Friday, December 17, 2010

Elated Over Eleven: Danette Vigilante

This is my 3rd Elated over Eleven interview, in which I interview 2011 debut YA/MG authors of color. It is my pleasure to welcome Danette Vigilante to Reading in Color. Her MG debut, The Trouble With Half a Moon releases on January 6, 2011. It's already received some good reviews and scored a blurb from Olugbemisola Rhuday Perkovich (one of my favorite people ever)! What a great way to prepare for your book's release. Read on to learn more about Danette's debut and how she compares writing to escaping out of jail ;)

What is The Trouble With Half A Moon about?

The Trouble with Half a Moon is about thirteen year old Dellie who 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?

How did you break into publishing?

I broke into publishing after years of slowly scratching away at it the same way someone might try to escape from jail! Seriously, I learned what I could about the business and I was persistent. Also important was taking what I could from rejections and using it. I’m the type of person who could spend the day cleaning then when company comes, I see everything through their eyes—ugh, I missed a spot! And, why didn’t I straighten out this or that! So when it came to rejections I was able to see my story through a different set of eyes which was very helpful.

What was the inspiration for The Trouble With Half a Moon?

Trouble has lived inside me since I was a young teenager. Corey, the little boy in the story, reminds me of a little boy I knew growing up. When I sat down to write this story, I wasn’t sure where it was going. All I knew was that I wanted to give that little boy a chance.

That's so cool that you've known the story you wanted to tell since you were a teenager. I'm so glad you finally get a chance to share it with everyone. I hope that little (well not so little anymore) boy reads it!

What book would your book date?

(Interesting question! Could my book date a few? There are so many to love!) Okay, okay. I’d have to go with Paris from The Road to Paris by Nikki Grimes.

I'm glad your book is mongamous, we've had a few playas in the past :p

In a previous interview, you mention that you wanted to be an archeologist. Do you foresee archeology being in any of your future books? What drew you to (and eventually away) from archeology?

I would love for Archeology to play a role in a future book! For the life of me, I don’t remember what drew me to Archeology. I just know that I have this thing for imagining the people who were here before me and how they might’ve lived. As for being drawn away, it just happened. It’s like walking on a certain path while admiring something off in the distance without stepping off to explore it.

I've had an interest in archeology since watching the TV show Bones (since that's what temperance Brennan originally was before she turned to forensic anthroplogy I think). I agree, there is a strong appeal in learning about the people of the past, especially as it gets harder to imagine the further away from the time period we get.

What are some of your current favorite YA reads? What fellow '11 debuts are you looking forward to?

Right now I’m enjoying Lena by Jacqueline Woodson and just before that, Handbook for Boys by Walter Dean Myers. For 2011 I see that I’ll be a very busy reader. I think I’ll start off with How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized (Love that title!) by Crystal Allen and Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

6. What two PoC characters would you love to hang out with?

Lahni from When the Black Girl Sings and Rhonda from My Life as a Rhombus.

I always felt so bad that Lahni was so loney (at first anyway), I would totally hang out with her too. Rhonda is awesome (I'd like to hang out with any main character from one of Varian Johnson's books!) and I have lots of questions for her....

7. What is one issue you have with YA/MG? What is something you love about YA/MG?

I don’t think I have any issues. I absolutely adore everything about YA/MG and probably always will.

Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

You can come and visit me at these places: or, or,

Thank you for stopping by Danette and hooray for your upcoming debut!


  1. Great interview Ari! I'm looking forward to The Trouble with Half a Moon. By the way, archeology is fascinating and I would totally love to read a book involving it.

  2. Great Interview Ari! I always discover a treasure when I visit your blog.

  3. Wonderful interview; I read this book a few weeks ago and thought it was very good and very real.

  4. I'll have to keep an eye out for this one. I love the cover and the premise. Also, I would love to read more novels about/with archaeology! =) Thanks for the interview, Ari and Danette!

  5. @Amy-Regarding archeology, I think so too! I have The Trouble With Half a moon waiting somewhat patiently for me to read it :)

    @Akoss-Aww thank you! I haven't had much time to visit new-to-me blogs lately but I fully intend on stopping by yours over the holidays.

    @Helen-Your positive review has renwed my interest in reading this book soon. I've be on a roll with real books lately

    @Maggie-The premise does sound very good doesn't it? And the title is intriguing, what is the Trouble with Half the Moon?? Sounds like a couple people would be eager to read a book with archaeology Danette *hint hint* hah

  6. Hee-Hee! *Hint Hint* taken and brewing ...

    Thanks so much for having me, Ari. It was fun! And thanks to everyone for reading.

  7. Great interview! Archeology and Anthropology are definitely fascinating fields!


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