Six Questions with Portia Da Costa

1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane–and tell us why.

I’d say I’m at level 10… but that’s situation normal for me. I am crazy. LOL! I think the main insanity inducing thing in my writing life at the moment is this sequel I’m writing. But I’ve also been trying to develop some new story outlines at the same time, and my poor old brain gears start to grind and seize up when I’m multi-tasking. But I keep on persevering. I’m a great believer in scribbling story snippets and ideas down in notebooks, whenever I think of them. Now, if only I could remember where I put all my notebooks…

2. You were, I think, one of the early authors to e-publish after being print published. Why did you go down that route?

Really? I didn’t realize that. I’d assumed there were lots of people crossing over both ways. Ebook to print, and print to ebook. I suppose I branched out into ebooks by chance really. A writer friend of mine was hanging out with an Ellora’s Cave editor at RWA a few years ago, and they fell to talking about me. The EC editor said, ‘Tell her to send me something’, so I did, and that idea later became my Ellora’s Cave contemporary LESSONS AND LOVERS. I’ve since also written for Phaze, and now for the new British erotic romance epublisher Total-E-Bound. I really like doing both print and ebook.

3. Recently, you announced that you sold a sequel to a novel you wrote some twelve years earlier, Gothic Blue. In that time, your voice has probably changed quite a bit. Is that change making it especially difficult to write the sequel?

Yes, see above! No, seriously, it is quite a challenge to revisit the world of Gothic Blue. For one thing, I’d largely forgotten a lot of what happened in that book, so I’ve had to re-read it myself in order to reacquaint myself with the details of the plot and characters. And yes, my voice has changed quite a bit since then. I think my style is slightly more streamlined and down to earth than it was at that time. Writing a couple of books and some stories in first person has also tended to make my voice more intense and intimate, even when I’m writing in third person. Gothic Blue was slightly poetic in places whereas Gothic Heat is going to be more ‘realistic’ in tone, but with a strong emotional punch. Marrying the paranormal with this realism is quite a tall order but I’m relishing the process.

4. Dorothy Starr. Portia Da Costa. Those are just two of your other past pseudonyms. Was there a reason why you picked those names?

Dorothy Starr was one of my earliest pseudonyms, and I chose Dorothy because it was my mother’s name, and Starr because I liked the sound of being a ‘star’. Portia Da Costa came about because the Black Lace editor at the time of my first book for them said I had to have a new name. Apart from ‘Dorothy’ I tend to make up my pen names in much the way I do the names of my characters. By sheer chance. In the case of PDC, while I was mulling over the need for a new pseudonym, I watched ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ in which John Cleese’s character has a daughter called ‘Portia’. Probably the next day, I was watching Motor Cycle Grand Prix, and I heard someone talking about the orthopaedic surgeon who looks after the injured riders, a guy called ‘Dr Da Costa’… so I just put the two elements together and Bob’s your uncle, Portia Da Costa was born!

5. If you could have a do-over, would you still use a pseudonym?

Yes, I probably would. Publishers mostly seem to want you to use a pseudonym.

6. Do you think it’s necessary for the hero and heroine to get together and have a Happy Ever After in a romance novel?

Oh, absolutely… It’s what romance and erotic romance is all about. Some of my earlier erotic novels don’t have what you’d call conventional HEAs, but I think there’s always been the promise of a HEA, or at least an emotionally satisfying ending where people are happy, either with one person, or even in a more open relationship. Nowadays, I’m much more inclined to go for a more generally recognizable HEA though. It’s what I want to read, so it’s what I want to write. They might not actually be on the point of marriage, or a formal engagement, but at the end of a book, my hero and heroine are usually lovingly committed to each other for good.

Portia Da Costa has a personal blog. She can be found at Romance Galleria most weeks on Friday, around 6PM EST.

Her current releases are Object of Desire, Wild in The Country, and Suite Seventeen (US release), to be followed by Hotbed (reprint–October ’07) and Gothic Heat (June ’08).

She will have stories in the Love On The Dark Side (just released), Hide And Seek (September ’07), Buddies Don’t Bite (January ’08) and Magic And Desire (’08)anthologies, to be released in the near future.

All dates given are US release dates.

Now that all that release day info has hopefully been imprinted in your heads, Portia’s doing a giveaway! Lucky commenter gets 2 books from her print backlist!

29 Responses to “Six Questions with Portia Da Costa”

  1. 1 Becky
    August 1, 2007 at 4:20 am

    Your books look good Portia! I like happy endings too. I won’t read a book if I know that it doesn’t have a happy ending.

  2. August 10, 2007 at 7:24 am

    There’s nothing to beat a good happy ending, is there, Becky? I want to be smiling when I read that last page… 🙂

  3. August 10, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Hi Wendy,

    I loved Gothic Heat, so I am really looking forwad to the sequal.

    As you know I too like Happily Ever After Endings. Or at least happy for a considerable lenght of time.

    By the way, I though I was the only one who thought up plots, wrote them down on pieces of papaer and then couldn’t find them!

    I think up the most amazing plots and sparky dialogue just before I go to sleep at night. In the morning unfortunately I can never quite remember all the great stuff – it is so frustrating.

  4. 4 Kissa Starling
    August 10, 2007 at 10:12 am

    What great questions! I loved reading more about Portia. You give good interview girl.

  5. August 10, 2007 at 10:38 am

    I absolutely loved Gothic Blue, so I’m really
    excited about Gothic Heat.

