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 (i.e., nosy) questions. In the hot seat today, Allison K. Hymas, author of the MG mystery, UNDER LOCKER AND KEY (S&S/Aladdin, April 18, 2017).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being able to learn and grow as a person, and spending time with my family.
What is your greatest fear? That I won’t achieve what I’m capable of. That, or heights. I’m not fond of roller coasters.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? A blindness to things I could do to help those around me.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Being self-centered. I do see how this trait and the one I hate in myself may be related.
Which living person do you most admire? My mom. She’s a smart, independent, loving woman and I look up to her.
What is your greatest extravagance? Generally, it’s books. I have too many for my shelves and I can’t justify buying them, but I do. Specifically, it’s a pair of slip-on shoes I bought over the summer.
What is your current state of mind? At peace and generally hopeful about the future. I feel capable of handling anything thrown at me.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Being passionate about things (it’s a virtue; I looked it up). I think it’s good to be passionate to a degree, but I also think this can be taken out of proportion easily to the point that a passion can overshadow treating other people well. I also think being passionate can sometimes be taken substitution for having a personality (especially in fiction).
On what occasion do you lie? Does writing fiction count? I usually lie to make someone laugh (big, outrageous lies). Other occasions include keeping people from knowing about gifts they’re getting, or surprise parties. I’m good at those kinds of lies, but pretty bad at other kinds of lies.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I go through phases. Lately the word “bonkers” has been one of my favorites, but I’ve been told I use the word “snarky” too much.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? Lockpicking. I have a lockpick set and I know how to do it in theory, but I haven’t managed to pick a lock in real life. I think it could be handy if I forget my key.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Publishing my first book!
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I’d like to come back as a robot. That could be a lot of fun, especially if the sci-fi writers are right and robots take over the world.
What is your most treasured possession? I have several journals; one I kept while on study abroad in England, one is my records of other traveling I’ve done, and one is full of religious, spiritual thoughts and experiences I’ve had. I’d hate to lose any of those, since they can’t be replaced.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Feeling stuck, like my life isn’t going anywhere and nothing I can do will change that. Feeling powerless.
What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty and reliability. I like friends who act like friends, even when things are hard.
Who are your favorite writers? I have a lot. Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ally Carter, Eoin Colfer…how about I stop there?
Who is your hero of fiction? That’s like trying to pick a favorite book! I’m going to say Atticus Finch. I’m drawn to really good, noble characters. I’m also going to say Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing because I’m also drawn to smart, sassy people who can banter forever.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? I have two, but they got together: Lewis and Clark. I identify with them because I love nature and traveling and discovery, and I like going further and seeing more. I like expanding boundaries, and I admire the exploration they did.
What is your motto? “Be somebody awesome.”
As a middle schooler, ALLISON K. HYMAS was a law-abiding citizen (except for the occasional offense of reading under her desk when she should have been listening). She now holds an MFA from Brigham Young University and currently lives in Utah. Find Allison on her website and blog, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.