Interview with The AstroTwins

When did you first start writing?
Since we could pick up a crayon! As kids, we were constantly making books, magazines and writing stories. We won our school district's writing contests every year and were voracious readers.

Our dad, an immigrant from Israel (and an entrepreneurial Sagittarius like us), had a really special gold Cross pen that we would always try to sneak off of his desk to write our stories. He "fooled" us into learning all of our multiplication tables by rewarding us with silver Cross pens of our own. As a result, we learned to love math, too, which plays a part in doing more complex astrological calculating. We love words and numbers...we are definitely proud geeks!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
We grew up in Detroit, Michigan in the 1970s and 80s, when the city was pretty broken down. Yet, there was a spirit of creativity that refused to die along with the auto industry...a scrappiness, hustle and DIY determination that has definitely informed our work ethic! Detroit is also a very diverse city, but there is a Midwestern friendliness—a genuine interest in how your neighbor is doing. There is also a lot of injustice and economic/racial disparity that fueled a sense of social justice in us that informs our work. We may be writing horoscopes, but we always weave current events into our predictions in a digestible way.
How on earth did you become astrology writers?
Being professional astrologers wasn’t exactly our childhood aspiration. Sure, there were signs: the 6th grade trip to Space Camp, the stack of Lois Duncan books about girls with ESP that lined our childhood bookshelves…and the slightly embarrassing collection of self-help ones that followed a few years later. We never forgot a birthday growing up and would always read our horoscopes and Dear Abby—made easier by the paper route we had for a few tween years. We both studied Fine Art and Journalism at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and hold degrees from there (#proudnerds). Our passion, however, has always stemmed from a deep desire to understand people and a love of creating empowering, inclusive media—particularly for women.
When did your passion for astrology begin?
For our 21st birthday, Ophi’s college boyfriend Calvin gave us a 30-page printed natal chart and interpretation. It was then that we discovered that we had four planets in Scorpio and FINALLY understood why we were way more intense, devoted and consistent than the average Archer. It was insane how accurate that booklet was and we were hooked. We got astrology software and quickly started doing all of our friends’ charts. Knowing their moon and rising signs was a must! Our brains began storing every celebrity’s sign—the patterns became so obvious. And naturally, we used this secret decoder ring to figure out what was going on with the romantic interests in our life. Astrology is the ultimate tool for navigating relationships. But really, it's an incredible guide to understanding people in general. And as identical twins, we were born "in relationship," as we've been engaged in some form of dialogue since the womb!
How and when did astrology become an actual career for you?
For many years, we both worked in publishing. As college students, we created our own magazine, HUES, which aimed to create an inclusive glossy magazine for women of all cultures, sizes and sexual/gender identities. Back in 1992, this was pretty ahead of the curve, but we were determined in our idealistic, Sagittarian way to make media more representative of the actual world. We gathered a collective of fellow students to help publish it, and at our meetings, talk would ALWAYS turn to astrology. It seemed to be the great unifier that could bridge the gap of even the most intense identity politics.

We sold HUES in 1997 and both ended up in New York City with jobs in the big publishing world—Ophi was at Ms. magazine and Tali was at an empowering youth magazine called Build that was published by DoSomething.org. (Our full story is here: http://astrostyle.com/the-astrotwins/our-story/) We always gave astrology advice to our coworkers, and when one of Ophi's colleagues ended up at Teen People magazine, she offered us our first mainstream magazine astrology column. It was quite a departure from the more "serious" journalism we were doing, but it also gave us a massive platform for offering empowering and intelligent advice in the guise of entertainment.

A few months later, a literary agent approached us about writing our first astrology book, Astrostyle. A friend who worked on HUES brought us into Oxygen media to create a monthly column. Before we knew it, writing horoscopes was officially a career. What?! But what was most amazing about this transition was how similar writing ‘scopes was to discussing the themes of HUES. We were able to give empowering advice, help people accept their own quirks and relate better to others who weren’t like them—but through the lens of the zodiac. As it turns out, astrology is kind of like the peanut butter that you slip the heartworm pill in before giving it to your Golden Retriever. You can tell someone, “You’re such a spotlight hog!” and they kind of want to slap you. But if you say, “You’re a Leo. You need to be the center of attention,” they’re like, yeah baby, that’s me.

