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: Meg Cannistra, author of the MG magic-realism debut, THE TROUBLE WITH SHOOTING STARS (S&S, 2019).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? A drizzly fall morning with my cats curled up next to me.
What is your greatest fear? Settling. Getting too comfortable.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I’m a neverending worrier. I start many sentences: “I’m just worried that…”
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Anger and entitlement that harm others.
Which living person do you most admire? It’s corny, but I think my dad. Growing up he was always working and often away on business trips. He moved us from Chicago to Florida when I was little, so it wasn’t always easy seeing our family. I resented him for these things until I got older and understood that he worked so hard to take care of my mom, sisters, and me. To me, that’s admirable.
What is your greatest extravagance? Makeup and skincare. I love a good moisturizer.
What is your current state of mind? Excited. I’m going on my bachelorette trip to New Orleans. I’ve never been and can’t wait.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Politeness. It’s important to be respectful and kind toward others, but never at the expense of your boundaries.
On what occasion do you lie? If the server gets my order wrong at a restaurant I usually say everything’s fine and pretend like it’s what I ordered. I don’t want to put anyone out and I’m not a picky eater, nor do I have any allergies.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? When I’m writing I overuse words like “well” “smile” and “nod.” It gets out of control in early drafts!
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I’d love to learn magic tricks and perform magic. That would be a lot of fun.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Publishing a book!
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I’m hoping the well-loved and pampered cat of a rich, older woman.
What is your most treasured possession? My engagement ring. My fiancé used the diamond from my mom’s engagement ring and set it in this beautiful custom setting. It’s so precious to me.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Living for other people’s dreams.
What do you most value in your friends? Their warmth and humor.
Who are your favorite writers? This list could be super long, but I’ll keep it short. I love Libba Bray, Neil Gaiman, Toni Morrison, Edith Wharton, Gabriel García Márquez.
Who is your hero of fiction? Harriet the Spy! She’s my all-time favorite character and still a huge hero of mine. <I concur, Meg. 🙂 >
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Vincent Price. He lived an eccentric life and loved working on horror movies. He made horror so much fun and was so passionate about the genre. He was also a cook and had several cookbooks with his wife, which I love!
What is your motto? “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey
MEG CANNISTRA grew up in Sarasota, Florida, where she spent her childhood chasing after older sisters and cousins and learning how to cook. After living in New York City and northern New Jersey for a few years, Meg now resides with her two cats, Gloom and Doom, in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has a BA in English literature from Flagler College and an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University. When she’s not taking pictures of her cats or wandering around grocery stores, she writes magical, mysterious, and sometimes scary stories. The Trouble with Shooting Stars is her debut novel. Learn more about Meg on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.