Thursday, June 9, 2011

Interview with Joe Vigliotti

This week, on Novelwatch . . .

Author of Carnival Week, the second-place YA fiction category winner in the 2011 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards, as well as the heart-wrenching Return to the Shore, among others, Joe Vigliotti is this week’s A-plus author. To spice things up, the questions were switched around a bit, though the most popular ones have remained. . A dedicated artist and journalist as well, Joe certainly has quite the menagerie of talents.

Nicole: When did you start writing? Will it continue to be? What inspired you to begin writing?

Joe: I think that my first attempts at writing occurred in elementary school. I wanted to be like the people I admired: my mother and my grandparents, who were naturally artistic and creative; and Dr. Seuss. So I wanted to write children's books. But then I read what has become my favorite book after seeing the film "Gettysburg" and visiting the same battlefield. Michael Shaara's novel "The Killer Angels" on which the film "Gettysburg" was based, clearly illustrates Shaara's love of history, as well as his ability to write with such emotional sophistication- and that also furthered my desire to write, to do the same kind of thing.
Now, besides the inspiration I garnered from them, I understand in my own heart that this love of writing I have, this desire to seek beauty and understand things through my writing, is something God has implanted in me and has given me the ability to do. To write, to paint, to create, is to capture beauty in some form, and God is the source of all beauty.

N: Name your favorite book-to-movie adaptation. What is it about it you like?

J: My favorite would have to be Mr. Shaara's "Killer Angels" into Ron Maxwell's "Gettysburg". It is a powerful, unrivaled film, about one of the greatest tests our nation has ever been faced with. The Civil War was something that few people actually wanted -but it was something that northern and southern Americans were determined to see through to the end. They died for their dreams, for their beliefs, for their ideas, for their understanding of America -620,000 of them. The casualties from three day battle at Gettysburg stand at 51,112, making it the biggest, bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil. Maxwell captured the struggle brilliantly and movingly -especially the reluctance of the men who fought, for they were fighting their brothers, their families, their friends -and were dying and killing in droves for their beliefs.
Beyond the images and the music, which are all beautiful, Maxwell portrays a number of scenes that speak to the dichotomy of hesitance and animus that fueled both sides. One of them comes to mind now. On the second day of battle, as Confederate troops are pouring into position on their right to strike the Union left flank, General James Longstreet, commander of I Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, rides with the army's commander, General Robert E. Lee. Lee and Longstreet recall the war with Mexico twenty years before, where the men they were now facing once stood shoulder to shoulder with them, against a common enemy. Longstreet, speaking now of the present, of the Union troops before them says, "Those boys in blue, they never quite seem the enemy." Lee acknowledges somberly, "I know."
Here is a link to the movie's trailer:

N: Tell us about your hardest to write (of your characters). What are his/her motives? Why is s/he your favorite?

J: I can't say I've ever had a favorite character to write, but I would have to say that the most difficult characters to write are those who are genuinely good, innocent even -and have bad things happen to them beyond their control. Though a greater good comes from such suffering, it is still difficult to write about.

N: Tell us about your least favorite (of your characters). What are his/her motives? Why is s/he your least favorite?

J: The least favorite characters I have are the ones who intentionally cause pain and suffering to others, from a purely selfish standpoint, from an evil foothold.

N: What genre is your favorite to read? To write? Why?

J: I have no favorite genre to read or write. I will never exclude reading or writing about something because of the genre. What it comes down to is the story itself, what it's about. I've read and written everything from romance to war to horror to fantasy to contemporary drama. Plot, not genre, is what matters.

N: If you could become one of your characters, who would it be and why? What would you do differently in your story?

J: There isn't a character I've written yet whom I would want to become, or change the outcome of one of my stories. It is true that when you write, your characters seem to write themselves. I can intend things, but sometimes, the course of the plot and the freewill of the characters change things. I'm not sure how I would behave in place of one of my characters, but again, there is no character role I'd wish to assume at this point in time.

N: Name your most annoying thing about the writing process. Coming up with a story? Editing? Cover art?

J: The most annoying thing in the entire process of writing would definitely have to be editing. It's probably the most crucial thing past the actual stage of writing, because if plot, grammar, spelling, and structure don't hold, the reader's interest will not either.

N: What has been your great success in writing? How did you feel?

J: A lot of people say that, as a writer, you write for yourself. That is true, to an extent. But when other people read what you've written, and enjoy it, are moved by it, then you know you have something, and it encourages you. "Carnival Week", for example, won second place in the Young Adult Category of the Royal Dragonfly Awards. But that isn't necessarily success for me. Success comes in how people are affected by the things you have written.You're writing for yourself, but you're also writing to move the hearts and minds of others -and I always pray to God that it is for the better.

N: If you could go back five (or ten or twenty) years in time, what writing advice would you give yourself?

J: I would say to myself, trust yourself, and trust God in all that you do.

N: What are your plans for the future?

J: I will keep writing, and keep seeking to publish. And I pray that God guides me in every step of my life, wherever He takes me.

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