The Proust Questionnaire — originally 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. To test this theory, I gathered my favorite MG and YA authors and put them to the Proust-y test. First up: Breeana Shields, author of the forthcoming YA fantasy, POISON’S KISS (Random House, January 10, 2017)
1.What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being snuggled up at home on a winter day with my family and a big stack of novels. Snow falling softly outside. A crackling fire inside. A selection of good board games to play during reading breaks. Oh, and there should be cookies.
2.What is your greatest fear? Snakes. Don’t laugh when you see the cover of my book. Fear is great fodder for inspiration.
3.What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Impatience.
4.What is the trait you most deplore in others? Meanness. People who are nasty just for fun are the worst.
5.Which living person do you most admire? Santa Claus. He’s kind, he gets to travel, he only works one day a year, and the guy can meet a deadline like nobody’s business. Oh, and cookies.
6.What is your greatest extravagance? Books. I never get manicures or pedicures. I don’t spend tons of money on clothes. But I buy A LOT of books.
7.What is your current state of mind? Tired. So tired.
8.What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Brutal honesty. Just because something is true, doesn’t mean you need to say it.
9. On what occasion do you lie? At midnight when I tell myself, “Just one more chapter.”
10. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Like a banshee.” The expression is supposed to be “screaming like a banshee,” but in my world banshees do everything to excess. I’ve been known to say: “cleaning like a banshee; eating like a banshee; shopping like a banshee.” My kids are going to be so confused.
11. Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I wish I had a beautiful singing voice, but I don’t — not even even an okay one. Alone in the car, though, I pretend I do.
12. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising three kids who are growing up to be decent, kind people.
13. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Kate Middleton, strictly for her fashion sense. Being a princess would be a real pain in the neck, though… so maybe not.
14. What is your most treasured possession? My home video collection. I love watching videos of my siblings, my parents, and my kids from years ago. It takes me right back to the people they were in that moment. It’s like time travel.
15.What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? When my kids are hurting, physically or emotionally, and I can’t fix it.
16. What do you most value in your friends? Listening without judgement, and making me laugh.
17. Who are your favorite writers? Ahhh, so many. I love J.K. Rowling (of course), but also Maggie Stiefvater, Mary E. Pearson, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, and Robin LaFevers.
18.Who is your hero of fiction? Anne Shirley. I wasn’t nearly as plucky when I was younger, but I adore her just the same.
19.Which historical figure do you most identify with? Amelia Earhart. She was groundbreaking, brave, and her disappearance shrouded her in mystery. I still half-expect to find out that she got sucked into some alternate dimension and had grand adventures.
20.What is your motto? “This too shall pass.” It works in bad times, and in good times too. It reminds me to savor every moment because, inevitably, those times aren’t permanent either.
BREEANA SHIELDS, a graduate of Brigham Young University with a degree in English Literature, loves reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband, three children and an extremely spoiled miniature poodle. She lives in the Pacific Northwest where it drizzles, rains or pours nine months of the year. Luckily, it transforms into paradise during the other three, so she’s willing to make the tradeoff. Find Breeana on her Website, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.