Interview with Luis Portas

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Portugal, but was lucky enough to travel quite a bit around the world. That gave me a new perspective and comfort to develop my plots without physical or territorial boundaries.
When did you first start writing?
Writing has always been quite present in my life. My mother still has texts from my elementary school, and I still hold on to crumbling pieces of paper from my youth. I had decided to write books early, but only developed a proper method around my twenties.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
At a very early age - perhaps a bit too early - I came across Fyodor Dostoyevsky's 'The house of the dead'. I followed suite with 'The Game' and 'Crime and Punishment'. Although I was far too young to understand all the intricacies of the prose, I absolutely loved it. Mostly because of how the human condition is explored and presented. For a kid that topic coming from Fyodor is overwhelming - yes, we treat each other on a first name basis - which is why I stayed away from books for a few years while learning about my own presence in this earth. Years later I rediscovered books with Mario Puzo who brings existence into a more tactile and polished environment. 'The Godfather' and 'Omertà' are amongst my favourite titles.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My stories are always an elaborated version of reality. As Fyodor, I too need that experience as foundation for my writing. So before each book I dwell deep into real life research and human interaction well before picking up the pen. For my latest book 'Northern Mafia', I learned about the underworld and how murky security agencies are, operating on the verge of the law. I can assure you it was not hard to develop a fiction plot once you enter that reality, as contradictory as it may sound.
What do you read for pleasure?
I use books mainly to provide me the opportunity to travel to those places where I don't have the chance to go. I want the book to provide me a scenario that removes me from my mundane existence, and excites my core. So I usually choose fiction thrillers, with the occasional non-fiction thrillers for flavouring.
How do you approach cover design?
As an architect I am well aware of how important the envelope is. Together with the title it gives us the first immediate impression and can determine if the reader will continue to pay attention or drop it right there and then. So I took my idea - my general concept for the cover - and contacted a design team. A few weeks later they had extrapolated my concept into 3 options, and after some tweaks my first cover was born. Needless to say I am extremely pleased with it, and will continue to use the same principle in every cover I need.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I was one of the lucky few who got an original iPad. That quickly became my favourite e-reading device. Unfortunately I am not able to carry it so often, so lately I have been using my cellphone. Luckily the screens have been growing in recent years, and that makes the reading experience a lot more pleasant
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I am going to be honest, and admit that I don't publicize my books. I did promote my first book with a Facebook campaign, but that was pretty much it.
I know that replying in social media is not an effective 'marketing technique' - and most of you are cringing just for the fact that I am using both terms in the same sentence. However I truly write for pleasure. I have a full time job, and although it gives me great pleasure that somebody reads my books I am not dependent on their sales for income. Maybe someday, when I have a more extensive collection of titles I might dedicate more time towards marketing. As the cover, I will probably outsource that to someone who knows what they're doing.
Describe your desk
Einstein once said 'if a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what is an empty desk a sign of?'... I tend to agree with him.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Although I did receive offers from publishers, the process seemed distant, almost disassociated from the creative origin. For example I was not able to influence my book's cover and that, allied to some editorial requests, pushed me into indie publishing platforms. Simply put, without Smashwords I would probably have given up publishing altogether.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I am able to talk with someone that read the book - and discuss it with them - gives me an immense sense of accomplishment. I know there and then that my writing was able to transport that person into a new reality. Grip them from the mundane and toss them into my own created world. I love that feeling.
Published 2017-12-12.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Máfia do Norte
You set the price! Words: 83,210. Language: Portuguese. Published: August 23, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Um assassinato na noite do Porto abala os corredores dos serviços secretos Portugueses. As investigações indicam grupos criminosos de leste como possíveis culpados, porém não conseguem desenvolver uma incriminação plausível. Henrique é chamado para enfrentar o perigo mortal, desvendando assim uma conspiração que coloca toda a Europa em perigo.
O Último Nobre
You set the price! Words: 69,260. Language: Portuguese. Published: June 14, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Quando Henrique de Guerra se depara com uma conspiração terrorista destinada a atacar a Finlândia, ele bloqueia com o pânico. O extremismo Islâmico apropria-se de uma falha numa central nuclear enquanto que um ramo especial do exército Finlandês, liderado pelo Major Zhorn, luta contra a detonação eminente. Numa luta contra o tempo Henrique de Guerra desvenda o seu passado Nobílico.
The Last Nobleman
You set the price! Words: 71,560. Language: English. Published: May 22, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
When Henrique de Guerra stumbled upon a terrorist conspiracy aiming at the heart of Finland, he blocked with panic. The Islamic extremism took advantage of a security breach at a nuclear power plant. While a Special Branch of the Finnish Army, led by Major Zhorn, fought against the imminent detonation, Henrique de Guerra is led through a crusade against an invincible enemy.