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: Amy Rebecca Tan, author of the MG debut, A KIND OF PARADISE (HarperCollins).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Screened porch, rain, dog, book (just writing these words makes me happy).
What is your greatest fear? Something bad happening to my kids.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Impatience.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Insincerity.
Which living person do you most admire? Wellness activist and cancer survivor, Kris Carr.
What is your greatest extravagance? Not doing anything.
What is your current state of mind? Grateful.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Efficiency.
On what occasion do you lie? When the truth is unproductive or hurtful.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Can we watch it tomorrow night? I want to read.”
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? Fluency in another language.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My family.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Someone who doesn’t get motion sickness.
What is your most treasured possession? My photo albums.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Being stuck somewhere without a book.
What do you most value in your friends? Reliability.
Who are your favorite writers? Lorrie Moore, Lynda Barry, Sandra Cisneros, Grace Lin, Sharon Creech.
Who is your hero of fiction? From a book, Jane Eyre; from a movie, Mary from Party Girl (starring Parker Posey, 1995).
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Louisa May Alcott, once I learned she said: “Housekeeping ain’t no joke.”
What is your motto? “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” (George Eliot)
AMY REBECCA TAN has worked as a babysitter, a waitress, a camp counselor, a tea seller, a muffin delivery person, a barista, and a bookbinder. She currently works in a public library and an independent bookstore. She has a master’s degree in special education and has taught in the New York City school system. Amy lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and dog. Learn more about Amy on her website, and follower her on Instagram and Twitter.