Monday, 3 August 2015

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...Viveka Portman

1. Tell me about your book ‘The Observations of a Curious Governess’ and where you got your inspiration for it?

I’d written the previous three of ‘Regency Diaries’ – which were all based on the gentry and wanted to explore a middle class heroine. So I decided to write about a governess.

2. What is one misconception people have about you?

That because I’m an erotic romance writer, I am a sex maniac or some kind of sexual deviant!

3. Are there any occupational hazards of being a novelist?

Oh yes. Firstly the weird misconceptions people have about you, but also ‘numb editing mouse hand’. No matter what I do, when I’m editing, my right hand goes numb and achy from being on the computer mouse too long! I’ve tried different mouses, different height… nothing makes a different. My right hand just doesn’t like the mouse.

4. How much of your book is realistic?

All of it – or so I’d like to think. I spent a lot of time researching the era in which I write, to make things as authentic and realistic as possible. Additionally, being a private diary, the reader is privy to those intimate thoughts the writer wouldn’t ordinarily share. They don’t hide anything from their diaries, so I think sometimes the diary is so realistic it can be confronting.

5. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned about a lady called Mrs Hester Chapone – who is my heroine’s idol. Mrs Hester Chapone (1727–1801) was a female writer and intellectual, and I read her Letters on the conduct becoming of a young lady. Quite an interesting character.

6. What is your favourite character from your book and why?

I love my heroine Miss Martha Swan, she’s clever, but full of lofty and somewhat unrealistic ideals. Her inner dialogue with herself is delightful.

7. Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I do read my reviews, yes, and I may re-tweet a good one, but generally I don’t respond to them. My second Regency Diary ‘The Wicked Confessions of Lady Cecelia Stanton’, was a particularly contentious book, and it received polar opposite reviews. Some loved it, some hated it… and those that hated it, really appeared quite affected by it! Still I read all the reviews, and bit my tongue where I had to.

8. What do you like to read in your free time?

I like to read a great variety of books. My favourite is paranormal romance, but equally, I love to research so I spend a lot time reading text books took

9. Have you written any other novel in collaboration with another author? If you could pick any to do a collaboration with, who and why?

Yes, I have taken part in Harlequin Escape’s contempory erotic romance series, ‘Secret Confessions: Sydney Housewives’. Eleven of Australia’s best erotic romance writers took part. My story, ‘Emma’ is the eighth story in the eleven book series. We were given a character to write and our character had to fit in with the other authors’ characters. So far the series has been fantastically received. It was quite fun too, we all created our characters, posted up what we thought they’d look like, a break down of personality traits – collaborated with each other to make sure their behaviour was consistent throughout the series. I enjoyed it.

10. If a two year old hands you a toy phone, do you answer it?

Oh absolutely! I’ve had many conversations with myself on toy phones for the entertainment of children!

11. What’s your star sign? Do you read your horoscope and do you believe them?

I’m a Pisces. I don’t know if I believe in them, but I do enjoy reading horoscopes anyway!

Thanks for having me Sonnet!


When Miss Martha Swan enters the fine home of Lord and Lady Stanton to become a governess, she is full of lofty ideals. Yet something is amiss in the hallowed halls of Stanton: whispers, laughter, and something darker and more wicked echoes from behind closed doors, and Martha is determined to find out what.
She soon discovers that all is not as it seems in this stately home. The lord and lady have secrets,  lustful, carnal, shameful secrets that could spell ruination for all. Martha wants to be appalled, but she finds herself intrigued, and when her long-time friend Mr Jonathan Reeves comes to visit, Martha conceives a daring plan to assuage her curiosity.
Thing are not so simple however, as neither Martha nor Jonathan have the money to marry. Nothing can come from this relationship, nothing but the experience of ecstasy. In such a situation, what is a curious governess to do?


I stared at the marble Penthesilea, her beautiful face contorted in eternal agony by a futile battle. Her breast had fallen from her dress, as she collapsed before Achilles beaten but defiant. I glanced up at Achille’s face, so stern, enraged.

Was every woman a Penthesilea, Hippolyta or Melanippe?

As I pondered this profound notion I heard a most peculiar sound.

A giggle, a grunt and sounds of whispers. I frowned, the very skin my arms prickled beneath my shawl. I stood still once more, looking from the agonised face of Penthesilea down the corridor towards the sound’s origin.

More grunting - undeniably masculine grunting.

A gentle feminine cry.

Something tightened in my belly at the sound. I found myself abandoning the statue of the suffering Amazon and begin to walk down the corridor.

I confess my interest in the epic battles of the statues and the delights of the magnificent portraits that decorated the walls had all but diminished. I felt a peculiar sense of urgency lead me forwards towards the mysterious and strangely exciting sounds.

About Viveka

Viveka Portman is an author of romantic erotic fiction, and has a fascination about times past. With a bachelor degree in anthropology, Viveka weaves historical fact into fiction to create lively, realistic and thrilling tales, sure to titillate and engage the most discerning reader. Considered an upstanding member of society, Viveka does not make a habit of eavesdropping, gossiping or making vulgar displays of impropriety — except, that is, in writing.


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