Author Suzanne White waxes practical on new mediums and "being part of what's going on."
You seem hip to this new trend of e-books. Donna Cunningham is another astrologer I know that is doing it. Do you find this a good way to get your books out there? And what are the advantages of publishing this way?
I am glad you asked me a question about e-books. Unlike Donna Cunningham's scholarly astrology books, mine are about people and their characters. I did not publish mine either. I just own the e-rights which means I can sell anything electronic from my work.
For years, I have been trying to convince author friends not to sell their electronic rights. It's really all about that. I have made many book contracts in my life in many countries and languages. I nave never allowed any publisher to own my electronic rights. In the old days, (70's and 80's before the Net) they were called audio-visual rights. I always had the feeling they might one day be valuable. So I routinely kept them.
If authors keep their e-rights and sell their own books as e-books, they get to keep a lot more of the price. My publishers sell paper books. I sell e-books.
How can one sign with its particular element in Chinese astrology cover all those born in one year?
I don't think I can answer that "How" question. Chinese Astrology is just like that. A Horse is headstrong and talented. A Dog is a worry wart. Tigers are nomadic and pounce on adventures and projects. Oxen take the long view. When I wrote my first book about Chinese Astrology in 1975, I was skeptical myself. My kids were little then and in elementary school. I went to their school and asked the teachers if classes of kids all born in the same year had different characters or behavior patterns. They were unanimous in saying "Yes. Of course." A class of Dragon kids was noisy and flamboyant. A class of Goats quiet and creative.
Now, of course, thirty some years later, I know from experience and from my practice consulting and doing readings that Roosters like to dress nattily and are stubbornly single-minded, Pigs hate to have to say "no". Rats protect their families tooth and claw and they love power. It's just like that. Chinese Astrology is, of course, more complex than just that. But knowing how uncannily accurate the signs' different qualities and faults can be is enough to prove to anyone that Chinese Astrology is a major addition to one's life on this planet.
Of course until I started writing about it, Chinese Atrology had been largely ignored in the West. Other authors have come along with books on the subject too. Now almost everybody knows his or her sign and which element governs it.
Many psychiatrists and attorneys and doctors write to me about how they always look up a client's (or patient's) sign before deciding how to treat them. Companies consult me about hiring simply because Chinese Astrology is a flawless tool when it comes to reading character.
Can you describe your interior process, as you synthesize a Western Zodiac sign with a Chinese astrology sign? Is that a difficult process for you? And is there an aspect of channeling involved (as in ancient wisdom)? Are there some signs that are easier for you than others?
It's not difficult at all. I have been doing it for so long it has become second nature. I am basically a very practical person. I don't channel or have to call up spirit guides or anything. I just put everything I know about the 24 signs in my mental blender and turn it on to "high." And by some miracle, out come the words to describe what I need to talk about.
What is unique about merging East and West signs for readers or visitors to your site? How do they get more dimension, more of a full picture of who they are?
When you put together the specific qualities and faults of the month you were born with the particular characteristics of the year you were born, the picture becomes twice as clear. A Gemini born in a Pig year is not the same Gemini as one born in a Tiger year. It's really just logical. Astrology never lies. Once people get over the "oogah boogah" taboo, they find out that New Astrology™ is a fabuous tool for living.
Have your interpretations changed since you first wrote the book in 1986? Does your love advice change with the times? Any ‘dated’ things you used to say, that you refined out for today’s readers?
I reckon I am less moralising now. In 1986, people didn't talk about having affairs or fooling around on their mates so openly as they do now. We didn't talk much about gay people either. The slant may be different now. But the information has stayed much the same.
Have you tapped into a new audience with Facebook? Creating that application seems like such an innovative way to get your material out there. How important is it for astrologers to be flexible, and embrace new technologies?
One of the problems that astrologers face is getting their own unique ideas out to the public. I have always believed that we should de-complicate astrology for people. Tell it in simple language and make it apply to people instead of to theories. I think that's why my books go on selling and selling and selling after all these years.
I used to be a teacher. I learned in university how to present complex information in a way that makes it easier to grasp. Also, I am lucky. I am a writer. First and foremost I write. Most astrologers are astrologers. Not writers. So they write wonderful (but impenetrable) books that can be digested only by other astrologers. One has to simplify and also try to be funny. Nobody wants to read dry, heavy prose about Saturn and the outer planets.
So yes. Facebook and Myspace and having a lively web site -- all of those things take an enormous amount of time. But it pays off for the sale of books and for one's popularity in the marketplace. I believe in being part of what's going on. For myself as well as for my readers. I am always saying, "I like to count my readers among my friends."
Suzanne Whites books are available at her website.