Author, entrepreneur, and brand creator Quentin Holmes (known to his friends as Q) has dedicated his life to empowering the world’s youth through trendsetting literature, media and fashion. The son of a hardworking father whose career advancement moved the family to nearly every region of the country, Holmes gained exposure to people from a wide range of different social, economic and racial backgrounds. In the end, the family’s economic status was greatly improved and the Holmes children were afforded opportunities that previous generations did not have. Rooted in a family tradition that valued education, Holmes earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from the University of Michigan. Taking classes and socializing with young people from all over the world enriched Holmes’ already well-rounded perspective of social diversity. Suburbanites, children of farmers, inner-city kids, and people from third-world countries were all striving for the same goal of a college degree.
Holmes began to realize that for the students he went to college with, the kids he grew up with, and even for himself, life is not as much about where you’re from as where you’re at and where you’re going.
Rolling out talked with Holmes about his experience with writing his first series of books, Real Street Kidz Multicultural Children’s Book Series. Check out the interview below to learn more about Holmes’ success journey.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted to fill a void in the preteen children’s book market: multicultural characters. Global children’s publishing powerhouse Scholastic released its biannual report on reading trends and falling in line with the changing face of kids television, it looks like diversity is a hot topic among American 6- to 17-year-olds and their parents. According to The Kids & Family Reading Report, which also surveyed parents of under-fives, more children are interested in reading stories about different races, cultures and faiths, though access to these books is still scarce. I also wanted to tap into my passion for inspiring and bringing kids together. I want to inspire young readers to think “outside the box” and realize that teamwork and individuality are the greatest formulas for success.
What is the mission you set out to accomplish with your voice in this book?
In 2009, [I] developed a children’s brand called the Real Street Kidz, which captures the real essence of modern preteens who have broken out of society’s stereotypical boxes and embraced new trendsetting styles, fashions and interests of kids in other cultures. Multiculturalism, along with the heightening of positive individual differences for success, is a theme across the books in this exceptional series. It is this type of awareness that builds a pattern of success for kids everywhere, no matter their background. Through reading Chasing Action, Art of Authenticity and Good Ideas, [I] hope that kids will begin to think outside the box.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your latest work?
I would have included the three main girls (Jazz, Ginger and Kawena) on the cover of the first book in the Real Street Kidz series. By not having the girls on the cover of book number one, some people may have mistakenly felt that the series was for boys only. I have worked hard over the last two books to integrate the girls into the storylines and also the cover.
A great book has what?
What was the hardest part of completing this project?
I have two small children (Zoe, 3 and Caleb, 1). My first two books were written before my children. It was really difficult to write book number three as I was adjusting to life with young children.
Describe the process of getting published?
My first 3 books are self-published. A company in India developed my characters. A company in Indiana designed the cover design and interior layout.
Please provide several interesting facts about yourself.
Drawing on firsthand experience with young people from a wide range of different social backgrounds, [I] developed [my] first brand, At Wear Apparel. Since its launch in 2003, the brand has gained national attention. I marketed At Wear for five years and was featured in Slam Magazine, Dime Magazine, Long Beach Press-Telegram, BlackVibes.com and the feature film, The Reunion.
What advice would you give other writers?
Stay true to your voice and don’t try to copy others. Your fans will love you for your unique style and point of view. Believe in yourself, and don’t ever give up on your dreams.