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: Justin A. Reynolds, author of the YA debut, OPPOSITE OF ALWAYS (Katherine Tegen Books).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? I’d be surrounded by family and close friends, somewhere along the sea, sun shining down, a soft breeze, a good book within arm’s reach.
What is your greatest fear? Losing the people that I love, and that love me.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I tend to stretch myself thin; I have a hard time saying no, sometimes at great personal cost.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Close-mindedness. It commonly leads to hate, or at the very least, prejudice.
Which living person do you most admire? My mom. She’s an amazing human.
What is your greatest extravagance? I’m fairly thrifty, but I did purchase a new laptop last year.
What is your current state of mind? Tired. I have a lot happening at once (as we all do), but I’m also happy to be busy with things that I care deeply about.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Prudence. Sometimes, just leap.
On what occasion do you lie? When people ask me if I’m too tired to do the thing that I said I’d do, I say, N0, of course not.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I overuse “as one does,” as one does.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I love to cook, and eat, so I’d be happy to improve upon the former.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Caring for my family.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A person. Definitely, a person. But a thing could be cool, too. Yeah, a thing.
What is your most treasured possession? I treasure life most of all. And I’d put Freedom right there too.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Finally discovering the solution to solve all of the problems in my work in progress…but realizing it essentially requires writing a new book.
What do you most value in your friends? Compassion, thoughtfulness, curiosity, an open mind.
Who are your favorite writers? Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead, Zora Neale Hurston, Danzy Senna, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Patricia Highsmith, Octavia Butler, Isabel Wilkerson, MK Asante, Nicole Krauss, Paul Beatty, Sheila Heti, Ralph Ellison, to name a few.
Who is your hero of fiction? Lila Mae Watson.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Jackie Robinson.
What is your motto? “Hard work without talent is a shame, but talent without hard work is a tragedy.”
JUSTIN A. REYNOLDS was most recently a registered nurse, specializing in hematology and oncology, before trading his stethoscope for a pencil, but likes to think both instruments reveal the heart. He lives in northeast Ohio, home to snow, Lake Erie, and the Cavaliers. Find Jason on his website, Facebook, and Twitter.