JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Iris Bolling, author of Once You’ve Touched The Heart
Tracy Washington, a young woman from humble beginnings, is given a golden opportunity when her street-smart brother finances her college education. This is the perfect opportunity to escape from her self-absorbed mother. While in college, she meets her roommate’s brother, J.D. Harrison. Afterwards, her life is never the same.
J.D. Harrison, a prosecutor for the city of Richmond, is destined to be a force in politics. However, his strong sense of integrity places him in a constant struggle between right and wrong. When he meets nineteen-year-old Tracy, sparks fly, but her age prevents him for showing his feelings.
Then fate steps in. The street-smart brother, Al Day, is now a case for prosecutor, J.D. Harrison. In an effort to protect his sister, Al makes a deal with J.D., who now finds himself connected to Tracy by a commitment and the heart.
Between vengeful women, criminals and other interesting characters, life becomes a living nightmare for the couple. To protect Tracy, J.D. changes his career and puts his hat in the political arena as Attorney General.
Together, J.D. and Tracy rejuvenate the Democratic Party as they pursue the most powerful address in the world – 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C…
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Once You’ve Touched The Heart?
Iris Bolling: The lack of quality entertainment on television is what prompted me to begin writing. I was on vacation for a week and during that time there was absolutely nothing on television worth watching.
I mentioned to my son that there was no creativity or imagination in programs on television any more. His response was, “We should write a story and submit it to someone for airing.” Of course, we both laughed it off.
But the next few days brought the same unimaginative, meaningless programs. I turned the television off, went to my computer and began telling a story that was mulling around in my head. Since I was into politics and loved romance, I decided to combine the two.
The first night, I churned out three scenes to a story. I read it and was so excited. I wrote three more before I went to bed that morning. The next day, I called a trusted friend and asked her to come by to critic it. I nervously worked in my kitchen while she sat in my office reading.
When she finished, we sat in the living room and discussed the storyline. She enjoyed what she read, but had a few questions. Her questions made me wonder what motivated the characters in the story to react in the manners they did. She stated, “As a reader, you want to love and hate characters.”
I went back to the computer and tried again. This time, I spent more time on developing the characters. When I looked up to take a breath, the first novel was complete and several others had taken shape. That was the beginning of The Heart Series.
JP: What sets Once You’ve Touched The Heart apart from other books in the same genre?
IB: The character development is what makes Once You’ve Touched The Heart a great read. You begin to feel as if you know each of them personally. Before you get to the last page, you want to know more about the story itself. It’s the characters that keep you wanting more. At the end, you feel a connection with the characters you love and the ones you hate. The characters become lifetime friends.
In addition, you will find an array of characters in my novels. One common thread in each is intelligence. Whether they are on the right side of the law or not, these are intelligent men and women who have excelled in their professions of choice. Very few allow their circumstances to limit them in living their lives as they chose.
In every book I write, there will be professionals who are not afraid to take chances in life. Every story will involve social issues, which I hope create a sense of understanding and tolerance in some areas and a glimmer of hope in others.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Once You’ve Touched The Heart getting out to the public?
IB: Perseverance and conviction or as some may say “a wing and a prayer.” I had no idea what I was doing when I wrote my first novel. But I believed in my ability to write a good story and did not allow anyone to stomp on my dream, regardless of how difficult it may seem.
I began taking steps to learn the craft of writing and the business of publishing. I decided to self-publish. To be honest, I like to have control over my work. It’s been a difficult journey, but I was determined to tell my stories my way. I’m still learning, making connections and moving forward.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Once You’ve Touched The Heart?
IB: I’m not sure about my writing process. It was just what come out when I sat down at my computer or talk into my recorder. The story plays out in my mind in scenes, just like a movie.
When a story hits my mind, it does not leave until it is complete—I know the beginning, the middle and the end. By the time I sit down to write the story, the characters, their temperament, their surroundings and the general setting of the story is clear.
Sometimes, I would sit down and tell the story to another person. This gives me a barometer on the feasibility of the storyline. I can say I do have triggers. A picture, a place or music can set a story in motion for me. Usually there is a music cd associated with every story I write, it helps to set the mood.
Once You’ve Touched The Heart and the second novel The Heart of Him were written at the same time. The two took me about four months to write, edit, re-write and edit again.
JP: What’s next for Iris Bolling?
IB: I’m writing the last book in The Heart Series, titled – The Heart, which will be released in October. Night of Seduction/Heaven’s Gate, which is a story about two brothers and two sisters that find their love of a lifetime, will be released in May.
