Bonita: Where did you come up with the plot for The Disgruntled Wives Club (DWC)?
Portia: The plot is a result of one of my moments of reflection. After swapping stories with a friend of mine for the umpteenth time, I joked that I should write a book about relationships gone wrong. Too many of my girlfriends, guy friends, and family members were/are disgruntled. I wanted to explore why.
Bonita: You seem to have included every scenario a woman married or unmarried could face involved in a relationship gone wrong, from cheating, abuse, childhood secrets all tied up with handsome lies, was this purposeful?
Portia: Most definitely. Everyone has different reasons why they are unhappy. I wanted to show that different circumstances warrant different reactions and ways of coping. There’s something for everybody in this novel. If you haven’t been in a situation like these characters, you know someone who has been.
Bonita: Is there a lesson to be learned?
Portia: There are multiple lessons to be learned. Don’t judge anyone for staying in their relationship, because love isn’t black and white; There’s a thin line between love and stupidity; Take marriage seriously; Love doesn’t hurt…I could go on and on!
Bonita: Who were your favorite characters and why?
Portia: Dana and Crystal were definitely my favorite characters. Crystal, especially, because she was so much fun to write for. She’s a straight-no-chaser type of woman and says what everyone else is thinking. She’s honest—even when it comes to her shortcomings.
Bonita: In my review of DWC I mentioned my frustration with one of the characters’ final (but realistic) choice regarding her marriage. Do you receive feedback from your readers asking who, what and why?
Portia: Yes! Readers always send emails with their feedback. DWC has probably gotten the most feedback of all my novels in such a short time. The majority of them “get” the ladies’ decisions because they understand their personality types. Most readers are asking about a sequel already.
Bonita: Did you fashion any of the relationships after personal experiences?
Bonita: Did any of the characters challenge you as a writer in the development of their storyline?
Portia: Willow challenged me the most. Her issues spanned beyond trouble in her marriage, and her attitude toward her marital problems was much different than Dana’s and Crystal’s. She didn’t have as much drama as they did. I wanted to be sure readers still rooted for her, still felt she was significant.
Bonita: In the back of the book you created a list suggested discussion questions for book clubs. Have you attended many book club meetings and taken part in their discussion of your book? What is it that you enjoy most about meeting your readers?
Portia: I haven’t had the pleasure of attending a book club meeting yet, though I would love to. I encourage all book clubs to reach out to me. I love hearing readers’ perspectives on my characters and storylines. It’s amazing to see that they become just as involved with my characters as I do. Readers I meet at events speak as if they know the characters personally.
Bonita: Why do you write?
Portia: Because I love to. Because I have to. If I don’t, I’ll go crazy. I have so many ideas to share and so many characters I want readers to meet. It’s either write or have people thinking I have multiple personalities. I also have fans of my work who would probably hunt me down if I didn’t at least complete the series I started!
Bonita: If you were not a writer, what would you be doing?
Portia: I don’t write full-time. I work in the sports medicine field. If I had a dream job, though, I’d be in the filmmaking industry. Give me a few years.
Bonita: What advice do you have for other writers who are thinking about writing a novel?
Portia: Take the craft seriously. Having a good idea and actually forming it into a great manuscript are two different things. Do your research. Fiction is fabricated. However, when you place portions of real life in it, you must have your facts straight. Read other novels to see how different authors tell their stories, and then find your voice—your own voice.
Bonita: Do you self-publish or do you have a publisher? Agent?
Portia: I formed my own company, DISTINCT Publishing.
Bonita: In the realm self-publication and ebooks, there are many venues for an author to publish manuscripts, what you do you think is the one thing authors cannot skimp on in making sure their finish product is a well-polished book?
Portia: You cannot skimp on the quality of your storytelling or on editing.
Bonita: Do you participate in readings? Do you have any scheduled?
Portia: I have in the past. There are none scheduled this year so far. Unfortunately, there aren’t many literary events in my area. I may be reading in July at the Indiana Black Expo. I’ve done so the past two years.
Bonita: Have you found Facebook to be a great networking and promotional tool for authors?
Portia: I love Facebook as a networking and promotional tool. It’s perfect when used correctly. Some people have to remember there’s a difference between respectfully promoting their work and annoying the daylights out of their social network friends.
Bonita: Will you be participating in any summer book festivals?
Portia: I will be at the Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration in Indianapolis and the National Book Club Conference in Atlanta. I also have signings scheduled in Philadelphia and Ohio so far.
Bonita: What’s next?
Portia: I’m working on a screenplay for my first novel (Too Little, Too Late) and The Disgruntled Wives Club. I’ve also started working on the third installment of the Situations & Circumstances series.
You may also read a blurb on Portia and her book The Disgruntled Wives Club in the Spring 2011 Issue of the Soul Pitt Quarterly Magazine. Pick yours up.
AVAILABLE AT: Barnes&Noble.com and Amazon.com; order from portiacosby.com for autographed copies! Request it at your local bookstore.
Filed under: Writers' Spotlight