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: Kim Ventrella, author of the MG fantasy, SKELETON TREE (Scholastic, September 26).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Spooning my dog first thing in the morning. Or peeking at her expression when she’s furiously licking my face. Or watching her eat peanut butter…They’re mostly dog-related. Also, sitting outside my cabin in the woods, writing and sipping hot coffee while my dog races through the snow. I don’t actually have a cabin, but that’s my imaginary happy place.
What is your greatest fear? Wasting time, even though I do it constantly.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I can only choose one? I’m very socially awkward. I have to know someone super well before I can actually relax and be myself around them. Hence, my best friend is a dog, ha! But seriously, dogs are just super awesome.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Cruelty.
Which living person do you most admire? J.K. Rowling.
What is your greatest extravagance? Buying stuff for my dog.
What is your current state of mind? Delightfully frazzled.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Fake smiles.
On what occasion do you lie? When I’m telling stories, jokes, or just trying to make someone feel better.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Fancy, Awesome, It’s a free country, It’s true.
ME: I just got my awesome dog a fancy stuffed hotdog, it’s true!
MEAN PERSON: Why would you buy a people toy for your dog? Waste of money.
ME: Whatever, dude, it’s a free country (-ish).
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? Communicating with my dog, being able to drive an RV without freaking out, drawing stuff, and speaking other languages in front of actual people without having a panic attack.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Helping my dog feel comfortable and enjoy life (she’s what they call a ‘seriously damaged’ dog), and selling a book.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A quirky, benevolent ghost. Oh, and I’d want to live at Hogwarts, please!
What is your most treasured possession? I really like having a cozy spot to curl up with my dog and read a book.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Suffering. Is that too broad? Really just any kind of suffering.
What do you most value in your friends? Kindness.
Who are your favorite writers? J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, and Roald Dahl.
Who is your hero of fiction? Severus Snape.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Edward Gorey. 🙂
What is your motto? Be nice to animals (and people, ha!). Try to foster a sense of wonder and whimsy. When you meet people, think, “How can I do something kind for this person?” Even if you don’t do it, it still improves your state of mind.
When she’s not writing, you might find KIM VENTRELLA working as a children’s librarian, hanging out with the best dog in the multiverse, or dreaming of snow. Find Kim on her website, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, and Twitter.