( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Kevin Quattlebaum, DC Native, Authors Anthologies About The Underworld and Justice System
ENSPIRE Contributor: Daniel Garritson
Kevin Quattlebaum is an emerging author of urban novels, in which he captures the gritty, fast-paced, intriguing world of the precarious conditions that often characterize our inner cities. Kevin’s works vividly depict the temptations that come with living the ”street life”, whose allure of money and power masks the tragic consequences that can, and do, follow one’s ill-considered actions. A lifelong native of Washington, DC, Kevin eschewed the guidance of mentors and father figures who tried to guide him to greatness, falling prey at an early age to the siren song of being “in the game”, with its accessible luxuries and tantalizing perquisites.
Yet, harsh reality soon overtook Kevin, as he made disastrously wrong turns, and found himself doing a long, hard decade of prison time. While serving his sentence, Kevin realized he had a flair and passion for writing. Out of his experiences behind bars and hustling in the drug trade, Kevin penned his popular first volume, DC Streets, a warning to today’s young people, born out of Kevin’s own turbulent odyssey through the underworld and the justice system. Following the positive impact of his debut novel, Kevin brought forth its sequel, DC Streets 2: The Next Generation, another unflinching, cautionary tale meant to encourage his readers to pursue their educations and develop their careers. Kevin’s creative vision is to steer our youth away from his chosen path and reach a brighter, more superlative future for themselves.
We asked Kevin questions about his writing process, and how his experiences influenced it.
What would you say is your greatest strength as a writer?
My greatest strength is I tell a story that draws you in and gravitates to each character. I keep it real and relatable, while at the same time having you wondering and trying to figure out what happens next.
You found your passion for writing while in prison; were you initially journaling, or did you write stories immediately?
I literally woke up in my cell and just started writing. Once I began writing it took me away from real life and I was able to escape to another space mentally. The more I wrote the more therapeutic it became. It also made me face the reality of a lot of my actions and realize I became a product of my environment.
Has it ever been difficult writing about a subject that you have such an intimate history with?
At certain times it’s been difficult because it brings back so many memories both good and bad. It causes me to reflect on a bunch of different emotions and feelings in situations that I’ve witnessed, experienced, and lived through.
Writing about personal experiences can be both cathartic and emotionally draining; does writing energize or exhaust you?
Honestly, it does both. I’m energized in a sense of how excited I am when I write and to see the story and flow of the story come together is such an amazing feeling.
However, it is also emotionally draining because it causes me to relive some moments in time that I wish could forever be forgotten. However, my past is what made me the man I am today.
If you could go back in time and tell yourself as a young man that you would one day become a published author, how do you think he would react?
I would tell the younger 21-year-old me the same thing my grandmother told me, “If I put God first and put my mind to it there is nothing I couldn’t achieve or accomplish.”
Now do I think the old 21-year-old me would be receptive to it? Not necessarily; I was in a different mind state back then.
Do you have any authors that you are a fan of or whose work inspired your style in any way?
One of my all-time favorite authors is James Patterson.
Kevin is married to cosmetic queen Schenika Quattlebaum, an accomplished cosmetics entrepreneur, whose renowned Natalia Me’Gan brand has taken the beauty industry by storm and been featured in Vanity Fair, Glamour, Vogue, Essence, BET Instyle Magazine, and more. Kevin’s literary endeavors incorporate a strong measure of support for survivors of domestic violence, his beloved wife among them.
Follow Kevin Quattlebaum on Instagram @kevin_quattlebaum, and find the free kindle version of the books: DC Streets & DC Streets 2: The Next Generation.
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