From the New York Times interview with Margaret Atwood, Back to the Scary Future and the Best-Seller List:

Ms. Atwood, writing in longhand, creates a tree of characters and charts that pinpoint their birthdays, and even casts their horoscopes. She sees in astrology a device to get people to talk about themselves. “You wouldn’t want your character to have the wrong horoscope any more than you would want them to have the wrong name,” Ms. Atwood said mischievously.

I have cast my characters’ horoscopes in the past (using Astrodienst). I think I need to do that now, for the book I am writing. The characters are too undefined yet. I’m still exploring them, but I think Atwood is right, that astrology is a good tool for opening up a dialogue with them.

Photo by Damon Winter for The New York Times: this is one of my favorite portraits of Margaret Atwood. I love the gloomy rock background, the sense that her concrete worlds are hefted into place by her weightless imagination.