Relentless Aaron Inks it up with 50 Cent,
Signs Two Major Motion Picture Deals & Continues to Build Upon His Literary Legacy
By: Eboyne’ Jackson
His past life is a mirror image of the groping urban fiction novels he conjures from the crevices of his ingenious mind. 43 year-old DeWitt Gilmore, also known as Relentless Aaron, is a literary aristocrat who has experienced and overcome more adversaries than many can fathom; from being a well-respected television producer, magazine publisher, and nightclub developer, to becoming one of “America’s Most Wanted,” and serving seven years in prison for his hand in a major check cashing scheme. Determined not to become a statistic, Relentless left his seven-year prison sentence with ambition as his ammunition, along with thirty manuscripts in his possession. With those thirty manuscripts, Relentless went on to ink a 6-figure 14-book deal, and has capitulated urban fiction to its greatest height, selling well over 200,000 novels since November 2003. Urban fiction has received a throne among other literary genres, and many accredit Relentless Aaron as being one of the main contributors to this dynamic feat.
For Relentless, success was inevitable, despite his tumultuous childhood, and past run-in with the law. “I grew up in Mount Vernon, New York. Rebellion was my means of expression,” Relentless reflects. “As a child I was naturally curious, naturally mischievous. My parents didn’t have a heavy-handed grip. Most of the time I did what I wanted, but then again there would be repercussions–whippings from mom and or dad,” he laughs.
The freedom Relentless was awarded as an adolescent enabled him the opportunity to cultivate his insurgence despite a sports regime, (baseball was his favorite sport,) as he found pleasure in vandalism and stealing bikes.
“It wasn’t until I turned seventeen that I found myself at a crossroads for the first time. I went to boot camp,” Relentless says. “A recruiter there made a huge impact on my life. The training was intense, very physical. I was fighting men twice my size. When I came out of boot camp alive, I felt like I had won a medal.”
In his later years, Relentless was esteemed among many prominent business professionals and celebrities, as his father was the owner of an immensely popular strip club in the city. Endorsed by the mafia, and celebrated as being one of the most respected nightclub developers, television producers, and magazine publishers, all seemed right in Relentless Aaron’s world.
“I was producing a popular entertainment television show similar to BET, it was a self-contained show,” Relentless reminisces. “The show featured many up-and-coming artists at the time such as Mary J., and Brian McKnight. It was a huge hit, and was syndicated in more than 2 million homes.” Relentless advanced his entrepreneurial skills when he also formed a magazine in conjunction with the show, entitled: “Superstar,” a free entertainment publication that was distributed through out the city quarterly.
Aggravation of the law came into play when Relentless found himself in serious debt due to his ambitious magazine venture. He became involved in an elaborate check-cashing scheme as a result of his financial turmoil. Residing in an intricate 25-bedroom home in New Rochelle, New York, (a house Relentless cites as a “lucky” purchase found at a bargain because of his connection with the owner,) aroused the FBI’s curiosity for further investigation. Unexpectedly, a 40-armed militia of FBI agents and local policeman raided the entrepreneur’s home.
“Here I was living in this huge house,” Relentless scoffs. “To the Feds I was a criminal mastermind, the secret service was investigating me. I was involved in a credit fraud,” he admits.
The media had a field day when the FBI found a letter in Relentless’ home that was written years ago as a memoir for his first fiction story. The letter was about exhorting $2 million dollars from authorities to evade the poisoning of consumer Tylenol capsules. “The letter was a joke,” Relentless insists. “I went through lie detector tests regarding that, and was sentenced to prison in 1996 for seven years due to the credit scam.”
While prison cells promised cold isolation and boredom, Relentless found solace in writing fiction stories from his prospective, a street prospective. His stories were filled with violence, sex, and illegal activity, and soon became a magnet of attraction for his fellow in mates.
Relentless shares, “Other inmates couldn’t believe my work, they would literally stand in line to read one of my stories. Mind you at the time, they were hand-written stories,” he laughs. “Every one thought my stories were hot.”
Even Jay-Z’s cousin, Emory Jones, (whom Jay sends a shout out to in his song, “Do You Wanna Ride,”) sealed Relentless’ literary credibility. “Emory believed in my writing ability. He said I was the Michael Jordan of urban fiction,” he reflects. “In jail, he would literally spend half of his commissary me; he’d hit me up with whatever I needed—books, notebooks, pens. Like he believed in Jay, he believed in me.”
