The Proust Questionnaire — a parlor game 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: Kristi Wientge, author of the MG contemporary, KARMA KHULLAR’S MUSTACHE (Simon & Schuster/ BFYR, Summer 2017).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Making a cup of coffee while my kids are doing something they love. That way, I can enjoy my coffee before it gets cold!
What is your greatest fear? That I’m a one-book wonder.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I’m way too harsh on myself.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Entitlement.
Which living person do you most admire? Teachers. I know I’m not giving a specific person, but I used to teach and I admire teachers who take their job seriously and have a heart for kids.
What is your greatest extravagance? Aside from my laptop, a pair of shoes I purchased recently on holiday.
What is your current state of mind? Frustration.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? All I can think of when I hear the word virtue is the rhyme, “Patience is a virtue. Virtue is a grace. And Grace is a little girl who doesn’t wash her face.” Actually I value patience, but I do think I’m a little like Grace—my house has been way less clean than it used to be. So, cleanliness is definitely way overrated.
On what occasion do you lie? About the cost of the said shoes I recently purchased on holiday.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Seriously?!”
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I’ve always wanted to be a ballerina.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? When someone tells me something kind my children have done without me being around.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? If I wanted to live forever, I’d choose a cockroach because those things are indestructible! But, I kinda don’t want to munch on rubbish all day, so maybe I’d come back as a cloud. It just sounds nice and relaxing.
What is your most treasured possession? I should probably say my kids, but it’s my laptop. It’s the only thing I own that I get really, really possessive about.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? I love to be alone, but I’ve always known there are people I can rely on, so I think it’d be the worst to really be alone-alone.
What do you most value in your friends? Quality time.
Who are your favorite writers? Madeleine L’Engle, Claire Legrand, Holly Black, and Morris Gleitzman to name a few.
Who is your hero of fiction? Ramona Quimby. I always wanted to be able to get away with crazy antics and be as resilient as her.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? I can’t really think of anyone specific, but I always identify with the underdog.
What is your motto? “I can do nothing on my own.”
Originally from Ohio, KRISTI WIENTGE grew up writing stories about animals and a jet-setting mouse. After studying to become a teacher for children with special needs, she spent several years exploring the world, from China to England. Kristi now lives with her family in Singapore, where her adventures revolve around her four children and within the pages of the middle-grade books she writes. Find Kristi on her website, Twitter and Goodreads.