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, Beth McMullen, author of the MG debut, MRS. SMITH’S SPY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS (S&S/Aladdin, 2017).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? The sun on my shoulders, my feet in a lake.
What is your greatest fear? Failure.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Too quick to judge.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Quitting.
Which living person do you most admire? Barack Obama. Can’t imagine what he’s had to absorb over the years.
What is your greatest extravagance? Free unstructured unplanned time.
What is your current state of mind? Holiday frazzle.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Cleanliness.
On what occasion do you lie? To avoid hurting people.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Just. Right. Then. Shrug.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I’d like to speak 10 languages.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My kids.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Oh wow – my cat?
What is your most treasured possession? My notebook.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Loneliness and self-doubt.
What do you most value in your friends? A sense of fun and adventure.
Who are your favorite writers? Curtis Sittenfeld, Elizabeth Strout, Lauren Groff, Celeste Ng, Alice Hoffman, Kent Haruf, Stephen King.
Who is your hero of fiction? Katniss or Linda Voss.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Cleopatra? But maybe that’s more wishful thinking because I don’t think I could rock the bangs.
What is your motto? “It’s probably not as bad as you think.”
BETH McMULLEN is the author of several books for adults as well as the Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls series. Power Play (S&S/Aladdin) releases on July 3, 2018. Beth lives in Northern California, with her husband, kids, cats, and birds. Find Beth on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.