    About HEA – the trick is to make it satisfying
    without making it sappy or cliched. And I like an
    author who can make you wonder, as the characters
    go through their trials and tribulations, whether
    they’re really going to manage to pull off a HEA
    after all.

  6. August 10, 2007 at 10:42 am

    Now I know you, and I’d say you are over estimating here. You’re definitely only a 9 on the insanity scale ;))

    I for one am much anticipating the sequel to GOTHIC BLUE. That was my first PDC read and I’ve been a fan ever since. Power to your pen!

  7. August 10, 2007 at 11:12 am

    I thought you had to be at least a 10 to pursue a career in writing.

  8. 8 Mary
    August 10, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    I was first introduced to your books with Gothic Blue and am looking forward to Heat! I like your style and hope to enjoy it for many books in the future!

  9. August 10, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Hi Saskia… well, when you read the scene I’ve just written, you’ll be screaming with laughter. It’s like a *bad* cross between Buffy and Flatliners, honest… It’s hilarious. And the worst thing is, it’s meant to be a serious heartfelt scene. LOL

  10. August 10, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    Love ya, Portia, and love your writings! Don’t worry about a thing –I’m loyally one of your readers! 🙂

  11. August 10, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Hey Wendy,
    You already know how I loved Gothic Blue, I miss Andre’ already, pant, pant. Man he was so hot. I can’t wait to see what characters you have planned for Gothic Heat and what you have planned for them!

  12. 12 Christina
    August 10, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Wonderful interview! I love HEA’s, too! Hate it when a book ends badly. Your artwork is really well written!

  13. August 10, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    WendyPortia! At May’s Mad Blog! Cool. Waves, waves, waves…

  14. August 10, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Hi Nikki!

    Thanks for dropping by… If this is a blog for mad people, I’m clearly in the right place! LOL

  15. 15 Little Lamb Lost
    August 10, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Good to see you hear Wendy/Portia! Looks like readers have much to look forward to from you through to next year. HEA is great to read but admit that sometimes, Happily For Now works equally well for me.

  16. 16 cathy
    August 10, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    I am a big fan of EC stories, especially with a HEA, adding some humor tops it off just perfectly.

  17. August 10, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    Hi Little Lamb

    I think some of my earlier endings could be interpreted either as HEA or HFN, although to me, they’re always HEA. I sometimes imagine how the story might go once the curtain comes down, so to speak, and my hero and heroine always remain together. 🙂

  18. August 10, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Cathy

    I don’t actively set out to write comedy, but readers have often said there’s an element of humour in some of my books and stories that they really enjoy. It’s mostly in my first person writing, I think, when the heroine is ‘chatting’ to the readers.

  19. 19 Sue A.
    August 10, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Hi WendyPortia
    I’m wondering after hearing that there’s to be a sequel to Gothic Blue if you’ve revisited with the characters of your other books just for your own pleasure? I often miss characters in books I’ve enjoyed and wonder how their lives go on after the last page of the book.

  20. August 10, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    Oh yes, Sue, I certainly have revisited characters. Especially recently… I wrote Entertaining Mr Stone a couple of years ago, and some of the characters from that book, chiefly the hero and heroine, Robert and Maria, also appear in my latest title, Suite Seventeen, as important supporting characters. Robert and Maria also feature in several short stories that have appeared in the Black Lace Wicked Words collections.

  21. 21 Debbie E
    August 11, 2007 at 2:32 am

    Hi Wendy/Portia,

    I’m thrilled because I just ordered Suite Seventeen last night online and last week I bought your new release from E-Bound.

    I can hardly wait to read and devour both of those books and many more I have. I’m so lucky to have found such great authors such as yourself.


  22. August 11, 2007 at 7:20 am

    Oh, Deanna, I must have done that a hundred times… thought up some amazing plot bit, or character, just as I’ve been dozing off, then woken up with no recollection whatsoever of what it was… Or worse, I’ve woken up knowing I thought of something really promising, and I’m just able to remember tantalising scraps, but unable to recall the whole thing! That’s even worse, I think. 🙂

  23. August 11, 2007 at 7:24 am

    Hi Kissa

    Glad you enjoyed the interview! 🙂

  24. August 11, 2007 at 7:27 am

    Yes, Lisabet, I totally agree. There have got to be viable obstacles in the couple’s path to HEA, because it’s only by overcoming them that the finally happy payoff can be really satisfying.

  25. August 11, 2007 at 7:29 am

    Lucinda! 🙂

    Yeah, I’ve always thought it’s more or less essential to be completely bonkers if you want to be a writer… LOL

  26. August 11, 2007 at 7:32 am

    Hi Mary

    Another Gothic Blue fan… It does seem to be a favourite. I hope Gothic Heat lives up to your expectations. As I said in my answers, my writing has evolved quite a bit since I wrote GB, but hopefully, for the better! 🙂

  27. August 11, 2007 at 7:34 am

    Love you too, Sabrina! Thanks for showing up and commenting… Hope you enjoyed my answers.

  28. August 11, 2007 at 7:37 am

    Hi Ally!

    I hope you’re going to enjoy Gothic Heat when it comes out… *and* enjoy Rafe! He’s just as hot as Andre, I hope, but in a different and more ambiguous sort of way. He’s certainly got issues, and lots of inner conflict, but he’s very, very sexy with it… 😉

  29. August 11, 2007 at 7:39 am

    Hi Christina

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview! Thanks ever so much for dropping by. 🙂

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