Author Daria Polatin Takes Us Inside Her Novel ‘Devil In Ohio’ – Based On A True Story

October 8, 2017

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email:

Screenwriter Daria Polatin who has worked on series like ‘Weeds’, ‘Dexter’, and most recently on Hulu’s ‘Shut Eye’ is on the verge of releasing her debut novel, ‘Devil In Ohio’.

The novel, based on a true story, follows a young woman named Jules whose mother, a psychiatrist, has brought home Mae, a girl whose history involves a cult.  
“When fifteen-year-old Jules Mathis comes home from school to find a strange girl sitting in her kitchen, and her psychiatrist mother reveals that Mae is one of her patients at the hospital and will be staying with their family for a few days. But soon Mae is wearing Jules’s clothes, sleeping in her bedroom, edging her out of her position on the school paper, and flirting with Jules’s crush. And Mae has no intention of leaving, Then things get weird. Jules walks in on a half-dressed Mae, startled to see a pentagram carved into Mae’s back. Jules pieces together clues and discovers that Mae is a survivor of a strange cult that’s embedded in a nearby town. And the cult will stop at nothing to get Mae back.”
Horror Fuel: “You’ve been involved with the TV industry for a while now. What was your first job in the industry?”
Polatin: “I started as a playwrite in New York City. I was writing plays and then got interested in TV. Because they are both dialogue based, it was an easy transition for me to make into TV. My first job was as a writer’s assistant on the show ‘Weeds’. My first writing job was on the show ‘Shut Eye’ on Hulu. It’s about a fake psychic who begins to get real visions. That’s with Jeffrey Donovan and Isabella Rossellini. Then the show I am working on now is ‘Jack Ryan’, that’s going to be on Amazon. That stars John Krasinski and the producer/showrunner is Carlton Cuse, who produced one of my favorite shows ever, ‘Lost’.”
Horror Fuel: “I’ve actually seen every episode of ‘Shut Eye’, as well as ‘Weeds’ and ‘Dexter’. I’m a big fan of the series.”
Polatin: “Oh, cool! I am so glad that you enjoy it! It [Shut Eye] was fun to work on. I helped develop the series for its first season and I produced a couple of the episodes. I wrote the episode with the Roma funeral.”
Horror Fuel: “That’s awesome! It’s a great show.”
Polatin: “I’m excited to see the second season. There are new writers on it, so I’m excited to see where it goes.”
Horror Fuel: “Do you know when season two of ‘Shut Eye’ will begin?
Polatin: “December, I believe.”
Horror Fuel: “Awesome!”
Polatin: It was cool to work on ‘Dexter’. I worked on season seven.”
Horror Fuel: “I keep hoping they will bring Dexter Back.”
Polatin: “Well, they did leave it open just in case.”
Horror Fuel: “He deserves another season.”
Polatin: “I think that there is some kind of spin-off they could tell.”
Horror Fuel: “You recently made the jump from screenwriter to author with your first novel ‘Devil in Ohio’. What made you take that leap?”
Polatin: “Because I work in mediums, I am always looking for the right medium for the right story. I wrote a pilot about a cult and I was interested in these kinds of isolated communities and what they did to somebody. A producer friend brought me the true story of this young woman who had escaped from a satanic cult and had moved in with her psychiatrist’s family. So I felt like a novel was the best way to tell that story.”
Horror Fuel: “Did the person that is based on a walk you through it?”
Polatin: “She told me a lot of details and I incorporated a lot of that into the book. She then stepped away from the project. She didn’t want to be directly involved. I took the information that she gave me and then ran with it artistically to weave it into a good story that worked as a novel.”
Horror Fuel: “Is there a general message you are trying to get out with the novel?”
Polatin: “I’m interested in people overcoming adversity, working through hardship, and finding their way through the other side. Ultimately, that’s what the book is about for me. Yes, this woman came from a really difficult upbringing, and then a lot of the story is told from the point of view of the teenage daughter of a psychiatrist. This other girl comes into her life and takes over and edges her out, so she goes through her frustration, anger, and jealousy. I won’t give it away, but they both struggle.”