Writing astrology columns became our almost full-time gig after a couple years—with supplemental income from web design. (Building a dream sometimes requires a second skill during the development phase.) In 2006, we decided to turn Astrostyle into its own brand and dedicated website. In 2008, we published our second book Love Zodiac and began writing all the horoscopes for Elle.com. Since then, it’s been all astro, all the time. Two more books followed: Shoestrology and Momstrology. Amazing new clients rolled in along with Elle.com like Refinery29, Elle Australia, Interview Germany, and TV Guide. We’ve done live forecasts on MTV, weighed in on celebrities in People magazine, and have teamed up on projects with some of our favorite brands like Nordstrom, Mind Body Green, and Calypso St. Barth.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The sheer desire to get our message out to our readers! We know how much people crave advice and tools, and we didn't want to be held back by the prohibitive costs and red tape of bookstores and distributors. The publishing industry has changed so much in the past 20 years, and we've seen it through its whole evolution. We launched our first indie magazine just as the Internet became popular. Since we were young and eager, we taught ourselves HTML back in 1996 and have kept our web design skills fresh ever since. We went to the University of Michigan School of Art and Design from 1990-94, right when computers and "desktop publishing" were just coming into vogue, so we taught ourselves all the Adobe publishing software. We learned Wordpress from a Lynda.com course so we can tweak or build a website to promote our projects. No matter what your age or stage, there are now so many amazing and affordable ways to become your own media maker.

