Monday, September 10, 2012
FEATURED AUTHOR: Iris Bolling
Iris Bolling lives in Richmond, Virginia and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management. She is currently a Workforce Development Trainer with the Commonwealth of Virginia.
She penned her first manuscript, Once You’ve Touched the Heart, in March 2008 and completed a six book collection of novels called, The Heart Series. In May of 2011, Iris introduced her new novel, Night of Seduction/Heaven’s Gate and in 2012 she released Teach Me, the first book in the new series, Gems & Gents.
In April of 2010 Iris was named Debut Author the Year, at the Romance Slam Jam conference. Her novel, Once You’ve Touched the Heart was voted the Readers Choice Award with Shades of Romance Magazine for, Romance Book of the Year. Iris was voted Romance Author of the Year and Author of the Year. Her novel A Lost Heart was nominated Romantic Suspense Novel of the Year, at the 2011 Romance Slam Jam. In 2012, her novel The Heart was awarded the Hero of the Year award. In 2012 she was also name Author of the Year by the Building Relationships Around Books Bookclub.
For more information please visit; www.irisbolling.net, www.sirient.com or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How did you start out your writing career?
The lack of quality entertainment on television is what prompted me to begin writing. I was on vacation for a week. It was one that I planned to work on cleaning my house. During the entire week, 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. So I turned the television off, went to my computer and began telling a story that was mauling around in my head. The first night I churned out three scenes to a story. I read it and was so excited that 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.
What did you learn while writing this book?
While writing Teach Me, I discovered that I love writing about family dynamics. Developing different personalities for each of the characters was a challenge, especially with the Blanchard. For some, family is at the heart of everything. It doesn’t matter if the family is dysfunctional as the Davenports, as crazy as the Blanchard’s, or as cohesive as the Lassister, family and their drama impacts our life.
What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?
The characters came first in this story. The Heroine, Diamond Lassiter was introduced in book three of The Heart Series, Look Into My Heart. At least seventy-five percent of Teach Me was written during the same time as Look Into My Heart. Each of the characters were developed during that time.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The most surprising aspect of being an author is the love you received from readers for doing something that come so naturally. The emails and letters I received from readers are so humbling and encouraging. I can only hope that readers enjoy the stories as much as I enjoy writing them.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
Creating stories that are intrigue and enjoyable. Thinking of the possible events, that can take place in each story and then sorting out which stay and which doesn’t to finalize the plot. I could sit and do plot stories for hours. As for my least favorite aspect of writing, that’s easy—editing. That is why I have spent years finding the right combination of editors. Yes, I said combination of editors, because it takes a village to create a good story.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
1. I wish I had known the importance of editing. If I had I would not be in the process of re-editing The Heart Series.
2. Someone should have told me long again about this thing called marketing. I’m still learning to promote and market my novels.
3. I wish I knew long ago that this gift of writing had been granted to me. If I had, I would have been writing sooner.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
The do is easy, just write, research, then write some more. It doesn’t matter what you write, just keep writing. Believe it or not the story will fall into place, even if you end up piecing it together. Don’t ever allow anyone to step on your dream to become an author.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
It would be great if there were more than 24 hours in a day. However, we authors do have families, jobs and other responsibilities that takes us away from writing 24 hours a day. There is the business of writing and other things that determine when the next book will be released. It’s not always up to the author.
Tell us something few know about you?
Here’s a little secret, during college, one of my roommates and I would play basketball or shoot pool to make extra cash. The guys would always bet against us, because we were girls and they didn’t think we could play. Never underestimate the skills of a woman, even if it’s a man’s game….
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
This is almost funny. I am an avid reader. I have taken vacations off from work to read series or every book of a particular author. One Christmas my family gave me a selection of Beverly Jenkins’ historical and a set of Julie Garwood historical and I never moved off of my living room sofa. If anyone came into the room making too much noise, I would look up from my book and they simply turned and walked out of the room. That must have been a mean look. LOL! I’m a huge sports fan, so if I’m not reading, you’ll find me watching, baseball, football or basketball games in person or on television.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
Usually book clubs meetings, book conferences, and book signings. As most authors do, I have a website, Facebook page and blogs that keep me in touch with readers. Emails are the most important for me, because I love to hear from readers. Their feedback is priceless to me.
Our theme for this month is BUSINESS OF WRITING. What were you surprised by about the business side of writing?
Wow, that’s a loaded question. I’ll answer it this way. Learn all you can about this business before you enter into the publishing or writing field. Take the time to learn about contracts, marketing, copy rights, intellectual property and branding before you jump in. Taking the time to learn about the business of writing up front will save you a lot of time, disappointment and cash in the long run.
Who was the first author you ever met?
Victoria Wells was the first author I met in person. To this day I still call her my friend.
Oprah always asks, what do you know for sure?
I know for sure that we as African Americans have been underestimated as an economical force in the publishing industry in this country. I also know for sure if we ever really can together in the manner that other nationality and support each other, the publishing industry will have a impenetrable force to deal with.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
The next book, tentatively titled, Rumors, introduces Xavier Davenport, the brother to Zackary Davenport in Teach Me, to Nicole Brooks, the sister to James Brooks from The Heart of Him. The plot of the story is centered on rumors and how they can leave questions and doubts to eat away at young love. Oh, and please remember I do enjoy integrating humor into my stories. Here’s a short excerpt:
Somewhere along the line, Nicole was sure her friend Alicia Robinson had truly lost her mind. She listened intently as Alicia attempted to convince her to, not only purchase a ticket, but to participate in the charity event. The more details Alicia shared the more Nicole was certain participation was not in the cards for her.
