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: Jen Petro-Roy, author of GOOD ENOUGH and YOU ARE ENOUGH! (Macmillan/Feiwell & Friends, 2019).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? A summer day, poolside, with my children splashing happily and a book in my hand.
What is your greatest fear? Something awful happening to people that I love.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? My tendency to worry too much about what other people think of me.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Ignorance, especially about political and social issues that involve equality and justice.
Which living person do you most admire? Michelle Obama comes to mind right away. Malala. Lin-Manuel Miranda.
What is your greatest extravagance? Is it too cliché to say books? I’m definitely a big library user, but especially now that I know so many fellow authors, I love to support them by buying their works.
What is your current state of mind? I’d say I’m stressed. (Gotta get the writing, and the food shopping, and the child entertaining done!)
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Busyness. It feels like so many people glorify always having something to do, every minute of the day, and I’ve been trying to let myself just sit and relax more. It’s harder than I expected!
On what occasion do you lie? If the information isn’t essential and would hurt the other person more than it would help. Either that, or telling my kids the toy store is closed.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? When I’m revising, I have to do a search for “just” and “really” every time.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I’d love to be able to draw. I’m pretty good at copying things freehand, but I so admire illustrators who can create entire characters and scenes and make their pictures come alive.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Can I say two? One would be raising two girls who are kind, caring human beings, and two would be recovering from an eating disorder.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Over the years, I’ve come to like myself a lot! So I think I’d come back as me. Maybe me with the ability to transform into a mermaid, though. That would be fun.
What is your most treasured possession? My engagement ring, along with some well-loved copies of childhood favorite books.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Losing a loved one.
What do you most value in your friends? Kindness and empathy. My best friends are amazing listeners, open books, and amazing supports to me.
Who are your favorite writers? Oof. I really have to narrow this down, huh? Let’s go with…Rebecca Stead, J.K. Rowling, Meg Cabot, Katherine Applegate, L.M. Montgomery, and Libba Bray.
Who is your hero of fiction? Lyra Belacqua, from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. I adore her mix of bravery, fear, innocence, spunk, and honesty.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Oh, this is a tricky one. Princess Diana, maybe.
What is your motto? “I am enough.” This is definitely reflected in the titles of my newest books, GOOD ENOUGH and YOU ARE ENOUGH!
JEN PETRO-ROY is a former teacher and children’s librarian, an obsessive reader, and a trivia fanatic. She lives with her husband and two young daughters in Massachusetts. She is the author of P.S. I Miss You, Good Enough, and You Are Enough: Your Guide to Body Image and Eating Disorder Recovery. Jen is an eating disorder survivor and an advocate for recovery. Learn more about Jen on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.