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 Jessika Fleck, author of the YA fantasy, THE CASTAWAYS (Entangled Teen, April 3).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Sitting curled up in a cushy chair, sleeping cat in my lap, a good cup of coffee in hand, fire crackling next to me, and snow falling outside the window.
What is your greatest fear? Airplane crashes (it’s a recurring nightmare of mine), followed by ghosts (another recurring dream of mine). I’ve never had the two combine in a nightmare, but… Nope, can’t even think about it.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? If this were a few years ago, I’d probably have said my introvertedness, but I’ve come to appreciate that in myself. Currently? I’d say self-doubt.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Rudeness.
Which living person do you most admire? Michelle Obama, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Malala Yousafzai, and Betty White… All so very different, all badasses in their own right.
What is your greatest extravagance? Good coffee and great boots. Oh, and nice pens!
What is your current state of mind? Excitedly stressed.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Obedience. The mere word makes my spine cringe.
On what occasion do you lie? I suppose in the case I believed the truth (should it surface) wouldn’t hurt anyone, and if the lie might preserve something good.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Like. Oh, my God. Whaaaat? Shut up! (sarcastically). Right? And: You’ve got to be kidding me! (Yes, I’m still living in the film Valley Girl circa 1983).
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? Musical talent. I can carry a tune okayish. And I could probably learn to play an instrument, but I’m quite confident I could never be coordinated enough to put the two together.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? After snagging my high school sweetheart and having two beautiful daughters, working until I spun my blood, sweat, and tears into a book deal.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be Definitely a narwhal. I figure it’s the closest I’d ever get to being a real unicorn!
What is your most treasured possession? I have a charm bracelet made from my mother’s wedding ring, an opal pendant that was her mother’s, and my other grandmother’s wedding band. It’s sort of a map of my personal matriarchy.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Being absent any passions in life.
What do you most value in your friends? Honesty. Loyalty. And laughter. I have several friends I only see every few years, I love and cherish that we can always pick up as if no time has passed.
Who are your favorite writers? Sylvia Plath, Markus Zusak (his words in The Book Thief! *Le sigh.*), Patrick Ness, J.K. Rowling, and Charlotte Brontë. To name a few.
Who is your hero of fiction? Celie from The Color Purple.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? I’m not sure about “identify with”, but Frida Kahlo has always given me all sorts of inspiration and goosebumps. Talk about being authentic and owning it.
What is your motto? “If at first you don’t succeed… Coffee.”
A writer, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter, JESSICA FLECK sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do all three at once. Until then, she continues to collect vintage typewriters and hourglasses, dreaming of an Ireland getaway, and convincing her husband they NEED more kittens. Her next YA fantasy, THE OFFERING (Swoon Reads/ Macmillan), releases in the fall of 2018. Jessika is represented by Victoria Marini of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency. Find Jessika on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Instagram.