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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Conversations' Honoree Iris Bolling: Finding Success Writing from the Heart

by Cyrus Webb

I first became aware of award-winning author/ Executive Producer (and one of Conversations' 25 Women Changing the World in 2016) Iris Bolling in 2013. She was on Conversations LIVE discussing her book The Pendleton Rule, and it was during that visit that she initially discussed The Heart series with me.

Fast forward to 2016, and now the books that make up the Heart Series are the basis for the television series The Heart that premiered on the CW in Richmond, VA in Feb. of 2014 and is currently showing its second season both on television as well as online.

Serving as the Creator and Executive Director of the television show, Iris Bolling has assembled a team that has not only helped bring her beloved books to life but are just as invested in its success.

In 2015 when I announced I was traveling to Atlanta to tape episodes for my new show Cyrus Webb Presents, Iris took time out of her busy schedule to drive to the city to be a part of the taping. It was special not just because she was so supportive of the event but because it was the first time we met face-to-face.

Ever gracious---even though she prefers to be behind the camera---we were able to talk about the journey that led her to where she is today.

"I still pinch myself," she told me when we began discussing the experience of the books being successful, followed by the response to the show. "First it's actually getting the books done, and they being so well received. Then doing the television series and  have it received very well...I still pinch just to make sure it's still happening."

From the first time I met her, it was obvious why Iris Bolling is so successful: she is genuine and takes a real interest in her fans and is admired by other authors as well. "I enjoy people," she told me. "I do think I give them good stories and they fall in love with the characters, and then they want to know who created them.  I'm very appreciative because readers have a choice.  I'm very fortunate for some reason they have chosen my work. I let them know how much I appreciate that."

The other thing about Iris that is appreciated by readers is that no matter what color the characters might be in her books, she is not penning stories that will relate to just one group of people. "I write stories about life," she says. "Everyone can relate to that, regardless of what status you are in life. I think they can see themselves in the characters or in the stories. I don't think stories are going to happen to this class of people or this race of people. I think stories happen to people. That's what I write about."

Whether you are just discovering the literary gift that is Iris Bolling or have been a fan for some time, she is one storyteller that proves when you work hard and give your all to the craft the audience will come. It is no wonder that she is not just changing the world, but showing by example what it means to lead with class, integrity and dignity.

Stay connected with Iris and Season Two of The Heart series at www.irisbolling.net.

*     photo courtesy of Dream Photography Group/ ConnectingYouto PR

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