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: Janae Marks, author of the contemporary MG debut, FROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON (Katherine Tegen Books, 1/14/20).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? A beach vacation with my family.
What is your greatest fear? That something bad will happen to my husband or daughter.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I can be hard on myself, and I worry about unnecessary things.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? A lack of kindness and empathy.
Which living person do you most admire? My mom.
What is your greatest extravagance? Dinner with my husband at a fancy restaurant with a tasting menu.
What is your current state of mind? My debut novel comes out next month, so anticipation!
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Busyness.
On what occasion do you lie? I don’t like to lie, but when I’m desperate I’ll make up reasons why my daughter can’t have something.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Um.” “Just.” I’m sorry.” “Definitely.”
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I’d love to be able to speak multiple languages.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My first book deal, since it came after years and years of hard work.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A dog in a loving home.
What is your most treasured possession? My family photos and wedding ring.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? The loss of a loved one.
What do you most value in your friends? They are good listeners and care about what I have to say.
Who are your favorite writers? I always find this question hard, but these are some of my favorite middle-grade authors: Rebecca Stead, Sharon Draper, Tara Dairman and Varian Johnson.
Who is your hero of fiction? Hermione Granger.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Maya Angelou and her love of words.
What is your motto? “Choose Joy.”
JANAE MARKS has an MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Writing for Children from The New School. She grew up in the suburbs of New York City, and now lives in Connecticut with her husband and daughter. From the Desk of Zoe Washington is her debut novel. Learn more about Janae on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.