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: Naomi Milliner, author of the contemporary MG novel, SUPER JAKE & THE KING OF CHAOS (Running Press Kids, May 7, 2019).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Definitely the simple things: sharing a crackling fire, a home-cooked meal, a favorite TV show, a card game, or just hanging out in the living room – any time spent living in the moment with family or friends. Also, a warm beverage, something sweet (preferably chocolate, of course), and getting lost in a great book.
What is your greatest fear? Losing loved ones.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Envy.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Dishonesty.
Which living person do you most admire? Alas, the people I most admire–my parents; Elizabeth Glaser; Elie Wiesel, to name a few–are no longer with us, and cannot be replaced. But they still inspire me.
What is your greatest extravagance? Books, of course! 🙂 Like an old T-shirt of mine says, “Too many books, too little time.” My home is happily overrun with novels – now more than ever, because of all the outstanding 2019 debuts I have read, and must have on my bookshelves so I can read them again.
What is your current state of mind? Very much depends when you ask. Over the course of one day, it typically runs the gamut from terrified to exhilarated, with overwhelmed and gratified always in-between. Most of all, though, color me grateful.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Physical beauty.
On what occasion do you lie? When I am not standing or sitting (sorry; couldn’t resist). When it is for the greater good – or to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Not sure there’s one particular word or phrase, but I definitely have a tendency to speak in hyperbole – at least 90 million times a minute. 🙂
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I would love to be a world-class baker of mouth-watering desserts. I would also love to eat said desserts without gaining an ounce.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising my exceptional sons.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Is it weird to say my own grandchild? Because I would so love to be around my kids when they are dads! Then again, hopefully I’ll be around to SEE my grandkids, and that would work, too. So I guess answer #2 would be, an Oscar-winning screenwriter, since that’s probably going to elude me this time around.
What is your most treasured possession? Videos of Jake.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Losing a child.
What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty. Also a sense of humor and compassion.
Who are your favorite writers? Old school: Shakespeare, Dickens, and Austen.
Who is your hero of fiction? Jo March. I have loved and identified with her since I can remember. I honestly don’t know if I loved her because she was a writer, or if I became a writer because I loved her.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Anne Frank.
What is your motto? “Follow your dreams.” In fact, I made a cross-stitch that reads: “Dreams have no expiration date.” I like to think I am proof of that. Also: Carpe diem.
NAOMI MILLINER has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s in Screenwriting from USC Film School. As a long-time member of SCBWI, she created the Authors Book Club (ABC) for published authors and illustrators to share their journey with other members. She has also served on the Women’s National Book Association’s Great Group Reads Committee since 2009. She lives in Maryland with her husband and sons. Learn more about Naomi via her blog and Goodreads, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.