The Proust Questionnaire, popularized by the French essayist and novelist Marcel Proust, is said to reveal a person’s true nature through a series of probing, soul-searching questions. In the hot seat today: Dana Middleton, author of THE INFINITY YEAR OF AVALON JAMES and OPEN IF YOU DARE (Feiwel & Friends, 2016 and 2017).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Chocolate. A good book. And a nice cup of tea.
What is your greatest fear? That time is passing too fast and I won’t get it all in.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Comparing myself to others. It’s so dumb and always ends badly.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? People being unkind, especially to people like waiters. How someone treats a waiter is a window into who they really are.
Which living person do you most admire? Right now, I’m really appreciating Michelle Obama. Grace under fire, that woman.
What is your greatest extravagance? Days to myself. And when I can string several writing days together, it’s heaven.
What is your current state of mind? Pretty darn good.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Constant productivity. I believe in the balance of laziness.
On what occasion do you lie? When I don’t feel safe to tell the truth. But because I’d rather not lie, I try to surround myself with people with whom I can speak my truth. And then sometimes, I’m just going to speak it anyway.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Like. Kind of. Caboose. Oh, and all the bad ones.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? Painting. Singing. Crystal ball reading.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? To have come to peace with myself and my life in ways I couldn’t when I was younger. I’m pretty stoked that I’m a published writer, too.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Something that flies and is unlikely to be eaten by other flying things. Bald Eagle. Condor. Phoenix.
What is your most treasured possession? My wedding ring.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Hopelessness.
What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty. Laughter. The ability to savor a good vodka gimlet.
Who are your favorite writers? Kate DiCamillo. Charlotte Bronte. J.K. Rowling.
Who is your hero of fiction? Too many heroes. Too little time.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Julia Child. I’m not tall and I’m not a good cook, but like her, I am a tenacious late bloomer.
What is your motto? “Keep going.”
DANA MIDDLETON grew up in Georgia and lives Los Angeles where she writes children’s books and animated television. She was a producer of an Academy Award-nominated short film, and was a recipient of a Los Angeles Theatre Ovation Award. Her books include The Infinity Year of Avalon James and Open If You Dare (Feiwel & Friends, 2016 and 2017). Learn more about Dana on her website and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.