This week I'm pleased to interview, Danette Vigilante, a fellow Verla Kay Blue Boarder. Danette's book, The Trouble With Half A Moon, was released in January of 2011.
Thirteen year old Dellie lives with the guilt that her little brother's death was her fault. Her mother cries all the time and because she wants Dellie to stay safe, she keeps her inside as much as she can. It doesn't matter that Dellie longs to go outside to be like other girls or that there's a boy she likes and he likes her too. All that matters to her mother is that she's safe at home. So, Dellie has no choice but to watch the world of her housing project through her second story window.
Things start to change soon after new neighbors move in on the first floor. Trouble like this has never happened in Dellie's building before. Now there are men fighting on the stoop, gunshots echoing through the night and Corey, a hungry and abused five year old boy knocking on her door looking for something to eat. Corey reminds Dellie of her brother and even though their friendship is dangerous, she wonders if this time, she'll be able to do what needs to be done. Will she be able to save Corey?
So after that, aren't you curious about the high school Danette? Let's go!
|Senior Picture - Danette Vigilante|
Tell us about your high school, public or private, size, demographic, location?
I attended John Jay High School; a large urban public school a bus ride away. The school had a bad reputation at the time but I never ran into any trouble, thank goodness!
Were there cliques at your high school? What were they? Who did you hang with?
I was involved with theatre and was part of the Drama Club. We were our own clique, roaming the school and getting into the auditorium whenever we needed to. Mostly, we didn’t “need” to. It was just a ton of fun to goof around on stage.
|Danette in a production|
Did you have a memorable teacher? Good or bad? How did they influence you?
The teacher I remember most was my typing teacher. Every time I sit at my computer to write, I give her a little thanks. Because of her, my fingers know their places on the home row keys! I don’t think I’d get very far if I was a two finger typist. (How true is that! We had to cover the keys with masking tape. It's a skill that's held well.)
Did you have an inkling as a teenager that you would become a writer?
It wasn’t until I was a young adult that I began to write seriously. My first attempts were to the greeting card market but had no success. Next came short stories that didn’t really fit anywhere. Eventually, I found where I was the most comfortable; writing for young teens.
What book had the biggest impact on you as a high school student? How?
I’d have to say To Kill a Mockingbird. I found it to be very inspirational and moving. I remember feeling as though I was a part of the book. To think that an author could cause that kind of emotion to the reader was just amazing to me. (One of the reasons I'm proud to be from Alabama)
What band could you not get enough of in high school? Were you an album or a CD kid? Cover art you remember?
When I was in High School, it was the needle on the record: albums! Believe it or not, I wasn’t what you’d call a big music lover. Sure, I liked music but I didn’t have one particular band I was crazy for. I was, however, a Rocky Horror fan. Every weekend, some of my friends from drama club acted out part of the show and we’d support them by being in the audience. During my tenth viewing though, I fell asleep and finally called it quits. I still remember most of the lines!
What was the fashion rage - the one article of clothing you either got, or didn’t get that rocked your world?
Oh, man. I kind of had my own style. Jeans, of course, but most of my tops were pink or purple (people sometimes called me their “purple friend”). At the time, a lot of girls were wearing these flat canvas Mary Jane type of shoe that cost about seven bucks. I bet you guessed that I had a pink pair and a purple pair! (Lucky you, I didn't really discover purple till I was all grown up - the color of royalty, ya know?)
What hobbies, activities, sports were you involved in that influence your writing today?
I couldn’t say I’ve been influenced exactly though I really think being in drama helped me to observe people’s mannerisms and actions, kind of pick things apart. This definitely helps a great deal with my writing.
Good kid or wild child or a little of both? Details? (Mwaahaa)
I was a goody-goody. Maybe that’s why I never ran into any trouble!
Did you have a favorite phrase or slang word?
This question makes me giggle. My best friend (whom I’m still close to today, hi, Renee!) used to tease me because I thought everything was “gorgeous.”
Who was your bestie? Your frenemy? Your sworn enemy? Did you ever have one that switched to another? Why?
As I’ve already mentioned, Renee was my bestie. We became friends in junior high (she lived in a purple house!). We used to call her short but loud in high school and no one dared to mess with her. Maybe that carried over to me because I don’t remember having any enemies. All I can say is I was lucky (and thanks, Renee)!
If you could say one thing to your high school you, what would you say?
Do. Not. Take. Your. Eyes. Off. Of. Your. Studies! Study now, play later.
How do we find you now?