Interestingly, we have made more from publishing our own ebooks than we ever have from a print book. While it's certainly an ego boost to see our print books on the shelf at Barnes & Noble or an airport, the profits from self-publishing outweigh the moment of glory.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When someone tells us that our horoscopes have changed their lives, helped them survive a dark period or contributed to their success and self-awareness.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything! We've been writing daily, weekly and monthly horoscopes for over 12 years. So we constantly are thinking about what we can tell our readers to make their lives better. We hunt for articles, resources and anything that will be helpful. Yeah, we might be a little cosmically codependent, but such is the life of being an advice writer!
Published 2016-01-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Pisces 2016 Horoscope & Planetary Planner
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 30,030. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Astrology, Nonfiction » New Age » Numerology
The essential 2016 horoscope guide for your zodiac sign! Each chapter has sections for love, money/career and health, and lists key "hotspot" dates. Plus, a detailed overview of 2016's larger trends: new moons, full moons, eclipses, retrogrades and transits of the outer planets. Includes bonus Numerology & Year of the Monkey sections. By The AstroTwins, astrologers for Refinery29 and ELLE.com.
Aquarius 2016 Horoscope & Planetary Planner
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 29,350. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Astrology, Nonfiction » New Age » Numerology
The essential 2016 horoscope guide for your zodiac sign! Each chapter has sections for love, money/career and health, and lists key "hotspot" dates. Plus, a detailed overview of 2016's larger trends: new moons, full moons, eclipses, retrogrades and transits of the outer planets. Includes bonus Numerology & Year of the Monkey sections. By The AstroTwins, astrologers for Refinery29 and ELLE.com.
Capricorn 2016 Horoscope & Planetary Planner
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 29,160. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Astrology, Nonfiction » New Age » Numerology
The essential 2016 horoscope guide for your zodiac sign! Each chapter has sections for love, money/career and health, and lists key "hotspot" dates. Plus, a detailed overview of 2016's larger trends: new moons, full moons, eclipses, retrogrades and transits of the outer planets. Includes bonus Numerology & Year of the Monkey sections. By The AstroTwins, astrologers for Refinery29 and ELLE.com.
Sagittarius 2016 Horoscope & Planetary Planner
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 27,440. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Astrology, Nonfiction » New Age » Numerology
The essential 2016 horoscope guide for your zodiac sign! Each chapter has sections for love, money/career and health, and lists key "hotspot" dates. Plus, a detailed overview of 2016's larger trends: new moons, full moons, eclipses, retrogrades and transits of the outer planets. Includes bonus Numerology & Year of the Monkey sections. By The AstroTwins, astrologers for Refinery29 and ELLE.com.
Scorpio 2016 Horoscope & Planetary Planner
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 28,530. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Astrology, Nonfiction » New Age » Numerology
The essential 2016 horoscope guide for your zodiac sign! Each chapter has sections for love, money/career and health, and lists key "hotspot" dates. Plus, a detailed overview of 2016's larger trends: new moons, full moons, eclipses, retrogrades and transits of the outer planets. Includes bonus Numerology & Year of the Monkey sections. By The AstroTwins, astrologers for Refinery29 and ELLE.com.
Libra 2016 Horoscope & Planetary Planner
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 28,690. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Astrology, Nonfiction » New Age » Numerology
The essential 2016 horoscope guide for your zodiac sign! Each chapter has sections for love, money/career and health, and lists key "hotspot" dates. Plus, a detailed overview of 2016's larger trends: new moons, full moons, eclipses, retrogrades and transits of the outer planets. Includes bonus Numerology & Year of the Monkey sections. By The AstroTwins, astrologers for Refinery29 and ELLE.com.
Virgo 2016 Horoscope & Planetary Planner
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 30,350. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Astrology, Nonfiction » New Age » Numerology
The essential 2016 horoscope guide for your zodiac sign! Each chapter has sections for love, money/career and health, and lists key "hotspot" dates. Plus, a detailed overview of 2016's larger trends: new moons, full moons, eclipses, retrogrades and transits of the outer planets. Includes bonus Numerology & Year of the Monkey sections. By The AstroTwins, astrologers for Refinery29 and ELLE.com.
Leo 2016 Horoscope & Planetary Planner
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 27,850. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Astrology, Nonfiction » New Age » Numerology
The essential 2016 horoscope guide for your zodiac sign! Each chapter has sections for love, money/career and health, and lists key "hotspot" dates. Plus, a detailed overview of 2016's larger trends: new moons, full moons, eclipses, retrogrades and transits of the outer planets. Includes bonus Numerology & Year of the Monkey sections. By The AstroTwins, astrologers for Refinery29 and ELLE.com.
Cancer 2016 Horoscope & Planetary Planner
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 29,230. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Astrology, Nonfiction » New Age » Numerology
The essential 2016 horoscope guide for your zodiac sign! Each chapter has sections for love, money/career and health, and lists key "hotspot" dates. Plus, a detailed overview of 2016's larger trends: new moons, full moons, eclipses, retrogrades and transits of the outer planets. Includes bonus Numerology & Year of the Monkey sections. By The AstroTwins, astrologers for Refinery29 and ELLE.com.
Gemini 2016 Horoscope & Planetary Planner
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 28,300. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Astrology, Nonfiction » New Age » Numerology
The essential 2016 horoscope guide for your zodiac sign! Each chapter has sections for love, money/career and health, and lists key "hotspot" dates. Plus, a detailed overview of 2016's larger trends: new moons, full moons, eclipses, retrogrades and transits of the outer planets. Includes bonus Numerology & Year of the Monkey sections. By The AstroTwins, astrologers for Refinery29 and ELLE.com.
Taurus 2016 Horoscope & Planetary Planner
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 32,160. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Astrology, Nonfiction » New Age » Numerology
The essential 2016 horoscope guide for your zodiac sign! Each chapter has sections for love, money/career and health, and lists key "hotspot" dates. Plus, a detailed overview of 2016's larger trends: new moons, full moons, eclipses, retrogrades and transits of the outer planets. Includes bonus Numerology & Year of the Monkey sections. By The AstroTwins, astrologers for Refinery29 and ELLE.com.
Aries 2016 Horoscope & Planetary Planner
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 28,710. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Astrology
The essential 2016 horoscope guide for your zodiac sign! Each chapter has sections for love, money/career and health, and lists key "hotspot" dates. Plus, a detailed overview of 2016's larger trends: new moons, full moons, eclipses, retrogrades and transits of the outer planets. Includes bonus Numerology & Year of the Monkey sections. By The AstroTwins, astrologers for Refinery29 and ELLE.com.
The AstroTwins' 2016 Planetary Planner & Horoscope Guide
Price: $24.95 USD. Words: 182,810. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: January 3, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Astrology, Nonfiction » Inspiration » Spiritual inspiration
The essential 2016 horoscope guide for every zodiac sign! Each chapter has sections for love, money/career and health, and lists key "hotspot" dates. Plus, a detailed overview of 2016's larger trends: new moons, full moons, eclipses, retrogrades and transits of the outer planets. Includes bonus Numerology & Year of the Monkey sections. By The AstroTwins, astrologers for Refinery29 and ELLE.com.