Alternate Arts: Do you prefer Portia, P. K., or Dr. Wayne?
Portia: I don’t have a preference. It’s kind of awkward to be called Doctor when I’m not in a professional setting. I think it’s easier for kids to call me P. K. So when I do storytelling or anything with younger audiences I definitely go by P. K.
Alternate Arts: When did you know you had an interest in writing?
Portia: I have always enjoyed writing. Even as a young girl, I would enter into writing and oratorical competitions. I wrote in college for the Spelman Spotlight. After I graduated, I wrote a lot of poetry. And then it was when I was studying for my degree and spending time with my little ones that I began writing stories and actually publishing my books.
Alternate Arts: What’s your earliest writing experience?
Portia: Wow. I can remember in the second grade I had a horrible experience. I ended up having an accident at school and all of the other kids in my class called me Portia the Pee Pee Princess. I remember going home and being totally embarrassed. After that, I started making stories with Portia the Pee Pee Princess as the main character. She would go have all types of embarrassing debacles. But it was fun. I think it was my way of releasing whatever it was I feeling. At that time, especially, I didn’t think that I fit in. So writing was a way for me to express my feelings without having to talk to others.
Alternate Arts: What’s the first thing you remember reading?
Portia: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. My mom was very big on reading. I guess that’s why I am such a stickler about reading now. But yeah, I remember being in the first grade and my mom making me read Maya Angelou’s book. I was like five years old with this intense chapter book. Of course, I read picture books before then but that is the first book I can really remember reading...