The Proust Questionnaire, popularized by the French novelist and essayist Marcel Proust, is said to reveal a person’s true nature through a series of probing, soul-searching questions. In the hot seat today: Carrie Firestone, author of the middle-grade debut, DRESS CODED (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2020).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Wandering the streets of a new city alone, drinking iced coffee, and talking to strangers.
What is your greatest fear? Climate crisis.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Bossiness.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Passivity.
Which living person do you most admire? Climate activist Vanessa Nakate; Malala Yousafzai; Chef Jose Andres; and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (sorry, couldn’t choose one).
What is your greatest extravagance? Fancy hotels.
What is your current state of mind? Is cluttered a state of mind?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Forgiveness (I’m a Scorpio).
On what occasion do you lie? When I’m trying to catch someone else in a lie. For example, “A mom in the town Facebook group told me she saw you out past curfew. Is that true?”
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? According to my kids: pandemic and foliage.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? The ability to blow dry my own hair.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Teaching my daughters to speak out against injustice.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A hummingbird or a seahorse.
What is your most treasured possession? My high school journals.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Knowing there is no solution to a problem.
What do you most value in your friends?Willingness to stay the course despite the steady assault of time, distance, and circumstance. And a shared love of dancing to live music.
Who are your favorite writers? Truthtellers A.S. King and Elana Arnold.
Who is your hero of fiction? Mia Tang in Front Desk by Kelly Yang.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Women’s suffrage champion Inez Milholland (we suspect she’s haunting me, but that’s another story).
What is your motto? “All will be well.”
CARRIE FIRESTONE is the author of the acclaimed young-adult novels The Loose Ends List, which Kirkus Reviews called “a poignant and important story about compassion, love, and the decision to live life on your own terms” in a starred review, and The Unlikelies, which Bustle declared “the summer read that’ll remind you how much good there really is in the world.” A former New York City high school teacher, Carrie currently lives in Connecticut with her husband, their two daughters, and their pets. Dress Coded is her debut middle-grade novel. Learn more about Carrie on her website and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.