Published: July 31st, 2017
Dahlia, a centuries old genie, lies hopelessly trapped in a damaged golden locket charm attached to an ankle bracelet. Its owner, sixteen-year-old Liana, wears it for the first time during her father Jamison’s opening night illusion spectacular. Not only does its presence cause Jamison to folly his performance, but it also starts a chain of bizarre events that lead to a showdown with Dahlia’s mortal enemy, Stefan, and an unsuspecting romance between Liana and his son.
1. You have very nice Pinterest boards for genies. In what way the genies from these pictures are different or similar from your characters?
Thank you! These pictures are great and a lot of fun to look at, but they are more idealized and/or stereotypical versions of genies. There is one tribe of genie that I describe in the book that mirrors these ideas and images, but the others I imagined as more realistic, i.e., dirty, weak or smelly looking.
2. You are a many-sided artist (films, screenplays, musical compositions). In what way have helped you your other artistic interests in writing Tribal Affairs?
This is my first novel, so I wasn’t used to delving into so much detail. In my previous works, the nitty gritty was typically discussed among collaborators or in the editing room and rarely written down in detail on paper. It was a daunting task at first, but then I found that I rather enjoyed it, and the process took me places that I don’t think I would’ve otherwise gone.
3. There are many who say that they write only to entertain not to send a message (even a basic one as the good vs. bad). What is it your opinion about the scope of a story, especially when writing for “young adult” readers?
I don’t think a book or story should be preachy, but I do believe they should try to expose readers to different ideas or cultural phenomenon. I mention/introduce a few things in the book that I hope will intrigue the YA readers. For example, I compare some scenes in the book to the work of the French painter Georges Seurat, and I also talk a little bit about quantum physics. I recently had a reader who had never heard of the Painite gem, and she did some research on it after learning about it in the book. I also talk about the power of rage and the even greater power of forgiveness, but I think that is probably more cliché than preachy.
4. There is an old discussion about offering what it is needed it VS. what it is wanted. Does exist such “dichotomy” in what regards today young generation and how did you solve it in Tribal Affairs? (I connection with YA’s habits and preferences - in books and/or in general - or the lack of them)
When writing the book, offering the “what is wanted,” in regards to the YA audience, wasn’t entirely on my radar. I know that is a terrible thing to admit, but there it is. I wasn’t really confronted with the YA formula until some colleagues reviewed the manuscript. I had to go back and adjust the POV, title and cover image. There are some basic elements that fit the usual YA preferences for fantasy, romance, exploration and evocation, but on the whole, the book is unpredictable and surprising. I think what is needed, isn’t immediately evident, and can take time to penetrate. My hope is that in writing something unexpected I can satisfy both the wants and needs of the YA audience.
5. I saw on Goodreads another title: Tribal Wars, but I couldn’t establish for sure if it is a previous form of Tribal Affairs or a next volume of the series. Tell us more about your plans connected with Tribal Affairs, please.
It was a previous version of Tribal Affairs. I originally used the title Tribal Wars with the image of the Persian symbol Eshgh on the cover, but found that it was more confusing than intriguing. Depending on the success of Tribal Affairs, I may do a second and third novel continuing the story. My long-term intention was to use the tribes of genie as an allegory to the cultural and tribal dynamic in the Middle East, again, as an exposure to ideas and not opinions.
About the author:
Matt Dallmann has a background in acting and holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. His films and screenplays have been featured at film festivals across the United States including Cinequest, Big Apple Film Festival, Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival, DragonCon and Zero Independent Film Festival. His piano compositions have been published for commercial use and he is a member of ASCAP. Matt is also the Co-Founder and Vice President of the boutique medical billing firm VGA Billing Services, Inc. in New York City. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.