I’m working on a new series I’m writing is called The Lassiters. They are characters from The Heart Series with stories that need to be told. The really exciting news is I’m in the process of writing a script for Once You’ve Touched The Heart. I think it would be great to see these characters on film one day.
Thank you Joey for proving the opportunity to discuss my novels. When you read them, my goal is to entertain and open your mind to possibilities in life you may not have considered, be it professional or personal. If you would like to learn more about The Heart Series, please visit my website at http://www.irisbolling.net/ or my publishing company website at http://sirient.com/.
17 thoughts on “5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Iris Bolling, author of Once You’ve Touched The Heart: The Heart Series”
Wonderful interview! I have read everyone of your books and have enjoyed them! Keep up the good work! Can’t wait for the next one!
What an intriging book series. I can see this developing into an interesting flick. Iris is absolutely correct, there isn’t any creativity on TV. There are so many shows that are copy cats and you don’t really see too may made for TV movies anymore. This is wonderful how she got her start as an author.
~Cathy Kennedy, Children’s Author
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Thank you, Ms. Kennedy.
Judging by the support that Ms. Bolling is getting here alone is a testament that stories like her’s is bound to have a huge following.
Iris Bolling is a “fresh of breath air” in the writing community. She gives our black community a wonderful new perspective. Her characters are well developed and seem familiar. Her books would definitely make wonderful “made for TV” movies, similiar to what Lifetime did for Nora Roberts and Patricia Cromwell. BET and TV one definitely need to have her on their radar!!!
You heard it here first! Yes, I believe that there needs to be a widening of the range of characters, experiences and emotions that Black people portray on TV.
Iris Bolling’s series is the kind of “edutainment” that we need to see on the big and small screen.
The interview is great. I absolutely LOVE this series. I have introduced co-workers to the Heart series and we are all “hooked” and in love with the characters. Anxious for the last book but sad to see the series end. The saving grace is that we have the original characters we have come to love in future stories.
I am also anticipating the May release of “Night of Seduction/Heaven’s Gate”.
Although this series is coming to an end, it definitely allows a new beginning and direction with Ms. Bolling’s writings.
Great interview Iris…For those who have not read the series, it’s hard for them to comprehend what the excitement is all about. You become so caught up with the storyline, that when talking about the characters in the book, one would think they were everyday friends/people. Oprah,Tyler Perry and others should definately look at your work to make better movies/mini series for television viewers.
The Heart series has captivated me for the past few years and now I look forward to anything Iris Bolling writes.
Great interview and I even learned something 🙂
As you and many in the world know I LOVE THIS SERIES!! It is a wonderful group of stories that keep you captivated from begging to end. Definitely looking forward to your other releases.
Awesome interview!!! I always tell people about Iris’ novels and how addicted I am to them. It’s an honor to personally know the author and be able to learn from her.
Do not miss out on this series!!!
Loretta R. Walls
CEO, Nu Cherte Publishing
Great interview, Iris! For those who have not read the series, please do so. You are missing out on a great story and definable characters.
What a wonderful Interview! Remember, I was the first to tell you that I could see it a mini-series on televison. I do see greatness and increase in all you do.
Joey, thank you for this great opportunity to showcase my novels. Your 5 Minutes – 5 Questions is a great concept that give up and coming authors, like myself 5 minutes to shine.
To those who have taken the time to read the interview and leave a comment, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on Once You’ve Touched the Heart. Word on The Heart Series is spreading like wildfire due to your energetic support.
I’ll see all of you on THE RED CARPET.
You are so welcome. I am honored to have you here.
Also, thank you for bring out your crew. This is one of the first times in a long-time that an author had taken it upon themselves to get readers involved.
Many times, I have to take the promotion of an interview upon my shoulders, which is cool, but this is not my book. So I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You were getting comments before I had a chance to let others know about the interview after I posted it.
I have to say that I’m a huge fan of the Heart series and Iris’ writing. It’s interesting to know that her stories play out for her like a movies because they read like movies. The books are very vivid, the characters, the scenes, everything, to the point that the reader can visualize it all, just like in a movie. LOL!! I’ve found the books to be real page turners, each and every one of them. I’m blaming Iris for all those nights I stayed up all night!! I love the series so much that I will be sad to see it end, but I can’t wait for the next book and then there’s the Lassiters!! Yay!!!!
It is so ironic that I came here today and saw this because a friend at church had asked me just last week, had I ever read any of Iris Bolling’s books and I said no and she was saying, what great story lines and I would enjoy them and then I see this interview, I guess I have been lost and have been missing out, so thanks Joey, I really appreciate your insight because sometimes we can not always have information on authors but Amazon here I come need to catch up on Iris Bolling so I will be ready for her new releases.
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