An embarrassing admission: the Proust Questionnaire makes me think first of Vanity Fair magazine, rather than the esteemed author. The assignment this week is to answer Mr. Proust's questionnaire from the point of view of your 20-year-old self. I'm not sure that I can do that, since I'm don't think I've matured much past 13.
Your most marked characteristic? My willingness to go to Hell in a handbasket. Seriously, if you can get me a ticket, I'll go.
The quality you most like in a man? Wit.
The quality you most like in a woman? Wit.
What do you most value in your friends? Trustworthiness.
What is your principle defect? Impatience.
What is your favorite occupation? Writing and traveling.
What is your dream of happiness? Going to Hell in a handbasket, then writing about it.
What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes? The inability, for whatever reason, to pursue one’s dreams.
What would you like to be? Better at writing first drafts.
What is your favorite color? Red.
What is your favorite flower? The lily.
What is your favorite bird? The crow.
Who are your favorite prose writers? Megan Abbott, Ken Bruen, Dennis Tafoya, Laura Lippman, Linda Fairstein, Walter Mosley, Dennis Lehane, Sara Gran, Truman Capote, Meg Gardiner, Harlan Ellison, Louise Penny, Reed Farrel Coleman, Chris F. Holm, Brad Parks... too many to list properly.
Who are your favorite heroines of fiction? Holly Golightly, Lily Bart, Lilly Dillon.
Who are your favorite composers? Sergei Rachmaninov and Bear McCreary.
Who are your favorite painters? The Pre-Raphaelites; also Théodore Géricault and Gustave Dore. I saw Géricault's “The Raft of the Medusa” and Dore's “The Enigma” for the first time when I was 19 and went to Paris for the first time, so this really could be an answer from 20-year-old me.
Who are your heroes in real life? People who make life better for others, and especially those who risk their own safety by doing so.
Who are your favorite heroines of history? Cleopatra, Boadicea, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Elizabeth I, Joan of Arc.
What is it you most dislike? Intolerance and willful ignorance.
How would you like to die? Peacefully.
What is your present state of mind? Obsessive.
To what faults do you feel most indulgent? Aside from cruelty, I think all faults are forgivable.
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I'm on the road again to promote THE NEXT ONE TO FALL. Up next: Mysteries to Die for in Thousand Oaks, CA, on March 28th at 7pm, Left Coast Cime in Sacramento, Book Passage in San Francisco with my friend Brad Parks on April 2nd at 6pm, and at a Mystery Readers International Salon on April 3rd at 7pm.