Author Interview: Kathleen Pooler

Pooler Final CoverToday I’m privileged to have Kathleen Pooler stop by to answer some questions about her newly published memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead. In any memoir, the author today tells the story of the author back then, and sorting through the jumble of memories and pain to find a meaningful story thread can be a daunting task. Kathy has done a terrific job of finding that thread and turning it into a story that should touch nearly everyone’s life. If you haven’t personally experienced the sort of trauma she did, odds are strong that you know others who have. Let’s hear some back story for this book that lets the wise Kathleen of today put her former confusion into perspective.

Leave a comment below to enter a drawing to receive a free eBook version of Ever Faithful to His Lead.

SL: Why did you write Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse?

KP: I started out writing a different story about a cancer diagnosis and watching a beloved son spiral downward into substance abuse. I didn’t find this story until I had written three years worth of vignettes while taking a memoir writing workshop. As I kept writing, the story that needed to be told revealed itself to me. When a developmental editor told me I had two memoirs, I realized I could not write the story of my simultaneous battle with a cancer diagnosis and a young son’s descent into substance abuse until I wrote about getting into and out of two abusive marriages. It took on a life of its own and I became connected to its purpose—to share hope with others. It is possible to climb out of the abyss of poor decisions and go on to live life on your own terms.

SL: How do you describe the theme of your memoir?

KP: I was driven by the question: “How does a young woman from a loving Catholic family make so many wise choices about career, yet so many poor choices about love that she ends up escaping in broad daylight with her two children from her second husband for fear of physical abuse?” It was time to answer the question that had been asked of me my entire life by those who loved me.

SL: In the book, you say “a loving family, a solid career and a strong faith cannot rescue her until she decides to rescue herself.” What lies behind that statement?

KP: One of the lessons I learned as I wrote this book is that I already had everything I needed within. I only needed to claim and honor my inner strength. . It sounds so simple, but it took a dozen years for me to realize I had to do this myself. If I can help one person connect with their own inner strength and leave an abusive relationship sooner rather than later — or better yet, not even get involved in one to begin with, then my mission in writing this book will be fulfilled.        

SL: What will readers will learn from Ever Faithful to His Lead?

KP: Three things come to mind:

  1. One does not have to sustain broken bones or bruises to be abused. Emotional abuse is harmful and the impact on the children of mothers who are in abusive relationships is far-reaching and damaging.
  2. Abuse impacts all socioeconomic groups. Despite having earned my master’s in nursing and growing up in a loving family, I was drawn to two emotionally abusive spouses.
  3. Denial and magical thinking can keep one from recognizing abusive behavior and taking action. Emotional abuse can lead to physical abuse. According to the National Coalition for Awareness of Domestic Violence, “One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime; 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to police.” These are staggering statistics of epidemic proportion.

Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.

10% of the proceeds of the sale of Ever Faithful to His Lead will go toward the National Coalition for the Awareness of Domestic Violence.

SL: People reading books like yours often struggle with guilt and shame. What's your best advice on how they can deal with that?

KP: First, be awareness and acknowledgement that you are indeed in an abusive situation—denial can play a big role, as it did for me—and need to get out. Then, develop a support system and an escape plan. Have your bags packed. This can only happen when you admit you’ve made a mistake and need to act on your fears. You need to love yourself enough to want something better for yourself. Listen to, honor and embrace your inner voice.

SL: Where can we buy the book?

KP: Print and Kindle versions are on Amazon and print on Barnes & Noble. Digital versions are available on Smashwords for any eBook reader.

SL: Thank you Kathy for an enlightening discussion of your process.

KathyPoolerBrighterKathleen Pooler is an author and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner whose memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, and her work-in-progress sequel, Hope Matters: A Memoir are about how the power of hope through her faith in God helped her to transform, heal and transcend a long string of obstacles and disappointments:  domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure. She emerged to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.

She lives with her husband Wayne in eastern New York, and  blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog:

Visit Kathleen online: (click site name for link)
Twitter: @kathypooler
LinkedIn: Kathleen Pooler
Google+: Kathleen Pooler
          Personal page: Kathy Pooler
          Author page: Kathleen Pooler/Memoir Writer’s Journey

One of her stories “The Stone on the Shore” is published in the anthology: The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment by Pat LaPointe, 2012.

Another story: “Choices and Chances” is published in the My Gutsy Story Anthology by Sonia Marsh, September, 2013.

Write now: leave a comment to enter the drawing for a free eBook version of Ever Faithful to His Lead. The winner will be notified on August 14.


KathyPooler said...

Sharon, thank you for being such a gracious hostess for my Virtual Book Tour. Writing my memoir truly has helped me make make sense of my life. I'll be happy to answer any questions.

Shirley Hershey Showalter said...

These are great questions, Sharon. And the answers, Kathy, will fulfill your generous heart's great desire: to help others. I'm honored to know both of you and to support you both in your work. Congrats on a successful launch, Kathy, and may your book reach others as it has already reached me.

Sharon said...

Kathy, It just now sank all the way in that the storybook childhood so may of us regret not having (stable, peaceful family, good grades, friends, steady beau) may not lead to happily ever after -- at least not right away. For better or worse, we all have something to transcend -- from deprivation, distance and trauma on one end to smothering protection on the other. We're planted in different soil, produce different blossoms, and serve different purposes, and the world would not be complete without each of us.

Sharon said...

Thanks for chiming in Shirley. I'll never cease to be amazed at the way the Internet makes such a supportive community possible. I feel certain Kathy's book will touch legions of hearts.

KathyPooler said...

Well-said, Sharon. Therein lies the power of storytelling for both the writer and the reader. Memoir can definitely be a tool for self-discovery whether you write to yourself or connect to someone else's story.

Linda Thomas said...

Kathy, congratulations on publishing Ever Faithful to His Lead. You are an amazing author but even more than that, you have a heart that longs to reach out and bless others, whether through your medical career or your writing. I just know God is going to use your memoir to bless countless people. Bless your heart.

Sharon said...

Amen to that Linda!

Sherrey Meyer said...

Sharon, thanks for participating in Kathy's virtual book tour, a sign of the support and encouragement online writing friends extend to one another. Your questions were very thought provoking and as I read them, I was somewhat glad Kathy had to answer them!

Kathy, your book shares your story from the printed page and in a very warm and loving way. However, your words in response to Sharon's question carry such a strong message of hope and commitment to helping others. I am so proud that we are friends and hope some day to meet face-to-face as I did this summer with Sharon and Shirley.

KathyPooler said...

Dear Shirley and Sharon, your generous comments are representative of the fabulous community support that makes a difference. Thank you both for accompanying me on my journey and celebrating with me. I am most grateful!

KathyPooler said...

Dear Linda, your beautiful words feel like a huge hug. Thank you so much for sharing in my journey. I'm very appreciative of all you do. I hope we get to see each other in person again!

KathyPooler said...

Thanks so much, Sherrey. I hope we meet face-to-face , too, although I feel as if we have known each other all along. What a wonderful community we share!