In the fall, I will teach only three. The following year I plan to go down to one or two courses, so I have more time to write. In five years, I will retire from teaching and write full time.
But, for now, I love it. My favorite class is an upper-division course called Young Adult Literature. Most of my students are junior and senior English majors who love to read. We read six books and they write two literary analyses. This semester we read Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, The Golden Compass, The Giver, Divergent, and The Hunger Games. Talk about fun!
Grading papers can be time-consuming, though—as can the administrative responsibilities. As much as I enjoy teaching, I’m looking forward to writing full time. My next dream is to buy a house with a lake view where I can write and gaze out for inspiration.
Jo: I love that you've nailed it down to five years from now. You go, girl! You had a Kirkus Review done for one of your books. Did that help your publicity at all? What has your favorite (most effective) marketing tool been?
Eva: I am so glad I was reviewed by Kirkus. One line in particular appears in most of my marketing materials: “sure to thrill Hunger Games fans.” That made me jump for joy!
Jo: I bet. I, Zombie got compared to Warm Bodies. I almost passed out! What influenced your decision to do audio versions of your books? How has that gone?
Eva: My own love for audiobooks prompted me to have them made. I absolutely love my narrators. Debbie Andreen has narrated all my Gatekeeper books and will be producing the last one as soon as I’m finished writing it. Coco Bell has just completed The Purgatorium, which will soon be available, and has agreed to produce the other two books in that trilogy. And Nancy Alexander narrated The Mystery Box with her fabulous, character-filled voice. All three of them have been great to work with, and the audiobooks make me proud.
Jo: I've been considering taking the leap myself; but I want to do the reading. We'll see. Well, that’s all the time we have for today. Is there anything you wish I would’ve asked that I didn’t, or parting shots you’d like to leave my readers with?
Eva: I just want to make sure your readers know that they can download the first Gatekeeper book (The Gatekeeper’s Sons) for free where all ebooks are sold [Amazon linky]. Also, The Purgatorium will be free for a limited time (it will go back to full price at the end of June) in celebration of the June release of the second book, Gray’s Domain [Amazon linky for The Purgatorium]. In conjunction with that release, I am raising money for Active Minds, an organization devoted to mental health awareness and suicide prevention in young adults. Your readers can help by opting to donate through the Rafflecopter giveaway. I chose to raise money for this organization because The Purgatorium series deals with teen suicide. It’s about an island off the coast of California where Dr. Hortense Gray and her staff use experimental therapy to terrify their patients into loving life. It’s quite intense, and many of my readers have told me they feel like they got some therapy out of reading it!
Jo: I picked up one (or both) of those! *grin* I can’t wait to meet you at UtopYA Con in just a few short weeks! *squeals* Thank you so much for being my guest, Eva!
Now it’s time to tell you about the featured book of the week!
Title: The Mystery Box (The Mystery Book Collection #1)
Author: Eva Pohler
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Length (print): 404 pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle $2.99 ~ B&N $2.99 ~ Smashwords $2.99
Soccer mom Yvette Palmer lives an ordinary life in San Antonio, Texas when a box is delivered to her by mistake, and in taking it to its rightful owner—a crotchety neighbor named Mona who shares her back fence—is drawn into a strange and haunting tale.
Mona’s ratty robe, mood swings, and secretive behavior all raise red flags, and Yvette is sure someone else is living there despite Mona’s claim to live alone, but Yvette is unable to break away as she listens to how Mona transformed from a young college woman about to be married to the odd, reclusive, ghost of a woman she is now.
As Yvette listens to her neighbor's tale, she discovers a shocking connection, but doesn't know whether Mona's come to help or to harm her and her family.
While your fingers are in the clicking mode, why not give Ms. Pohler a follow on social media?
Facebook: Eva Pohler
Be sure and come back June 1 for more information on Gray's Dominion and the Active Minds campaign!
If you have questions for Eva, pop them into the comments section below.
Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!