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: Jody J. Little, author of the MG contemporary novels, MOSTLY THE HONEST TRUTH (2019), and WORSE THAN WEIRD (2020, HarperCollins).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? A summer day, sitting in the shade, surrounded by a flower garden, and reading a book.
What is your greatest fear? Losing someone I love. My greatest irrational fear is that my car will spontaneously explode—I know, it’s crazy, and it always makes my husband and children laugh.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Procrastination.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? I would say a lack of follow-through. If someone says he/she will do something, I expect it to be done, or be given a solid reason why it was not.
Which living person do you most admire? Michelle Obama. I admire her fierce determination to protect and support her daughters, as well as many others in need.
What is your greatest extravagance? Books. Since becoming a published author, I’ve been buying books like crazy! It makes me very happy and content, but I need more book shelf space now.
What is your current state of mind? Concern. Concern over whether I will be returning to my students this year. Concern over the impact of the coronavirus on people’s lives.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Industriousness. There’s much to be learned when we daydream, meditate, contemplate, and relish the wonder that surrounds us.
On what occasion do you lie? I lie about all kinds of activities that I’m doing during the holidays that involve gifts or activities for others. I guess it’s not exactly lying. It’s more just withholding the truth.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Probably ‘amazing’ or ‘wonderful’ or ‘great.’
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I would love to be able to speak another language fluently.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising my two strong, independent, and intelligent children.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I would want to come back as a person, but I would want to be in a different country to experience a new culture and lifestyle.
What is your most treasured possession? My wedding ring, which I have now worn for 29 years.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? This current pandemic is a pretty low depth of misery. It’s hard to look at the paper every day and see death tolls rise, virus cases increasing, and the bickering of politicians over how this needs to be handled.
What do you most value in your friends? Their sense of humor and their generosity.
Who are your favorite writers? Kate DiCamillo, Pam Munoz Ryan, Gary Schmidt, Mildred Taylor, Barbara Kingsolver, Katherine Applegate, Amy Tan…so many more.
Who is your hero of fiction? I can only pick one? Hmmm…well, I adore Opal from BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE (a book I consider to be a quintessential middle-grade novel). I love Opal’s simplicity, her kindness, and her bravery.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? May I say my grandmother? She was a woman who cherished and raised her family, yet never let go of her dream to be a teacher. She returned to college in her late forties to get her degree. This is, in many ways, what I’ve done with my dream to be an author. It was put on the back burner for many years, but I never forgot it.
What is your motto? “You got this.”
JODY J. LITTLE is a third-grade teacher who loves sharing her joy of books and reading with her students. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her family and an immortal pet rabbit. Her debut middle-grade novel, Mostly the Honest Truth, was an Indies Introduce and Indies Next Selection, and a 2020 Oregon Book Award Finalist. Her second novel, Worse Than Weird, a story set in Portland, was released on March 10, 2020. Learn more about Jody on her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.