“I will be more than happy to purchase a ticket. I will donate to the cause. However, I draw the line at purchasing a man, even for charity.” Nicole smiled at her friend, “Not even you can believe I’m that desperate.”
“Frankly, I do believe you are in need of a man and I do mean a real man. Not a, ‘I’m just too fine to work man,’ whom you have a way of attracting. I am talking about a man’s man. However, this is not about being desperate or needing a man. This is about raising money to build a Recreation Center for Highland Park. The city has closed every center there is for kids to go in the afternoon or during the summer. It behooves me why the politicians have the nerve to wonder why kids are hanging on the corners or stuck in front of an electronic babysitter. It is going to take a lot of money to get that center built and then furnished with equipment and computers to keep the kids occupied. Nikki, you know what it is like. The kids need a place to go to stay out of trouble. How can you turn your back on that?” Nicole knew Alicia was right. She knew the area of Richmond the center would service, was in need of some revitalization. Her brother James and his wife Ashley lived in the metropolitan Richmond area. James is the Campaign Manager for the current Attorney General, JD Harrison, who is Ashley’s brother. JD was not running for the Governor’s seat. One of his platforms for his campaign is improving education and services for the children in Virginia. Highland Park was one of the areas he mentioned that was in desperate need of assistance. They wanted to find ways to reduce gang activity in that area. He believes to eliminate the gangs we must find an alternative for the kids, or the gangs will just resurrect themselves.
What Nicole was not clear on was why she had to be the savior. “I’m sure Richmond has plenty of people that will attend the event and be very generous. The function will not fail if I’m not there. Besides, you know your sorority sisters aren’t particularly fond of me. And if I remember correctly, some of them aren’t too thrilled with you either.”
“Well, maybe you should not have called them a group of wannabes, when we were in college,” Alicia smirked.
“Well, maybe they should not have shunned me because my skin was a little darker than theirs.” “Maybe, you should not have told them you was going to have your daddy kidnap them and have all of their ass shipped back to Africa, to learn about their real roots.”
They both laughed. “That did kind of piss them off, didn’t it?” Nicole smiled. “I don’t mine supporting your function, but I’m not too crazy about being around your sisters. Can’t I just give a donation and be done with it?”
“Any other time I would say yes. However, as you said, some of my sores aren’t very loving towards me these days. You know I’ve been on shaky grounds with them since I walked out doing pledge week, because they voted you out.” Taking a moment to push the “you owe me” button to get her way, Alicia continued. “If I remember correctly, Shirley Ann wasn’t too happy either.”
Nicole exhaled, “Yeah, your mom was pretty pissed at you for that.”
Pissed wasn’t the adjective Alicia would have used, ballistic was more like it. Alicia’s mother expressed her displeasure in very direct language. ‘Nicole’s father had enough money to buy her a sorority if she wanted one, your father and I do not. You will go back to school young lady and apologize, beg, gravel and anything else you have to do to cross the line. It is a legacy in our family and you will not break it.’ Alicia was sure her mother would have broken every bone in her body if she had not become a sorer. “To this day, seven years later, she will not let me forget it. I’m not trying to make you feel guilty or anything, but you do owe me.”
“Cut the crap, Alicia, that’s exactly what you are doing.”
Alicia stood from the seat in front of Nicole’s desk and walked over to the window that overlooked Central Park. “You know there are thousands of people in New York City alone. At least one fourth of them are men. You have been here for two years, sitting behind that desk trying to impress a group of old men that run the Real Estate world. What you and I both know is they will never accept you or I into their inner circle no matter how good we are at what we do.” She turned and looked down beside her friend, who was seated at her desk. “You, my friend, have three things against you. One-you are Black.”
“No, say it ain’t so. Say it ain’t so,” Nicole looked at her friend astonished.
Alicia smirked, “two, you are a female and you know females have no place in this male dominated career. Then last but certainly not least, you are young. There is no way the men that run the Real Estate business in New York is going to accept you. They don’t care that you daddy is one of the richest African-Americans in this Country. Your sitting around working twelve hour days and not having a social life is not going to change their minds.” She sighed. “I just want you to have some fun, at least for one weekend, with a man that does not feel it’s a crime to have a job. I’m not asking you to fall head over hills in love or anything close to that. Just have fun, get your little grove on, and then come back home.”
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Readers may reach me by email at: email@example.com , Readers can keep up with all the happenings with my novels at: www.irisbolling.com or they may sign up for my quarterly newsletter. You may also contact me at www.sirient.com
SORMAG celebrates 12 years this year, Can you tell us what SORMAG has meant to you as a reader and writer?
SORMAG gave me a platform when no one else would. They continue to support my needs as a writer and as a reader. I look to SORMAG to keep me up on the releases of my favorite authors.
Congratulations to SORMAG and LaShaunda Hoffman for continuing to provide a platform for readers and writers alike.
Child number five, sexy, confident and fiercely loyal, Diamond Lassiter made her choice. She did not save herself for anyone less than a real man to teach her how to make love. When she met Zackary Davenport, there was no question in her mind, he was the one.
With arson connected to his last project, the only mission on Zackary Davenport’s mind was ensuring the new home development progressed without a hitch. Working against him was an unknown force that was out to destroy his name. The last thing on his mind was any woman that was after his heart. To that end Diamond Lassiter was trouble, and he knew it.
Revenge, family secrets and love will keep you engrossed as you wonder whose willpower will prevail.
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