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: Sherri Winston, MG author of JADA SLY, ARTIST AND SPY (2019); THE SWEETEST SOUND (2017); PRESIDENT OF THE WHOLE FIFTH GRADE (2010), PRESIDENT OF THE WHOLE SIXTH GRADE (2016), PRESIDENT OF THE WHOLE SIXTH GRADE: Girl Code (2019), and GREAT ESCAPES: Journey to Freedom, 1838 (2020).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? A great book. Dog at my feet. Cat on my lap. Knowledge that my daughters are well and my family is thriving.
What is your greatest fear? Wasting the gifts God gave me.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Comparing myself to others.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Duplicity. Disingenuousness.
Which living person do you most admire? Michelle Obama. She is strong, loving, brilliant and generous—what’s not to love?
What is your greatest extravagance? Eating out/ordering in.
What is your current state of mind? Trepidation. Recent events have left me unsettled and anxious, reminding me of the fear I carry every day over the safety of my nephews, brothers, and other black men I love. It’s heartbreaking.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? People who say, “I’m colorblind.” Get some glasses.
On what occasion do you lie? To spare someone’s feelings.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Just. It’s a qualifier I use just too much.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? To sing beautifully.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Motherhood. It made me magical.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A concert violinist.
What is your most treasured possession? My iPad Pro.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Realizing you could have acted, created change, or positively influenced someone but failed to do so.
What do you most value in your friends? Their love and support.
Who are your favorite writers? John Davenport, Allen Eskens, Michael Connelly, Grace Lin, Kelly Barnhill, Sharon Flake, plus so many others.
Who is your hero of fiction? Holden Canfield, from Catcher And the Rye. Holden was the first character who seemed to speak directly to me. It was where I first understood the power of conversational dialogue in prose.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Ida B. Wells.
What is your motto? I think we should make our own motto each day. Celebrate. Life’s too short for anything less.
SHERRI WINSTON is a lover of cakes, sarcasm, and wish fulfillment. She grew up in Michigan before spending several years as an award-winning newspaper columnist and journalist in sunny South Florida. Her books have been featured on multiple states’ recommended reading lists. She continues to be amazed that people call her “author” and buy her books. Learn more about Sherri on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.