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, Adrianna Cuevas, author of the MG debut, THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF NESTOR LOPEZ (FSG/Macmillan, May 12, 2020).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? All the Cuban coffee and guava pastelitos I could want.
What is your greatest fear? There’s a lot to be afraid of in the world today, but my greatest fear is losing hope that we can change things for the better.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I hold grudges. I’m still mad about the lunch detention my seventh grade art teacher gave me for chewing gum.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Willful ignorance.
Which living person do you most admire? My sister.
What is your greatest extravagance? Summer trips with my family.
What is your current state of mind? Pondering how nutritionally damaging the school cafeteria corn dog is that my son purchases every day.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Busy-ness. Running around trying to do all the things doesn’t mean you’re doing the right things. And rest is something to be valued.
On what occasion do you lie? “Sorry, there are no more cookies left.”
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Bro. This keeps me connected to my Miami roots. And a healthy smattering of Spanish curse words.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I admire extroverts who have no trouble functioning in social situations. I can’t even imagine having an interaction with someone that I didn’t anxiously dissect over and over in my head after the fact.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? The ability to make coffee each morning before I’ve actually had coffee. That and getting a 12-year-old out the door for school.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A rainbow shrimp. Oh, to be so deceptively frightening.
What is your most treasured possession? I have an earring box that belonged to my abuela. On the fabric lining, she wrote in Spanish, “I brought this from Cuba, 1963.” I’m connected to her every time I see it.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Hopelessness.
What do you most value in your friends? A sense of humor.
Who are your favorite writers? Buckle up! I could shout about so many amazing authors writing today, but a few whose books I love are Anna Meriano, Celia Perez, Carlos Hernandez, Pablo Cartaya, Angela Cervantes, Monica Brown, Diana Lopez, and David Bowles.
Who is your hero of fiction? Sal Vidon from Sal and Gabi Break the Universe. Any kid that puts a raw chicken breast in a bully’s locker is okay by me.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Jael, an Old Testament woman who drove a tent peg through a man’s temple while he was sleeping.
What is your motto? “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.” I regret teaching this to my son…
ADRIANNA CUEVAS is a first-generation Cuban American originally from Miami, Florida. After teaching Spanish and ESOL for sixteen years, she decided to pursue her passion for storytelling. Adrianna currently resides outside of Austin, Texas, with her husband and son, where they enjoy traveling and cooking lots of Cuban food. Learn more about Adrianna on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.