JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Gibran Tariq, author of Matchmaker
Samantha Givens is the ultimate diva. At 45, she is gorgeous, smart and clever. She also has a secret agenda. Like her mother before her, she has the amazing ability to pair up young lovers. Unlike her mother, Samantha is too ambitious to simply â€œhook upâ€ the golden girls of urban America with undeserving thugs. As an option, she establishes Matchmaker, Inc., a secret organization of beautiful black women. Samantha is intent on taking control of the country.
The BBBs (Beautiful Black Bitches) of Matchmaker are the creme de la creme of black America, and Samantha will only match them with rich, powerful men. This puts the BBBs will be in a position to â€œcall shotsâ€ as the power behind the throne. Overwhelmingly successful, Samantha has wed her â€œdesigner line of living, breathing, female predatorsâ€ to countless lawyers, doctors and politicians across the country.
There is not a facet of government where they are not found. But one prize has eluded her: The White House! So she sets out on the ultimate quest: to marry one of her BBBs to the man most likely to win the presidency of the United States. Before she can marry him to one of her BBBs, she first must find him. There is an even bigger problem: the woman most suited for the job is the one least interested. Paris Hall, the only woman more beautiful than Samantha Givens, threatens everything.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Matchmaker?
Gibran Tariq: Oddly enough, Matchmaker did not evolve from either an idea or inspiration. More precisely, the novel was conjured up from a dare and desperation. My publisher dared me to write a novel that was a cross between the movie Set It Off and Terry McMillanâ€™s novel Waiting to Exhale. I was confined at the time and desperate for a book deal. Matchmaker was conceived from the marriage between my publisherâ€™s dare and my total desperation.
JP: What sets Matchmaker apart from other novels in its genre?
GT: To be quite honest,Â as a writer, I have never wholly subscribed to the notion of genre. I attempt to write without regard to boundary or limitation. Therefore, the premise with Matchmaker, as with any book Iâ€™ve written, was to invent a work that would have an appeal across the entire literary spectrum.
The fact that my characters are people of color should not present any particular difficulty to a reader who appreciates great literature. What I will confess to as a distinguishing trait of Matchmaker is the sheer lyricism of the work. It virtually pulsates with poetic attitude.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to Matchmaker getting out to the public?
GT: More than anything else, it was the ultimate belief in myself, knowing full well that I had a story worthy of public recognition. Still, getting published did not come without great emotional cost. Though I never wavered in my personal beliefs, I did grow weary of the business end of writing.
As a former drug-dealer, I found that the world of literature, despite its glamorous exterior, was as cut-throat and viscous as any back-alley or street-corner that I have ever been on. Yet, I persisted. While confined, I was taken advantage of by my publisher and never paid royalties for my work. This is what lead to the formation of my own publishing company Soulfire Books.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Matchmaker?
GT: What I demand of myself in the process of writing is to hold each word accountable. I donâ€™t view the alphabet as a string of 26 letters. They are my friends. I am very intimate with them, and I have learned how to induce them to perform magic for me. This grants me the luxury of writing without a skeleton or diagrams or other schematic props. I merely borrow the alphabets to invent lessons that instruct and stories that set your soul on fire!
I started and finished Matchmaker in five weeks. In prison, I had plenty of time on my hands!
JP: What is next for Gibran Tariq?
GT: Like everyone else, I yearn to get to the next level. With the 25 manuscripts I completed during my 10 years in prison, I feel confident that I will possess longevity both as a writer and as a publisher. Iâ€™m too much of a realist to commit to chasing dreams, but Iâ€™ve paid my dues. If I continue to stay focused, Soulfire Books will become a well-respected brand in the dog-eat-dog literary world.