In prison, one story quickly became a catalyst for thirty completed manuscripts. In 2003, after fulfilling his seven-year term, Relentless was awarded freedom from bondage, and moved back to New Rochelle, New York. He embarked on a new beginning with literature as his means of survival.
“I was determined to find a job and get out of the half-way house. I was determined to make something out of myself,” he says matter-of-factly. “I worked in an office and used it to my advantage. I would format books and provide graphic services. I provided this service for a client, and ended up also laying out my first book for retail with a small print company.”
So the story goes: The very same day Relentless was released from the half –way house, he lined up on 125th Street in Manhattan, with an unabashed tenacity. His knapsack was filled to the brim with 50 copies of his first urban fiction thriller, Push, a tale about a man named Reginald “Push” Jackson, who entangles himself in the fast life, sells drugs, does time, and with the best intentions, winds up getting romanced by the streets all over again.
He charged $15 per book, and returned home with an empty knapsack, and went on to sell another additional 300 copies of the novel on the streets in less than a week. Relentless continued to hustle his novels on the streets, in small bookstores, and on the Internet, determined to make himself a household name.
With “relentless” determination, he was approached by St. Martin’s Press, one of the most notable publishing houses. He brought a few of his titles: Topless, Push, and Platinum Dolls. “I told the publisher that I wanted to make history. I told them that I wanted to make 100 million dollars. 100 million based on book sales and movie deals, my novels were presented as a package deal.”
Relentless’ demands were proclaimed as being “out of reach” by the publishing house. “I left the books, and days later, I received a call back from St. Martin’s Press, offering me a six figure deal.”
Turning his first 4-book contract into a 14-book mass market deal, Relentless is one of the only authors afforded the opportunity to market his literature as he pleases, as his books fly off the shelves of national bookstore retailers. To this day, Relentless takes pride in walking the streets with his books in tow, announcing his identity to the world.
“I know no limitations,” Relentless says with pride. “I mean no disrespect to the publishers. For me it’s all about branding, so I continue to market my brand.”
Since landing his lucrative deal with St. Martin’s Press seven years ago, Relentless has written and released 33 novels, and has appeared on ABC World News, Ed Gordon for NPR News, as well as featured in the New York Times, and Ebony Magazine, among many other media outlets. With all of his media ties, Relentless Aaron has accumulated well over 2 billion impressions over the past 4 years! He is also currently represented by Violator Management, one the world’s most prominent multi-media entertainment corporations, home to Diddy, 50 cent, Busta Rhymes, and LL Cool J., among others.
It doesn’t stop there.
“Being down with Violator Management has been invaluable to me,” Relentless shares. “My agent landed the book deal for me with 50 Cent’s G-Unit Books/ Simon & Schuster,” he says gratefully. “It’s all about increasing marketability!”
Relentless Aaron is more than an author; he’s a visionary. Recently, he signed two major motion picture deals for his bestsellers, Push, (directed by prominent actor, Bill Duke,) and the Last Kingpin.
Relentless is a “boss man” in his own right, as he is the CEO of Relentless Content, a multi-faceted book publishing company that focuses on book promotion, ghost writing, and Internet production. In addition, Relentless is the CEO/Program Director of Relentless Networks, an Internet-TV Broadcast studio, affiliated with Violator T.V. Relentless Networks fathers 40 channels such as Gospel T.V., and Top Model T.V.; offering diverse programming ranging from lifestyle, sports, entertainment.
Between hosting the Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show in Atlanta every year, to his various speaking engagements encouraging reading and literacy, Relentless Aaron is a man of ambition with very little time to break away from building his empire. He is also currently penning his final title for St. Martin’s Press, tentatively titled: Thicker Than Love, to be released sometime fall-09.
“Yes, I live an amazing life,” Relentless admits. “I am a work horse, every day is a hustle,” he laughs. “I swear one of these days, I am going to plan a getaway and get a Swedish message and not think about business!”
In Relentless’ well of knowledge, he asserts, “that mastering one’s craft is the key to success.” He says with conviction, “Whether you are an entrepreneur or a shoe polisher, you better be the best CEO or shoe polisher that ever lived. Stay in your lane, never perpetrate to be a hummingbird if you’re a vulture and vice versa. Know yourself. Your work ethic and discipline will bring forth recognition.”
“I mean, take it from me; look how far I’ve come,” Relentless laughs. “When I received my first 4-book deal I was knocking at the door, now I kick the door down!”