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: Dusti Bowling, author of the MG contemporary, INSIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF A CACTUS (Sterling Children’s Books, September 5).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? My husband, a margarita, a beautiful beach, a great book, and a fleet of servants taking care of my three munchkins.
What is your greatest fear? Failure–failure at being a good person, a good mother, a good writer. Also centipedes. And being tricked into eating Cool Whip.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Stubbornness. It definitely causes me the most problems.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? It’s a tie: meanness and dishonesty. Runner-up is the tendency to wear muscle shirts.
Which living person do you most admire? Jesus (it counts!)
What is your greatest extravagance? A pedicure.
What is your current state of mind? Hopeful! And frazzled. Always frazzled.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Monetary wealth. Can that be considered a virtue? It’s definitely overrated, if it is.
On what occasion do you lie? When I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, like when a server asks me if I like my meal.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? In writing–EVERYTHING. Smile, frown, laugh, sigh, actually, like, just, shrug, or something. I overuse all the really basic, mundane words; so badly that when I’m done with a manuscript, I go through it and change or eliminate a lot of them.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? Playing an instrument well enough to be in a world class symphony that travels around the world… symphonying.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My children.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Probably something really boring like a thesaurus. But if I could choose, I’d come back as Elizabeth Bennet. If that’s an option.
What is your most treasured possession? My saved manuscripts. If those were lost, I may never recover.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Being without God. Also centipedes in my bed. And childbirth.
What do you most value in your friends? Kindness. I appreciate someone who truly cares about you, and wants the best for you. If they like to sit in a pool and drink margaritas, that’s a bonus.
Who are your favorite writers? Sherman Alexie, Stephen King, Liane Moriarty, Lynn Austin, Francine Rivers.
Who is your hero of fiction? Hadassah from Mark of the Lion.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? I don’t know that I really identify with any historical figure, but I wish I could be more like Gladys Aylward.
What is your motto? Do your best! (That’s so cheesy, isn’t it?)
DUSTI BOWLING grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, where, as her family will tell you, she always had her nose in a book. But it wasn’t until after starting down a couple of different career paths that Dusti realized her true passion was writing. She currently lives in Carefree, Arizona with her husband, three daughters, one bobcat, a pack of coyotes, a couple of chuckwallas, several rattlesnakes, and a few herds of javelina. Find Dusti on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.