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, soul-searching questions. In the hot seat today, GAE POLISNER, author of the YA novels, In Sight of Stars; The Memory of Things; The Summer of Letting Go; The Pull of Gravity; and the forthcoming Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me (April 7, 2020). Her MG debut, Seven Clues to Home, co-authored with Nora Raleigh Baskin, is out Summer 2020.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Listening to my sons play their music and harmonize together.
What is your greatest fear? I can’t believe I’m this superstitious, but I don’t even want to write it down. Suffice it to say, I have many great fears. 🙄
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Wasting time on social media, insecurity, worrying about what might be rather than enjoying what is.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Lately . . . righteousness. And, hypocrisy. And righteous hypocrisy. They so often go hand in hand.
Which living person do you most admire? Wow. Yeesh. Only one? Okay, okay. Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
What is your greatest extravagance? Lotions and potions. I crave things that smell good and can’t resist a lush body lotion or fragrance diffuser. . . even when I have too much already. Also, pretty sweaters and fall boots. See, even when I have too many already.
What is your current state of mind? Deeply worried about our world. Also, thinking about fall apples.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Clean language.
On what occasion do you lie? To avoid hurting feelings. Or, that is a lie. 😉
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “It’s good, right?” I say it so much, my husband will say it for me, ahead of the words coming out. In novels:” just,” “I mean,” and “mesmerized.” I mean, my characters just so love to be mesmerized.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I wish I were a really excellent dancer. Not ballroom. Just dance floor. Like, really shake-my-ass-like-Shakira excellent. So far, that hasn’t happened.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Becoming not only published by some of the best, most literary houses, but having my fifth and sixth “traditionally published” novels coming out. Also, I swam a freaking 10K in the open water.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I would like to come back as a mermaid. No, really.
What is your most treasured possession? My mother’s paintings.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Seeing what this President is doing to — bringing out in — our country. . . how he debases all that is good and truthful, and is destroying any progress we had made. Having to live this reality on a daily basis. Yeah, that has been pretty miserable.
What do you most value in your friends? An ability to first presume — and see — the best in me. And the ability to make me laugh.
Who are your favorite writers? William Goldman never leaves the list. Barbara Kingsolver. Jennifer Egan.
Who is your hero of fiction? Princess Buttercup (& the rest of the gang…)
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Monica Lewinsky.
What is your motto? Courtesy of Teddy Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
GAE POLISNER is the award-winning author of In Sight of Stars, The Memory of Things, The Summer of Letting Go, The Pull of Gravity, and the forthcoming Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me and her debut middle grade, Seven Clues to Home. She lives on Long Island with her husband, two sons, and a suspiciously fictional-looking dog. When Gae isn’t writing, you can find her in the pool or the open waters off Long Island. She’s still hoping that one day her wetsuit will turn her into a superhero. Learn more about Gae on her website and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.