Melissa Grey is a writer of young adult fiction powered entirely by candlelight and cups of tea. She’s represented by the fabulous Catherine Drayton of InkWell Management and her debut novel, THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT, will be published by Delacorte Press in Spring 2015. She can also ride a horse and shoot a bow and arrow at the same time, for what it’s worth, which is not much at all.
Let’s see how Melissa answers the Proust Questionnaire!
What is your idea of happiness?
A pot of tea, an array of mismatched candles, a pen that writes smoothly, and a blank page.
What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
As Long As You Love Me by the Backstreet Boys. Go on, laugh. I don’t remember the first time I heard it, but I was twelve the year it came out. Let’s look at the first two lines: Although loneliness has always been a friend of mine / I’m leavin’ my life in your hands. Think about that. It’s a song about placing your trust in another person even though it’s a terrifying prospect. That’s beautiful.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I used to be a ballet dancer, but gave it up when it became obvious I was never going to be the Swan Queen. I’d always dreamed of being able to dance at that level though. It’s a nice fantasy.
On what occasion do you lie?
When the truth would do more harm than good.
What is your present state of mind?
Impatient. I hate waiting, but you have to do a lot of it in publishing. I’m getting better at it, but it’s still the opposite of fun.
What is your motto?
In the words of Winston Churchill: If you’re going through hell, keep going.
What character trait do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty. People who flee when things get tough aren’t worth anyone’s time.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Aplomb. It’s such a good word, I use it whenever possible. Look at it. A-p-l-o-m-b. It’s so bizarre.
Your favorite painting?
Elisabeth Vigée Lebrun’s self-portrait. She positions herself as an old master, which is a delightfully wicked act of subversion for a female painter of the eighteenth century. She’s so confident and assertive in her subtle references to unquestionable masters, like Rubens. She dares you to deny her her rightful place among them. I want to be that self-assured one day.
What is your favorite journey?
Any flight that brings me back to New York. I’ve lived in quite a few places over the past few years — Japan, England, France — but New York is, and will always be, my home.
What is your favorite time of day?
The first moment of pure night, when it’s dark enough to light a few candles and have them illuminate a room.
With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Sirius Black. He seems like the kind of guy who would carry around a flask with which to spike his coffee.
What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
Walking into a bookstore and seeing my novel on the new releases shelf. Is it 2015 yet?
Who or what is your first love?
Gambit from the X-Men, which I’m pretty sure was the catalyst for my lifelong fascination with thieves. Echo, the main character in THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT, is a teenaged pickpocket turned career thief. I do not think this is a coincidence.
What’s the last dream you remember?
I was in an abandoned warehouse, cornered by zombies. I was armed with an assault rifle, but when I went to fire it, blueberry yogurt shot out. Of all the things. I remember staring at the gun and thinking “Yogurt? Really?” before I woke up. I assume the zombies ate me.
What’s your madeleine?
The Sailor Moon theme song. It whisks me right back to my childhood. When I was around seven years old, the show was on at six o’clock in the morning, so I would wake up before anyone in the house and watch it, in my pajamas, before I had to get ready for school.
Without thinking, in one word: what is life?