THE PROUST-ESQUE QUESTIONNAIRE: CHRISTINE HAYES

Christine HayesOur guest: Christine Hayes is the Utah-based author of Mothman’s Curse, released in June 2015 by Roaring Brook Press. Read our review HERE.

The Proust-Esque Questionnaire is based on a set of 36 standardized questions designed by Marcel Proust in the 1890’s to give an overview of the respondent’s personality. Our goals are less lofty, but hopefully will provide some insight into how your favorite authors and illustrators work and what they love.


Screen shot 2015-05-10 at 11.04.24 AM

Harold_cover1. WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF CHILDREN’S LITERATURE?

I remember falling in love with Harold and the Purple Crayon and Bread and Jame for Francis, wanting to hear them over and over. I also recall going to the doctor for tonsillitis on a regular basis, and every time we stopped at the drug store afterward my mom would buy me a Little Golden Book. I had a whole stack of those.

Anastasia_Krupnik2. WITH WHICH CHILDREN’S LITERATURE CHARACTER DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY?

When I was young, I totally identified with Anastasia Krupnik (still do).

3. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHOR? ILLUSTRATOR?

Screen shot 2015-07-12 at 10.01.54 PMMy favorite authors include Lloyd Alexander, John Bellairs, and Megan Whalen Turner. Favorite illustrators include Edward Gorey (left, illustrations by Gorey), Quentin Blake, Peter McCarty, and David Wiesner.

4. IF YOU WERE THROWING A KINDERLIT PARTY FOR FIVE GUESTS, WHO WOULD YOU INVITE?

Tough one! Let’s go with Hermione Granger, C.S. Lewis, Peter Pevensie, Lloyd Alexander, and E.B. White (below, right).

5. WHICH QUALITY DO YOU THINK IS MOST IMPORTANT IN GOOD CHILDREN’S LITERATURE?

E.B. WhiteI think every book, no matter what genre, must create an emotional connection with readers to keep them turning pages.

6. IF YOUR OWN WORK HAS A DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC, WHAT WHAT IS IT?

I love writing action/people in peril, and almost always throw some supernatural element into the mix. It makes things unpredictable.

7. IF YOU WERE TO DIE AND COME BACK AS A CHARACTER FROM CHILDREN’S LITERATURE, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE IT TO BE?

Screen shot 2015-07-12 at 10.10.34 PMMary Lennox  (left) from The Secret Garden… After everything turns out happy, of course!

8. IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND REDO ONE THING IN YOUR WORK, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I still struggle with getting rid of adverbs. I kind of secretly adore them.

9. WHAT IS THE GREATEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WERE EVER GIVEN?

Don’t live a temporary life. This was while we were living in Manila, Philippines, and I mentioned to a fellow expat that I didn’t know if I should bother decorating our rental home or trying to build a life there, because we were only expecting to stay for two years. She wisely counseled me to get involved, make it feel like home, and make every day count. As it turned out, we lived there for four years and adopted a child in the process. Our lives changed forever because of our time there. We’ve moved a few more times since then, and if I’d kept that temporary mindset I would have wasted a good decade of my life.

10. DESCRIBE YOUR WORK PROCESS.

Yikes. It’s really all over the map, especially when the kids are out of school for the summer! I try to set aside a few hours every day just for writing, but when I sit down in front of the computer I accomplish very little. I do my best writing by hand, curled on the couch or sitting in the car parked near a lake or some other natural setting. If I actually get out of the car, then I’m swatting at bugs or fretting about being too hot or too cold. In other words, I am easily distracted!


CHRISTINE HAYES: OFFICIAL WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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