Move over Katniss; there’s a new heroine in town, and her name is Therese.
A heroic female protagonist aimed at reconstructing the Greek pantheon system is just one character that UTSA professor Eva Pohler writes about in her many novels.
Pohler teaches a course in Young Adult Literature at UTSA, but it’s her own works of fiction that keep this San Antonio native busy.
In her breakout novel “The Gatekeeper’s Son,” a young girl named Therese uncovers a secret world that changes her life forever. But let’s not give too much away.
The story involves Therese overcoming various obstacles to prove her ability to become a fighter. Mix that with a little romance and you’ve got yourself a young adult (YA) novel.
However, this isn’t your cliché girl-meets-boy story — did we mention that her love interest is a Greek god?
Now that we have your attention, let’s continue.
What makes the novel stand out from its YA counterparts is its combination of Greek mythology interwoven with a story of courage.
“I wanted to write a coming-of-age story, and I also wanted to write a story about a regular teenager,” Pohler says, “not a girl who finds out she’s a demi-god or has superpowers or something like that, but a regular teenage girl who falls in love with a Greek god.”
Many popular YA novels feature a female lead character, such as Katniss from “The Hunger Games” and Tris from “Divergent.” Pohler felt it was important for her to represent a strong female character in her work as well, since the YA genre focuses primarily on male characters.
The inspiration for Therese is quite close to Pohler’s heart. “I think Therese is strongly based on my daughter, who is an animal lover.”
Preparing to write the novel took months of intensive research, but according to Pohler, that’s what makes the process fun. “It’s what I love doing; I love research!” she exclaims.
“The Gatekeeper’s Saga” is just one of many works Pohler has published. Since releasing “The Gatekeeper’s Son” in 2012 Pohler has published another series called “The Mystery Box.” Pohler recently completed the first book of her next series “The Purgatorium,” which is slated to be out this spring.
Which character is her favorite? “I love them all so much!” says Pohler. “I think I’m closest to the characters in ‘The Gatekeepers Saga’ because I’ve written about them longer, and I’ve developed a stronger relationship with them… that’s probably why I’ve written six books about them. I like them all so much. But it would be really hard for me to say that there was one series that I was particularly close to.”
Not only does Pohler love writing, she also enjoys reading young adult literature. Her favorite works include “The Hunger Games,” “Code Name Verity,” “The Book Thief” and the “Harry Potter” series.
With the culture of self-publishing changing in the Internet age, Pohler encourages her students to take advantage of the new opportunities that social media offers.
“This is a great time to be a writer, probably the best time in history. Not only because of the convenience of the technology with the Internet and the drafting of the story versus writing by hand or typewriter, but also because you have the ability to be discovered on your own through social media better than you could have in the past.”
Pohler contends that with the climate of the publishing industry changing, now is the best time to put out work. Just as her characters are in charge of their own destinies, Pohler believes the same applies for her students.
“I would encourage anyone who wants to be a writer to not give up,” says Pohler. “They have more power over their destiny now than they did even just a few years ago.”