Thursday, December 1, 2011

Memories of High School You - Kip Wilson Rechea

As a young adult writer, the foundation for most of my writing starts with my own teenage experience.  Times, fashion, and music have changed but that overall quest for self is still the same.  So in that spirt, I share these bi-monthly interviews:  Memories of High School You.  Fellow MG and YA authors will share their own spin on the hallowed halls.  If you're interested in participating just drop me a line in the comments.

This week I'm pleased to introduce Twitter, Blue Board, WIPMadness, and Critique partner extraordinaire - Kip Wilson Rechea, aka Kiperoo.  Kip is a fabulous YA author whose books I know we'll be plucking off book store shelves sooner rather than later.  But in the meantime, I'm ready to read about high school Kip.  How about you?

Tell us about your high school, public or private, size, demographic, location?
I went to an almost stereotypical rich girls' boarding school, in Troy, NY (outside of Albany). But no, my dad isn't a diplomat or anything. :-P Both my parents were chemists, and my mom was the school's chemistry teacher, so I got to go there for free. We had a small class—about 90 girls from all over the world. 
(J.Ro here - Oh man, I escaped all girl's school after ten years (K-9). Teenage girls in groups can be tough!)
Were there cliques at your high school?  What were they?  Who did you hang with?
Not really. People hung out with other girls on their residence halls, and I was a day student, so I mostly hung out with other day students. Other than that, it was really easy to talk to most anyone you met, in classes, sports, activities etc. I didn't “do” sports, but ballet was my “sport” and it was a lot of fun.
Did you have a memorable teacher?  Good or bad?  How did they influence you?
Yes! My high school German teacher was so good that it made me want to continue with German and study other languages. I ended up going all the way (hahaha) with German, getting my Ph.D. in it. 
(I love this story - must have been an amazing teacher)
Did you have an inkling as a teenager that you would become a writer?
Not really. I loved to read, and I loved languages. I had written a fair amount in my earlier years, but once I hit high school, I was having too much fun to write. 
What book had the biggest impact on you as a high school student?  How?
Two things, both from German class! I read about the White Rose resistance movement, which I found fascinating (university students in Germany, including a girl, who were captured and killed by the Nazis for distributing anti-Hitler leaflets). And I also got my taste of real German literature. I first read some Goethe, Rilke, and Kafka, which totally blew my mind.
What band could you not get enough of in high school?  Were you an album or a CD kid?  Cover art you remember?
At first, J. Geils Band, especially the blues stuff, Beatles, the Clash, Led Zeppelin. Later I got into everything from electronic stuff like OMD and hardcore punk like Suicidal Tendencies and Black Flag. Oh yeah. All I wanted was a Pepsi.
(Okay, you could have ridden in my car and brought your tapes)
What was the fashion rage - the one article of clothing you either got, or didn’t get that rocked your world?
OK, this might sound weird, but I pretty much wear a lot of the same stuff. I was never into trends, so my favorite clothes back then were my army cargo pants and black turtlenecks, and I still wear tons of army clothes and black now. The colors of the olive!
What hobbies, activities, sports were you involved in that influence your writing today?
Ballet! I've got a ballet thread in my current WIP. I would have done yoga had it been around then—love yoga now! I hate sports (except I love watching the Red Sox), so I doubt I'd ever be able to pull off a sporty character. I loved music, and spent hours playing guitar or just listening to music. 
Good kid or wild child or a little of both?  Details? (Mwaahaa)
I was good about my academics. *coughs* Got good grades and really liked my language classes. But I was definitely wild too. I had a Very Cool Aunt who introduced me to Interesting Things, and I loved to experiment. My world also revolved around my boyfriend senior year. We totally had the same taste in music, moshed in the pit together, and both got really into photography. Plus other secret stuff. Which our parents found out about. Which got us in trouble. Sssssshhh. 
(teenage J.Ro is giggling and wants you to tell her all about it after school)
Did you have a favorite phrase or slang word?
I'm sure lots of things were “wicked” or “wicked awesome,” but they still are now, right? RIGHT?
Who was your bestie?  Your frenemy?  Your sworn enemy?  Did you ever have one that switched to another?  Why?
I had a few people I considered my bestie. Probably my best friend through most of the high school years was another tall, skinny chick like me. We spent our time talking about boys, wild hair, music, and stuff like that. One of my other best friends was a really funny Filipino girl who loved—and still loves—good clean fun. She's still one of my best friends today. Then of course there was my boyfriend, who totally rocked my world. We went out for my senior year of high school and freshman year of college. He was the first person who really understood me. We had a blast!  
If you could say one thing to your high school you, what would you say?
Just keep doing what you're doing. :-)
How do we find you now? 


  1. I like high school you, Kip. Which doesn't surprise me since I like grown up you, too. Great interview!

  2. Fun interview! An all-girls school sounds so interesting. We don't have many on the west coast, so I find it strangely fascinating :)

  3. It sure was interesting! I think I would've had fun anywhere though, heh heh.

  4. I love this post! I totally agree with the first comment. :)

  5. Great interview. It brings back tons of memories.

    Many years after I graduated, my father shared a hospital room with the German teacher I'd had in high school. He remembered me. But I suspect it was because I was the worst student he ever had. I could have used you as a friend ;)

  6. It's so fun to see the varied, yet similar answers to these questions. And I must admit, Angelina and Kip were far more cerebral than I in high school. For me, it was horses, and as Kip put it so well, Interesting Things.

  7. This is great haha! It's nice too because it shows that you can go to a girl boarding school and NOT be a snob or failure or anything that Hollywood portrays!


Hey, do you ever wonder why they call it 'your two cents?'