Horror Fuel: “Was it written with a possible film or television adaption in mind? Because it sounds like it would make a good one.”
Polatin: “I think the story would translate well to the screen. The story has a lot of movement. I think it lends itself to being adapted to film or TV as well.”
Horror Fuel: “I know when authors write a book they must have a favorite book. What’s yours?”
Polatin: “I really like the part where Jules, the daughter of the psychiatrist is confused about what to think about Mae, the girl from the cult. That is the most relatable to me. Where she has all these complicated feelings about this girl. She feels bad for her, she wants to be friends with her, but she’s scared of her and confused by her. I think that those moments are my favorite of the book because they feel the most human to me, to have all of those layers of feelings. There are chapters from the first person of the Jules character and Mae that have this interior monologue that we are privy to. those feelings that we wouldn’t necessarily hear outwardly. Things that you keep deep inside. Those are my favorite parts to explore.”
Horror fuel: “Do you have plans for another book?”
Polatin: “I do. I am working on another book, not related to this one. But I can definitely see a sequel to this book. I’m working on another idea. My father recently passed away, so I was interested in that experience of loss. I’ve been working on this idea of a young woman in her late teens who loses her mother and then ends up on this kind of down-the-rabbit-hole, Alice in Wonderland type of adventure, thriller-mystery in Japan.”
Horror Fuel: “I am so sorry about your father. I can relate. The story sounds very interesting.”
Polatin: “Thank you. It’s such a strange and profound experience. I think that it is relatable to a wide audience. Unless you’ve been through it, nobody understands.”
Horror Fuel: “I’ll be keeping an eye out for that one when it comes out.”
Polatin: “With ‘Devil in Ohio’, it’s suspenseful and scary. It’s fun to explore those shadows and dark things in stories.”
Horror Fuel: “I have always been interested in cults and true crime. I want to understand what is going on in these people’s heads and why they do the things they do.”
Polatin: “That’s part of Mae’s (the girl from the cult) journey in the book, her asking herself, ‘How messed up am I? How much have they gotten in my head? Is it possible for me to be free of this or am I always going to have this programming?’ That’s her journey.”
Horror Fuel: “Can you tell us about the moment the mark is seen on Mae’s back?”
Polatin: “Yes, it is in the prologue, the first few moments in the book. It is the nurse in the hospital looking at the carving on Mae’s back. This teenage girl is found on the side of the road, left for dead. She doesn’t have any identification. They don’t know where she’s from or what happened to her. They see this pentagram carved on her back. That’s our introduction to Mae and this story. Part of the story is us figuring out what happened to Mae. The psychiatrist character who is Jules’ mom and takes Mae home to live with her family becomes obsessed with helping Mae and trying to find out what happened to her and trying to punish the people who hurt her. You then find out she has her reason for wanting to help Mae.”
Horror Fuel: “That sounds very interesting. I look forward to reading it for sure. The story does sound like it would make a great movie.”
Polatin: “Thank you. I think so too.”
Horror Fuel: “When and where can our readers pick up their copy of “Devil in Ohio”?
Polatin: “November 7th and it will be in bookstores. It will be available on Amazon as a Kindle book and an audiobook from Audible. You can preorder a copy now on Amazon and they will send it to you as soon as it comes out.”
‘Devil in Ohio’ will take you into the dark world of satanic cults to witness the journey of one girl trying to find answers as she copes with her past, as well as other characters dealing with the new, troubled girl who has entered their lives that will be forever changed.
Be sure to follow Daria Polatin on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and visit her website for regular updates on her books and projects. Pick up your copy of ‘Devil in Ohio’ in stores or on Amazon in hardcover, a Kindle copy, or of the audiobook from Audible.

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