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: LINDA WILLIAMS JACKSON, MG author of MIDNIGHT WITHOUT A MOON (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2017) and A SKY FULL OF STARS (2018).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Hanging out in my kitchen with my family, laughing really, really hard over any and every little thing.
What is your greatest fear? Oh, boy. I don’t like to give voice to my fears. Hmmm, I guess my greatest fear is that if I give voice to my fears then they will manifest themselves. So, I’ll do a little reverse psychology on the universe and say, “I don’t fear ANYTHING.”
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I’m judgmental at times. As horrible as it sounds, it’s the truth. I try so hard not to judge others, but I do—sometimes before I even get to know them. And that’s a deplorable thing.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Just being flat out mean-spirited, spiteful, and hateful. Why does anyone need to be that way?
Which living person do you most admire? Oprah! My daughter always says to me, “Mom, can you just quit talking about Oprah all the time?” And my answer is, “No.” What’s not to admire about Oprah?
What is your greatest extravagance? Ha ha ha. I’m not one for extravagance. I owned a luxury vehicle once. ONCE. I realized I was too much of a cheapskate to pay for premium gasoline and spend extra for maintenance, like oil changes, so once I traded that car I never owned another luxury vehicle.
What is your current state of mind? Grateful.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Had to Google a list of virtues. And from that long list, I picked “Beauty.” The Proverbs tell us that charm is deceitful and beauty is vain. One thing that I’ve noticed in my 50-plus years is that truly beautiful people don’t realize they’re beautiful. Other people usually have to convince them of this. And the ones who “know” they’re beautiful? Well, check the Proverb.
On what occasion do you lie? Only when I think the truth will harm the other person more than a little twisting of the truth will, or when I need to surprise someone. I try very hard not to lie. Recently, someone wanted to surprise my husband with an award, and it was my responsibility to make sure he was in the audience to receive it. It took a lot to truth twisting to make sure he was in that audience!
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Ben!!!!!!!!” Oh, wait. Never mind. That’s my son’s name. You said words or phrases. “Very.” “But.” “LOL.”
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I wish I could dance. But I have no rhythm. I dance like Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Finishing any of my manuscripts.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I would want to be the childhood home of a famous person. Nobody ever wants to tear down the childhood homes of famous people, and they’re willing to spend a lot of money restoring them. So, I would come back, get restored, preserved, then people would have to pay to come visit me. 😊
What is your most treasured possession? My books, because those are words that came from my imagination, got printed and bound, and other people read them. How cool is that?
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? When my children are sad/depressed, and I can’t help them. When I was a sad, mopey teen, my mom used to tell me that my sadness made her sad. I didn’t understand this until I had kids of my own. A mom can only be as happy as her saddest child.
What do you most value in your friends? The thing that I most value in my friends is the fact that they don’t feel the need to hang out all the time. We’re cool with seeing each other every now and then—as grown-ups should be.
Who are your favorite writers? I reserve the right to keep this information private.
Who is your hero of fiction? Louise in Katherine Paterson’s JACOB HAVE I LOVED, and Jonas in Lois Lowry’s THE GIVER.
What is your motto? I don’t really have a motto, but I always tell my kids that I’m proud of them for being kind, generous, and respectful. So those are the three qualities that I try to live by as well: kindness, generosity, and respect for others.
Thanks for having me on your blog, Melissa! 😊
Thank YOU, Linda! 🙂
Born and raised in the small, Mississippi Delta town of Rosedale, LINDA WILLIAMS JACKSON is a wife, a mom, a community volunteer, and an award-winning author. She likes to spin stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Her middle-grade novel, Midnight Without a Moon was a 2018 American Library Association Notable Children’s Book, a Jane Addams Honor Book for Peace and Social Justice, and a Washington Post Summer Book Club Selection. Mrs. Jackson’s second book, A Sky Full of Stars, received a Malka Penn Honor for an outstanding children’s book addressing human rights issues and was cited as one of Bank Street College’s best books of the year for 2019. Mrs. Jackson lives in Mississippi with her family. Learn more about Linda on her website and follow her on Twitter.