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 (aka nosy) questions. In the hot seat today: Sandy Stark-McGinnis, author of the middle-grade debut, EXTRAORDINARY BIRDS (Bloomsbury, April 30 2019)
What is your idea of perfect happiness? A walk on the beach with my husband and two children.
What is your greatest fear? The possibility of regretting that I didn’t try hard enough.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Sometimes I get extremely impatient with myself and others.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Being unkind.
Which living person do you most admire? I’d have to say my husband. He is creative, fun, generous, and his attitude is always, “How can we solve this?”
What is your greatest extravagance? Well, I have two. I love cowboy boots and coats.
What is your current state of mind? I’m actually pretty calm.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Purity. As the character Maude says in the movie, Harold and Maude, “It’s best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much. Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you’re bound to live life fully.”
On what occasion do you lie? If it’s for the greater good.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “You have to try,” which is what I say to my students every day.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I would love to have the talent to paint (like Georgia O’Keeffe).
What do you consider your greatest achievement? I have raised two kids who are kind, fun and generous.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I’d want to come back as a blue whale.
What is your most treasured possession? My cowboy boots.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Not having a place to call home.
What do you most value in your friends? Laughter and more laughter.
Who are your favorite writers? Hmm…Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, James Baldwin and Louise Erdrich.
Who is your hero of fiction? Well, I’d have to say my fictional heroes are two I created, December and Cheryllynn.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? The suffragettes.
What is your motto? “Keep going.”
SANDY STARK-McGINNIS is a debut author and award-winning poet whose work has appeared in Quercus Review, In the Grove, and Penumbra. She holds an MA in creative writing from San Francisco State University. Sandy lives with her husband and children in California, where she teaches fifth grade. You can find Sandy at her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.