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: Chrystal D. Giles, author of the MG debut, TAKE BACK THE BLOCK (Random House, January 26, 2021).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? A casual evening with my husband where we eat amazing food and engage in deep conversation.
What is your greatest fear? Loss of a family member or loss of my presence of mind.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I give too much of myself to others. They almost never deserve it, and yet I continue to give.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Inaction, it almost always come with excuses. There will never be a good enough excuse not to grow.
Which living person do you most admire? Michelle Obama and Ava DuVernay.
What is your greatest extravagance? Dining out! I love great food and the experience of dining out. I’ll spend $300 on a dinner for two for that ‘just right’ experience.
What is your current state of mind? Growth. I’m on the precipice of something scary and amazing—right at the painful stage of being stretched for the next level of my life.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Kindness. I prefer realness over kindness.
On what occasion do you lie? I don’t lie. I pride myself on being honest. I truly don’t remember the last time I was untruthful.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Research. I use that word so often. It’s weird. I love to seek out information. I definitely have an obsession with digging for data.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? Being a pianist. I’d love to bring people to tears through music.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? I haven’t achieved it yet.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I wouldn’t want to. I believe I’m living the one life meant for me.
What is your most treasured possession? Peace.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Complacency.
What do you most value in your friends? Honesty and loyalty.
Who are your favorite writers? Rita Williams-Garcia, Jason Reynolds, and Jacqueline Woodson.
Who is your hero of fiction? Nyasha, from Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Ella Jo Baker.
What is your motto? “Don’t give yourself an option to fail.”
CHRYSTAL D. GILES is a champion for diversity and representation in children’s literature. She is making her middle-grade debut with Take Back the Block, a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection and Kids’ IndieNext Pick. Chrystal was a 2018 We Need Diverse Books mentee, and her poem “Dimples” appears in the poetry anthology Thanku: Poems of Gratitude (Millbrook). Chrystal lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and son. Learn more about Chrystal on her website and follow her on Twitter, Goodreads, and Instagram.