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, Carter Higgins, author of the MG contemporary debut, A RAMBLER STEALS HOME (HMH Books for Young Readers).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Sleeping in. The West Wing on repeat. Hot black coffee. Basically, weekends.
What is your greatest fear? The dentist. And roller coasters.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Being indecisive.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Meanness.
Which living person do you most admire? My sister.
What is your greatest extravagance? Swedish Fish by the pound.
What is your current state of mind? Scattered and hopeful.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Neatness.
On what occasion do you lie? When asked if I have time for x, y, or z. I’m still learning how to say no.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Yes!” “Sure!” and “I can do that.”
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? Something musical and cool and charming.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Making this book.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A pretty fish in a simple aquarium. Easy, swimmy, relaxed.
What is your most treasured possession? My sort-of-stuffed elephant from childhood.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Having a hate-sack for a heart.
What do you most value in your friends? Empathy, kindness, and a listening ear.
Who are your favorite writers? Beverly Cleary, Rebecca Stead, Judith Viorst, Ruth Krauss, Arnold Lobel, Laurel Snyder, Kate DiCamillo.
Who is your hero of fiction? Charlotte.
What is your motto? “Look to this day, for it is life.” (That’s the first line of a Sanskrit poem that my school community recites together each morning. It has taken hold.)
CARTER HIGGINS is a librarian at an independent school in Los Angeles. She is the author of A Rambler Steals Home (HMH, February 2017) and two forthcoming picture books from Chronicle Books, This is Not a Valentine (Fall 2017 with Lucy Ruth Cummins) and Everything You Need For a Treehouse (2018 with Emily Hughes). She is an Emmy-winning visual effects and motion graphics artist. She writes about picture books and graphic design at her blog, Design of the Picture Book. You can find Carter on Twitter and Instagram.