The Proust Questionnaire, popularized by the French novelist and essayist Marcel Proust, is said to reveal a person’s true nature through a series of probing, soul-searching questions. In the hot seat today: Karen Strong, author of the MG debut, JUST SOUTH OF HOME (2019), and contributor to the anthologies, A PHOENIX FIRST MUST BURN and FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (11.10.20).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? That first sip of coffee in the morning.
What is your greatest fear? Losing a dear loved one to COVID-19.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Procrastination! I’m trying to get better at this but it seems I work very well under pressure.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Racism. It’s a baseless construct and has caused much harm in the world.
What is your greatest extravagance? I love luxurious lipstick. I have many shades of red that can fit my mood from happiness to rage.
What is your current state of mind? Scattered. I’m editing a novel while working in the tech world. It’s a tug of war between the left and right hemispheres in my brain right now.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Kindness. I think right now we’re seeing that asking for things nicely doesn’t necessarily bring about change.
On what occasion do you lie? Although it’s tempting to tell small lies to keep harmony, bigger lies always come back to haunt you in the end.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I would love to be able to draw. Especially beach landscapes.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? I always like to think that my greatest achievement still in my future!
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I would definitely want to come back as one of Oprah’s spoiled pets. The life I would lead!
What is your most treasured possession? My diary from when I was five years old. I still have the key to the lock and everything.
What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty. There’s nothing worse than betrayal from someone close to you.
Who are your favorite writers? Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, and Octavia E. Butler to name a few.
Who is your hero of fiction? Janie Starks from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
What is your motto? “Step by step.” Anything can be achieved by taking it one step at a time.
KAREN STRONG is the author of the critically acclaimed middle-grade novel Just South of Home, which was selected for several Best of Year lists including Kirkus Reviews Best Books, CCBC Choices, and Bank Street Best Books. Her short fiction appears in From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back and A Phoenix First Must Burn. Born and raised in the rural South, she is a graduate of the University of Georgia and an advocate of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). An avid lover of strong coffee, yellow flowers, and night skies, Karen lives in Atlanta. Learn more about her on her website and follow her on Twitter.