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: Alexandra Ott, author of the MG fantasy novel, RULES FOR THIEVES (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, Summer 2017).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Relaxing with a good book while cuddling with my dog and eating chocolate.
What is your greatest fear? Insects!
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Perfectionism.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Cruelty.
Which living person do you most admire? J.K. Rowling. She’s been one of my biggest role models ever since I fell in love with the Harry Potter books when I was nine.
What is your greatest extravagance? Books!
What is your current state of mind? Inspired and energized (because I just had caffeine).
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Honesty. It’s possible to be too honest, or to use honesty as an excuse for meanness.
On what occasion do you lie? At 3 a.m. when I say, “Just one more chapter…”
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I say “apparently” all the time. I don’t know why, but it’s a useful word (apparently).
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I wish I were better at drawing. I can barely manage stick figures!
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Being offered a book deal for Rules for Thieves.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A dog. Specifically my dog, who is very pampered and takes lots of naps.
What is your most treasured possession? My laptop.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? A loved one in pain.
What do you most value in your friends? Humor, kindness, generosity, and the ability to listen.
Who are your favorite writers? There are too many to list, but here are a few off the top of my head: J.K. Rowling, Jane Austen, Cornelia Funke, Laini Taylor, Rainbow Rowell, Leigh Bardugo, Kate DiCamillo, Shannon Hale, Madeleine L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Toni Morrison, Virginia Woolf, Flannery O’Connor, Jacqueline Woodson, Megan Whalen Turner, Tamora Pierce…
Who is your hero of fiction? Hermione Granger. I loved her so much as a child, and I only appreciate her character more every time I reread the books.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Jane Austen. I read a lot about her while doing a senior thesis paper in college, so I feel kind of connected with her.
What is your motto? I’m not sure I have one; what I find encouraging or inspiring always changes depending on what’s happening in my life. At the moment, as I’m working on a draft of Rules for Thieves Book 2, I keep returning to that Robert Frost quote: “The best way out is always through.”
ALEXANDRA OTT graduated from the University of Tulsa with a BA in English and is currently an editorial intern at Entangled Publishing. In her spare time, she plays the flute, eats a lot of chocolate, and reads just about everything. She lives in Oklahoma with her tiny canine overlord. You can find Alexandra on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Instagram.