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, Rajani LaRocca, author of the middle-grade debut, MIDSUMMER’S MAYHEM (Yellow Jacket/Little Bee Books).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Time with family and friends in the sunshine with great conversation, great food and drink, and lots of laughter.
What is your greatest fear? Letting people down.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Uncertainty.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Ignorance.
Which living person do you most admire? My dad, who built our life in this country from nothing and is so devoted to our whole family.
What is your greatest extravagance? Travel.
What is your current state of mind? Joyful, excited, anticipatory!
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Intelligence, because it is often defined so narrowly.
On what occasion do you lie? To protect someone else’s feelings.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Amazing, wonderful, awesome.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? Artistic talent.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising two beautiful, brilliant, thoughtful children who are going to make the world a better place.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I’d like to come back a tree and watch seasons and generations of people come and go.
What is your most treasured possession? My memories.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Loneliness of one’s own making.
What do you most value in your friends? Kindness, honesty, laughter, creativity.
Who are your favorite writers? Kate Atkinson, JK Rowling, Ellen Raskin, Madeleine L’Engle, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen.
Who is your hero of fiction? Elizabeth Bennet.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? William Carlos Williams.
What is your motto? “Love, Laughter, and Light.”
RAJANI LaROCCA was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area with her wonderful family and impossibly cute dog. After graduating from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, she spends her time writing novels and picture books, practicing medicine, and baking too many sweet treats. Her middle-grade debut, Midsummer’s Mayhem, is an Indian-American middle grade mashup of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and competitive baking. She is also the author of the picture books Seven Golden Rings (Lee & Low, 2020), I’ll Go and Come Back (Candlewick, 2022), Where Three Oceans Meet (Abrams, 2022), and other forthcoming books. Learn more about her on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Jilanne Hoffmann says
A most unusual, and welcome, interview! Love how the answers truly do give significant insight into character. I’m thinking this would be a terrific way to develop characters for books, too.
Melissa Roske says
Thanks for reading – and commenting. I loved Rajani’s answers too!