Welcome to The Book Rack Mrs. White.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am American, but I live in France (summers) and Buenos Aires (winters). I have been a college professor, a fashion model, a journalist, an interpreter, a novelist, a fireworks salesperson, director of a Parisian Couture boutique, an elevator operator, a shoe salesperson, a single mother and a simultaneous translator. Best thing I ever did was write books. I mostly lived in Paris my entire adult life. I left Buffalo, New York for Paris at age 22 and never looked back.
In 1970, I began writing articles for magazines. My first article appeared in Cosmopolitan in 1971. Then, in 1973, I wrote a novel called Ladyfingers. It was published by a major New York publisher. I was proud to actually be able to earn a living being "a writer". I wanted to go on writing stories, but my literary agent decided I should write non fiction. "What is non fiction?" I asked. "I just want to write stories."
She said, "Novels are risky. They might sell. They might not. If you only write novels, your children will starve." She gave me a choice between Cooking and Astrology. I chose the latter. Astrology promised to buy me more food for my children than might a simple cookery book. Besides, I was no Julia Child. My French kids loved noodles with butter. But they also devoured loin lamb chops, smoked salmon and roast pheasant They even enjoyed an occasional hit of foie gras on their toast and begged for more. Champagne tastes.
So I agreed to write an astrology book. But on one condition... I wanted to write about Chinese Astrology - the animal signs. By 1975 I had published my first Chinese Astrology book. By now, I have written four best-selling books about Chinese and western Astrology. My readers have dubbed me "The High Priestess". I love email. I adore being on Facebook and Twitter where I can actually talk to readers one on one. Long Live The Internet! Contact me for personalized readings. Or just to say hello. I'm easy to know. firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have written two non astrological books. LADYFINGERS (soon to be an e-book) and THE WIG AND I - a hilarious, illustrated novelette about a recent wig-buying expedition in the south of France. I hope to write many more.
How did you get interested in Chinese and Western Astrologies?
After I wrote the first Chinese Astrology book I wanted to go back to novels. I wrote an outline and some chapters of a big rambling 3 generation novel. I sold it to Delacorte for $60,000 which in those days was a fortune. A few months later I got cancer and had a year of chemotherapy. Blue Cross cancelled my policy because I got cancer. I lost my house and nearly my life. My two daughters and I moved back to France where national health saved my life. When I stopped crying and my hair grew back, I decided to write another astrology book. I knew that would sell well and keep us from starving. I was right.
You are called “High Priestess” of both of the aforementioned Astrologies, correct? Why is that? My readers dubbed me the High Priestess. I guess because I wrote the one and only book which blends Chinese and Western astrologies. It's called THE NEW ASTROLOGY© . It is a roaring best seller and has been for over 20 years. It's unique. You will see when you read it.
How did you get started in writing? I started writing when someone gave me a used portable typewriter. I was 33 years old. I am left handed so writing had always been a chore. I loved it. But I smudged everything. Once I had that typewriter, I realized the words just dribbled from my brain to my fingers onto the keys. I never did learn to type. I write fast and go back and correct as I scamper along.
Please tell us more about your books, especially The Astrology of Love. The Astrology of love is a book about astrological compatibiltiies between all 24 western and chinese signs. It's astoundingly accurate. It's also quite funny. I attribute up to four hearts to some couples and some get zero. Four hearts is Bed of Roses. 3 hearts is Bed and Breakfast. 2 hearts is Breakfast in Bed. 1 heart is Pillow fights . And zero hearts is Bed of Nails.
In conclusion, if you could give aspiring writers one piece of advice what would it be? The best advice I ever got about writing is "application of derrière to seat of chair." You simply have to sit there and do it. Writing is like knitting. If you don't do it, the scarf (or the book) does not get finished in time for your brother's birthday. You are the manufacturer of the product. So you must write. That's only the beginning though. Mainly you must write. No excuses. Four pages a day. Of anything. Letters to your grandmother. Journals. Books. Short stories. Poems. Song lyrics. Write and write and write some more. That takes up half your day. The rest of the time you rewrite. You get someone to edit you. Then you rewrite the whole goldarn thing. Avoid adverbs. Use strong verbs. Oh don't get me started... I should write a book about how to be a writer. It's torture. But the results are more satisfying than the best love affair you never had.
Thank you so much for your time. Feel free to come back and sit down with us any time you wish.