Exclusive Interview with the creator of Cartel Publications and Pitbulls in a Skirt:
T. Styles, author, CEO, publisher, entrepreneur, visionary, and so much more. Tell us about your first step into the literary industry:
I first got into the literary game after writing a novel titled Rainbow Heart. It was a self-published novel and it showed me that there was something inside of me that screamed writer. Unlike a lot of my peers who always dreamed of writing, I never thought about it a day in my life prior to completing this book. Although I enjoyed books very much as a child, when I was older I stopped reading because I didn’t have the time and life got in the way. It wasn’t until I was told to journal as a means to relieve stress that I decided to take it a little more seriously. From that point on I searched the industry, found Triple Crown Publications and wrote two books for them at the same time. One called Mama’s Solider, later re-titled A Hustler’s Son by TCP, and then Black and Ugly. I wrote them in two weeks at the same time.
When creating the Cartel Publications, what was the vision for it and why establish it?
The Cartel Publications was created when my publisher and I had a disagreement about my worth. I had some concerns after she changed some details of a contract we signed. She told me at that time that if I believed in myself so much I needed to put my own money where my mouth was. Till this day that was the best piece of advice anybody has ever given me. It makes so much sense. You can’t control another person’s company, be it fair or unfair you can’t even get some folks to abide by the guidelines of their contracts. But you can bank on yourself and if you are resilient enough, you can carve out your own patterns in life. I’ve done that many times over and I’m so glad that I am too proud to beg, borrow or steal from another. I knew if I wanted in this game, I had to come in knocking down doors. In terms of the vision, our focus has always been to operate the Cartel like a record company. Everything about us from our website to our books speaks record label. We believe in entertaining visually and mentally which is why we launched Cartel Urban Cinema. People love our style and I still believe no one on the shelves has swagger like us!
What has now become a ground breaking series; tell us how Pit Bulls in a Skirt originated?
Pitbulls In A Skirt was originally titled The Promise of A Hustler. I had written it when I was still under contract with another publisher and couldn’t put it out under my own name. In fact I had written over ten books during this waiting period. They couldn’t publish them as quickly as I could write them, so when it was time to launch The Cartel we didn’t have to seek out authors right away. We had two books, Shyt List and The Promise of A Hustler already ready to go. The only problem was one of the books name. Since there are so many books called the Hustler this and that, I hated the title and wanted to change it before we did anything. I talked to my business partner who is the best in the fucking business might I add. Let me tell you that without her things would not have run so smoothly. Anyway, I told her I wanted to name the book Pitbulls In A Skirt and she hated that title! I had to make a presidential decision and till this day it was one of the smartest titles and the smartest moves because it’s so catchy.
Pit Bulls in a Skirt the movie will make its premiere in the summer of 2011, why bring this story to film?
I like this story for several reasons. Primarily the bond the four black women have with each other. So often men will say bros before hoes but in this series, it’s the other way around. Sisters before misters. LOL! I know it’s corny but hey I tried! Anyway I have always loved their bond and wanted to see it on the big screen. It’s important that we see that black women can maintain lifelong relationships even in a hood movie where fighting, stealing and lying on each other runs rampant.
What will make your first film stand out from the rest?
I think it will speak to women everywhere and the fact that we used actors who are so close to the actual characters will be refreshing. I think it’ll come across well on the screen. Outside of that, I don’t know that there are a lot of women holding down drug operation films out there right now. And even if it is the women aren’t as fly and as pretty as our girls are. I just love how they look together and after awhile, you believe them as drug bosses.
What is next for Cartel Cinema and Cartel Publications?
We are making CEO’s now. So there will be authors coming from under our umbrella, who will have publishing houses under the Cartel. We are excited about this power move for 2012. If I eat, we all eat. So we gonna be getting this money together.
With a goal to become one of urban fictions finest novelists and publishers, National Best Selling author T. Styles who has penned over ten novels including, Black and Ugly, A Hustler’s Son, Raunchy, The Face That Launched A Thousand Bullets and the urban runaway Shyt List series, pours her soul into writing. When T. Styles is not creating, she is running her award winning publishing house, The Cartel Publications and her movie production company Cartel Urban Cinema. Born in Southeast Washington, D.C, she does a supreme job of weaving tales depicting urban life.
She credits her creativity to God, growing up in the streets of Washington D.C. and the thousands of DVDs she has in her collection. Although writing is her love, she is certainly multi-talented. Having worked as a Certified Massage Therapist, Model and Public Speaker for major companies/organizations such as The Office of the US Supreme Court, Marriot, Carefirst Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Eduserc, she has discovered that her true passions are writing, publishing and movie production.
In addition to writing for major companies like, Triple Crown Publications, Kensington, and her own company The Cartel Publications, T spends her time speaking honestly about the issues she’s experienced with the law as a juvenile to steer others toward a more fulfilling life.
She has been featured on, The Urban Book Source.com, as one of the Most Underrated Authors, Don Diva Magazine, Urban-Reviews.com, Washington City Paper, the Baltimore Sun and Essence Magazine.