following is a transcript of an interview for Brills Contentville
Author Q&A With Charlene Lichtenstein
Charlene Lichtenstein is the author of HerScopes; A Guide to Astrology
For Lesbians (Fireside, June 2000).
did you get the idea for your new book?
I wish I could say that it was an idea fermenting in my fertile imagination
for years, but the truth is that I was contacted by Carrie Thornton (then
of Simon & Schuster) who had seen my work in a couple of newspapers
and loved my writing style. I was asked to send in a proposal and a sample
chapter and the rest is history... or is it herstory?
long did it take you to write it?
About 9 months of sleepless nights and three crates of Nutter Butters.
is your favorite chapter or passage in the book and why?
Its a toss up between the Introduction, which I wrote last, and
Sagittarius, which I wrote first. When I wrote the Introduction it meant
that I was in the home stretch and it also put all the individual sign
chapters into context. Sagittarius was my first chapter and, in a wave
of initial optimism, it led me to believe that all signs would be easy
to write. Ha!
chapter or passage was hardest to write and why?
Libra. They are the most beloved of all the signs (at least they think
so) and I had a hard time coming up with their weaknesses... however I
eventually managed to find a few.
a writer, what is your greatest strength? Your
I would like to think that my greatest strength is a combination of depth
of perception into the human soul and a prescient understanding of human
nature, but it is more than likely my ability to go for the cheap, crass
Greatest weakness? Lack of any ego whatsoever. People walk all over me.
and where do you write?
My best writing seems to take place very late at night and very early
in the morning. Maybe that's because there is nothing particularly good
on television then. I have a small, claustrophobic workspace thats
full of new age tsochkas, papers and books.
the strangest habit you have while youre working on a book?
Aside from dancing in the nude to klezmer? Absolutely nothing.
did your editor help or hurt your book? What did he or she do?
My editor Carrie left Simon & Schuster before my book was finished
and Marcella Landres, my current editor, inherited the project. I am very
lucky; she has been a tremendous source of support as well as a great
lover of astrology. The stars were obviously well aligned.
My book was immediately accepted in the proposal stage and ultimately
required very little rewrite so this is obviously a dangerous first experience
for me. I am probably spoiled, even though my family would find that hard
to believe. Ahem.
is the best advice about writing anyone ever gave you, and who gave it?
Frankly the best advice I have received was about the business of writing;
A friend of mine who wrote a computer language textbook told me to never,
ever, give up the aquatic ballet rights to a book. He did so with his
and has regretted it ever since. While I managed to retain these rights,
I was forced to give up the theme park ride rights. This decision continues
to haunt me.
you weren't a writer, what would you do?
It is more of matter of what I can do. Waitressing again? Hmmm, maybe
not. How about layabout and girl gigolo?
is the best city or town to give a reading in? Which is the worst?
Best: New York you can get a crowd, even at 4am, to sit for anything.
Worst: New York everybody is a critic!
is the best book youve read this year?
"Examining Hitler" Do you know Hitler had moon in Capricorn?
the best book reviewer in the country?
Unofficially, my parents. They love everything I write or so they
say to my face.
was your favorite movie of last year?
Toss up between Being John Malkovich and Boys Dont Cry.
is your favorite magazine?
The Mountain Astrologer, The Advocate. On the web; Looking Deeper Magazine
is the one TV show you cannot live without? (No reruns, please.)
Law & Order a real New York show that is filmed in the city.
I am also a great fan of leased access tv.
else do we absolutely have to know about you?
1. My website is www.AccessNewAge.com
2. I have been writing horoscopes for discerning newspapers and magazines
3. I have a small mole on my inner thigh.