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 (aka nosy) questions. It the hot seat today, Barbara Dee, author of the contemporary MG, HALFWAY NORMAL (S&S/Aladdin, 2017).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? The first lick of a chocolate ice cream cone.
What is your greatest fear? Rollercoasters.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Impatience.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Bigotry.
Which living person do you most admire? Barack and Michelle Obama. Lin-Manuel Miranda.
What is your greatest extravagance? Tickets to see Radiohead live in concert.
What is your current state of mind? Focused.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Tidiness.
On what occasion do you lie? To avoid hurting someone’s feelings.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Definitely. Incredibly. Amazing. Weird.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? The ability to sing.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Three kids who love and like each other.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Some days, a cat. Other days, a dog.
What is your most treasured possession? My MP3 player, an unexpected gift from my sweet husband, onto which he copied for me everything Radiohead has ever recorded, including many live concerts. Can you tell I’m obsessed with Radiohead?
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Having a seriously ill family member and limited access to healthcare.
What do you most value in your friends? Humor.
Who are your favorite writers? Can I say Shakespeare, or is that pretentious? Jane Austen, for sure. Alice Munro. Just read Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, which I thought was excellent. Love Jennifer Egan.
Who is your hero of fiction? Elizabeth Bennet.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Hard for me to identify with historical figures who are male, so I’m going to say Hillary Clinton.
What is your motto? “The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”
–Madeleine L’Engle (Not exactly a motto, but it’s something I think about all the time.)
BARBARA DEE had two middle-grade novels published in 2017: Star-Crossed (Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist; Chicago Public Library Best of the Best list; 2018 ALA Rainbow list nominee) and Halfway Normal (Junior Library Guild selection, starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal). Her ninth MG novel, Everything I Know About You, which deals with a tween’s eating disorder, will be published by S&S/Aladdin in June 2018. Barbara is one of the founders and directors of the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival. She lives with her family in Westchester County, New York. Find her on her website and Twitter.