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: Tami Charles, author of the middle-grade novels, LIKE VANESSA (Charlesbridge) and DEFINITELY DAPHNE (Capstone).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Reading on a beach in tropical weather with my family around.
What is your greatest fear? Not checking off all the things on my bucket list. I need to learn how to be more in the moment.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I don’t like how hard I am on myself at times. I find many writers are like this. I have published books that I wish I could take off the shelves right now and revise them again and again. But I guess at some point, I have to take a step back and let it go.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? I think I’m allergic to people who make excuses. If you have a goal, you have to toss out the excuses and be unapologetic in pursuing your goal. How else did the pioneers who came before us reach their potential? They did the work! There is no race in running toward your goal. Move slow, move fast, but do MOVE! It’s the only way.
Which living person do you most admire? Too many people to name here. I have lots of people that I admire in many different careers. Since I’m an author, I’ll list one of my (many) favorite authors, Meg Medina. I admire the path that it took for her to get where she is today. She writes in many genres and does it very well. Eh hem, can you say Newbery? So, yeah, Meg is one of the greats for me!
What is your greatest extravagance? Travel is a must. I’m still thrifty about my travel spending, but I need to see the world to set my mind at ease and inspire my writing.
What is your current state of mind? Er, stressed right about now! I have a picture book due soon. I’ve been working on a YA for several months and now that I’ve switched gears to picture books, I feel like I forgot how to write them. Yikes!
On what occasion do you lie? Don’t we all? I don’t do it for sport though. If I feel a lie protects someone else’s feelings (or even my own) then I gotta do what I gotta do! Other than that, I believe honesty is the best policy.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Oh, so many!
- For what it’s worth
- But of course
- At the end of the day
- I said what I said
I really can keep this going all day!
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I love to cook. According to my husband, I’m a beast in the kitchen.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Becoming a mom.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A man. I’d love to get inside their brain, ha!
What is your most treasured possession? My son.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Losing a loved one.
What do you most value in your friends? We don’t see each other often, but when we do get together, we pick up right where we left off.
What is your motto? “The race is not given to the strength, nor to the strong, but to the one who endures until the end. Keep chugga luggin!”
A former teacher and wannabe chef, TAMI CHARLES writes books for children and young adults. Her middle-grade novel, Like Vanessa, earned Top 10 spots on the Indies Introduce and Spring Kids’ Next lists, three starred reviews, and a Junior Library Guild selection. Her recent titles include a humorous middle grade, Definitely Daphne; a picture book, Freedom Soup, and YA novel, Becoming Beatriz. When Tami isn’t writing, she can be found presenting at schools both stateside and abroad. Learn more about Tami on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.