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: Paula Chase, author of the MG titles SO DONE (Greenwillow, 2018), DOUGH BOYS (2019), and TURNING POINT (out 9/15/2020).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Me sitting with a book uninterrupted for hours. Maybe there’s wine. There’s definitely pizza.
What is your greatest fear? Sudden death.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I’m a fixer. It’s a sickness.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Their inability to problem solve as fast as me. Catch up, people.
Which living person do you most admire? My mom.
What is your greatest extravagance? I never mind dropping money on a good dining experience. Like randomly, not even a special occasion.
What is your current state of mind? Frantic. I have three major life changes going on at once. I’m barely holding on.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Kindness. Hear me out. I feel like it’s been weaponized to keep certain people in their “places.”
On what occasion do you lie? To spare someone’s feelings when the truth would only serve to be harmful.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? It’s just my opinion, but…
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? Dancing. I am most definitely a frustrated ballet dancer.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Juggling two careers but still managing to instill the importance of a daily family meal. My kids cherish family meal time. I never realized it was a big deal until recently.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Dogs seem to live a good life. I’d like to try sleeping all day and having my ears scratched.
What is your most treasured possession? My grandmother left me her aprons. They’re the half apron/skirt type and I LOVE them. It’s always a party when I break out the aprons for cooking.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Being racist. It’s got to be miserable to hate that vehemently because of someone’s skin color.
What do you most value in your friends? They know I have some annoying quirks but love me anyway.
Who are your favorite writers? I have a lot of writer friends and I admire their writing. Hard to pick a few favorites to name. But I love amplifying voices that are marginalized, so this is a great spot to plug Black kid lit writers. You can find a lot of them on The Brown Bookshelf.
What is your motto? “The only constant in life is change.”
PAULA CHASE has been wielding inclusion like a light saber against inequality in literature for more than 12 years. Co-founder of the award-winning blog, The Brown Bookshelf, Chase is a longtime Inclusion Jedi and advocate for diversifying the type of fiction featuring Black characters that’s highlighted among educators, librarians and parents. She’s presented and blogged about the need to expand the focus beyond children’s literature that centers the pain of the Black experience.
Chase is the author of eight children’s books. So Done (Greenwillow/HarperCollins), her critically acclaimed middle grade debut, was named a 2018 Kirkus Reviews Best Book and is a 2020-21 Louisiana Young Readers Choice nominee. So Done and its companion, Dough Boys, is blazing the trail for books that tackle tough and sometimes taboo topics for younger readers. Chase’s five Del Rio Bay Clique novels, helped Kensington Books launch its YA imprint in 2007. Chase holds a B.S. in Communication from James Madison University. She resides in Maryland with her husband. Together, they’ve raised two daughters. More about her writing can be found at www.paulachasebooks.com.