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: K.L. Hallam, author of the YA contemporary novella, THE UNMOVING SKY (Leap Books).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? A run along the pier with my dog and then we play ball. After that, we sit and meditate riverside for at least a half hour. I always call this my perfect day. Living in the city, the pier offers the most transportive space for when I can’t leave town. I always want to be in nature.
What is your greatest fear? Dying before all the books I want to write have been written! Ha! Or planes, because the last two air flights I had were the worst. Between almost being hit by a small aircraft leaving the Bahamas, or people shouting that the plane was burning (it was a toaster), or leaking plane wing (condensation), or circling above the airport before landing for over an hour! Ugh, I just know my next flight I’ll panic and they’ll have to land because of the crazy lady—that being me!
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Self-doubt. But this is something my friends help me get over every day. 😉
What is the trait you most deplore in others? People who are not authentic.
Which living person do you most admire? My mom, an immigrant divorcee who had to raise two children on her own in the wayward state of Florida during the 1980s. She always had a smile or kindness to share with others, no matter how bad things got.
What is your greatest extravagance? Writing to my heart’s content. I have all the time I want to write, but it wasn’t always this way. I managed to finagle it by working double time at my day job.
What is your current state of mind? Coming out of limbo after a death in the family. I had to visit with my past, after fifteen years away. I am grateful even though it was a difficult trip, to remember how much love surrounds me and the incredible gift of grace.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? No vices.
On what occasion do you lie? My secret will be out if I answer this.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? In writing, “just” and “was.” In speech, I’m not so sure and just asked my hubby… but we just stared at each other.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I already sing, play guitar, paint, and sculpt with clay, so I’d love to learn to fly a plane—if I could dump this new fear of flying. Oh, and if I could figure out complex math that uncovers the secrets to the universe, that would be cool too.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Not losing my mind after raising children in a tiny NYC apartment on a shoestring budget while my husband worked every night.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I’m working hard to do a good job with this life so I won’t have to return! I’m only half kidding.
What is your most treasured possession? I treasure people. Things, not really… unless I count my first published book!
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Not being able to create.
What do you most value in your friends? Kindness, compassion, and humor are what they all have in common. Plus, the women I know are powerful creative forces. They completely inspire me.
Who are your favorite writers? Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell, Roald Dahl, Ray Bradbury, Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Emily Dickinson, Stephen King, and Ursula K. Le Guin. And I’d read anything from these contemporary children’s book authors: Jacqueline Woodson, Kristin Kittscher, Libba Bray, Natalie Lloyd, Ruta Sepetys, Kristin Cashore, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor. This list keeps growing.
Who is your hero of fiction? I just read, The Thing About Jelly Fish, which is a fantastic book for kids. I’d say the main character, because she had to face some real life problems, never easy for a seventh grader. Her feelings of being separated from what’s happening around her and managing the death of a best friend all the while encapsulated with wonder, rang true for me dealing with the death within my own family last week.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Amelia Earhart, because she could fly! And she was awesome. I guess this more of a wish fulfillment … unless I actually learned to fly a plane. One day.
What is your motto? Live and let live.
A writer of YA and MG fiction, K.L., Hallam lives in New York City with her husband and two teenagers, a lab mix, and a bad kitty. Find K.L. Hallam on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.
Kristin Gray says
I love all of your answers, K! And your mom sounds like an incredible woman. And yes! THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH … a remarkable book.
Melissa Roske says
Thanks for commenting, Kristin. And yes, Karen’s mom sounds incredible.
Julie Grasso says
Wonderful post, loved hearing more about your writer journey. Totes for surviving the tiny apartment in NY and writing to your hearts content. Love it!
Melissa Roske says
Thanks so much for your comments, Julie. Surviving in a tiny NYC apartment is no mean feat, right?
karen Hallam says
Thanks so much for this Melissa! <3 <3 Best questions. 🙂
Melissa Roske says
Such a pleasure to host you, Karen. You are the best!