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.
SIX MINUTES WITH MATT DALLMANN:
Joining LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author is Matt Dallmann, author of Tribal Affairs. One student review had this to say about Tribal Affairs:
“Matt Dallmann wrote an interesting book filled with magic and genies.”
Be sure to check out the animated review of this title.
***How did you get started writing?
I developed the itch for writing way back in elementary school. We went on a field trip to the Milwaukee County Zoo and were tasked to write an article about something interesting we encountered there. At the time, this was decades ago, the primates had a TV/entertainment box that allowed them to change channels and watch whatever was programmed—I’m sure it was something like Planet of the Apes. I thought this was cool, so I wrote an article about it. The head of this writing project liked the article so much that he sent me a separate private letter encouraging my writing. I’ve strayed quite a bit since then but eventually found my way back to the pen and paper.
***Who influenced you?
Although I don’t have the same writing style or even genre, I love Gore Vidal and Kurt Vonnegut. Their worldviews and experience coupled with their ability to comment on it in a clever or didactic way is fascinating to me.
***Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
I seem to be drawn to characters or subjects that are “half in and half out.” In other words, they keep one foot in reality, or the familiar, and let the other take a step into the unknown. We gain access to foreign lands and foreign concepts as they do. This mostly happens in fantasy (Harry Potter, Star Wars), but you can also find it in something as esoteric as Proust.
***What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Only do it if you really enjoy it. I think something like over a million books were self published last year, so the chances of getting noticed are almost nil.
***Where is your favorite place to write?
I like writing in my home office or in the living room when no one else is around. I’m going to have to get used to writing on the train during my commute to the city, however, as my writing time seems to be disappearing into the priorities of work and family.
***What else would you like to tell us?
I picked the genie or djinn/jinn mythology mostly because I felt that it was never really welcome in the western mainstream beyond a wacky cartoon or a two-dimensional sitcom character. As I researched the djinn and learned about the different tribes, I started to draw a correlation in my mind to the different regions/countries/tribes of the Middle East. “Humans,” then, became “western civilization,” which is why the essential romantic conflict is between a djinn and one of the original American colonists.
All of this, of course, exists only in my mind as an allegory, and is not spelled out in the book. But my hope is that this story, like the half-human half-genie in it, gives people access to a foreign culture that they might not otherwise even look for. And, like the romance that unfolds in the book, I hope that through that access, people will discover something new and worthy of breaking boundaries.
Matt, thank you for joining us and for giving us a sneak peek into the hidden workings of your book.