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: Tonya Duncan Ellis, MG author of the SOPHIE WASHINGTON series.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? A world at peace with people living in harmony. In the midst I’d be on a warm sunny beach area with close family around and plenty of good food.
What is your greatest fear? Not being able to travel to see my relatives who don’t live near me because of the pandemic.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I can be impatient at times and sometimes get irritable when I am anxious.
What is a trait you most deplore in others? I don’t like it when people are inconsiderate and don’t try to empathize with others.
Which living person do you most admire? Michelle Obama. I admire her intelligence and outlook and how she supports her family, but also follows her own dreams.
What is your greatest extravagance? I can’t resist buying interesting books whenever I see them. I read so much that it would be more economical if I waited to check newly released books out from the library. I also love to stay in luxurious places when I travel.
What is your current state of mind? I’m at peace right now, and hopeful. The world is changing in so many unexpected ways, and I am anticipating lasting positive outcomes from all the strife. The younger generation is refusing to accept things that my age group was resigned to, and that is wonderful to see.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Selflessness. I believe that God wants us all to live according to our purpose and that denying yourself all your desires is not always the best thing. Of course, we need to take care of responsibilities and live morally, but I have a “glass half-full” outlook and believe that there is room enough for all of us to realize our dreams.
On what occasion do you lie? I try to be honest as a general rule. Sometimes I don’t tell my true feelings to avoid unnecessary conflict if I don’t think that omitting the truth would hurt anyone.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I say “really” and “actually” a lot. In emails I use “so” a lot, as in “I was so happy to see…” or “Thanks so much!” <Um… “so” do I. 🙂 >
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I love watching professional dancing and dance competition shows, so I think I’d like to be a great dancer.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Writing my book series and raising my children are my greatest accomplishments to date. Hopefully, there are more good things to come.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be? I’d like to come back as myself and maybe take the things I’ve learned now to create an even better life.
What is your most treasured possession? As long as I have a fun book to read, plenty of delicious food to eat, and my computer or paper and pen to write, I’m good. Quality time with my family, physical comfort, and peace of mind are what I value most.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Being cold and hungry.
What do you most value in friends? Loyalty. Wisdom. Friends who have listening ears and a sense of humor and adventure.
Who are your favorite writers? Some of my favorite children’s authors are Sharon Draper, Renee Watson, Judy Blume, and Beverly Cleary. When I comes to adult books, I prefer sweet romance, historical fiction, and memoirs, and I like to sample different authors.
Who is your hero of fiction? Hermione Granger in Harry Potter. She’s intelligent, hardworking, dedicated, confident, and ingenuitive.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? I admire the work Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did to advance Black people in our nation and around the world.
What is your motto? Set goals. Say prayers. Work hard. “Those at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”
TONYA DUNCAN ELLIS loves to travel and has visited 49 American states, 20 countries, and three continents, but some of her best journeys have been between the pages of a novel. As a girl she could always be found with a book in her hand, and reading is still one of her favorite hobbies. Tonya is the author of the award-winning, Readers’ Favorite “Five Star” rated, Sophie Washington series, geared toward readers ages 8 to 12 and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). When she’s not reading or writing, the author likes to ride her bike, swim and spend time with her husband and three children. She lives in Houston, TX. Learn more about Tonya on her website and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.