Skye’s The Limit – an interview with Skye Thomas (6th of May 2006)

Introduction

I added a few articles by this author to my website and thought that it might be nice to make a request that she consent to an interview. My goodness, when I finally discovered who Skye Thomas was, I realised that I’d been reading her stuff all this time … but on a completely different topic, astrology!  I was delighted she consented to the interview and without further ado, please let me introduce to you, Skye Thomas …


Aneeta: Skye, thank you very much for agreeing to this interview

Skye: Thank you! This is fun.

Aneeta: Please, let’s begin with a little bit about you. Who you are, your family, where you came from and so on.

Skye: Boy, that question brings up a handful of long involved stories, fascinating stories, but nevertheless, too long to tell today.

Today, I am a single mom with two teenagers and a four year old. I work from home because it means the world to all four of us. I used to work and commute a lot. I was gone from home about 80 hours per week when my first two were little. It was really rough on us for a lot of different reasons. We are incredibly close because we have been through so much together and quite often we were in those “us against the world” type experiences. If you do it right, family can be an incredible source of inspiration and renewal. Don’t get me wrong, we fight and argue quite passionately. We are a very verbal bunch and too opinionated for our own good! It’s a double-edged sword; giving your children permission to speak their minds… you have strong, confident, open, honest teenagers. But you also have to listen to what they have to say and that can be less than lollypops and sunshine some days.

Aneeta: I know from your website, Tomorrow’s Edge, that you ventured into writing only recently. What did you do before that?

Skye: I always hated writing. Teachers in elementary school would give us 30 minutes to do a creative writing piece. I would sit there the whole time with absolutely nothing to say and even when I did write something they would scribble all over it with that red pen and pop my bubble with all of their corrections. High school and college writing classes just got worse. I was always quite verbal though and have a deep fascination with why people do the things they do. I really believe that if you can get to the core of someone’s motivation, you can help them to fix, change, motivate, heal, or appreciate themselves better.

Everyone who knows me knows, that I’m a verbal storyteller. I’m one of those talkaholics! There came a point in time when I knew that I was to become a public speaker, that these stories of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and carrying on against all odds would mean something to others. I also knew that I was going to have to write them down. I fought against the writing portion for many years. I paid for it though! I wrote my first book in 1999, then went off to work on public speaking. Before I got very far with that, we had a surprise pregnancy and my youngest came into the picture. That forced me to stop speaking and go back to writing. I spent two years writing my life story.

Then launched Tomorrow’s Edge for the third time in April of 2003 and wrote my second book. In the fall of 2003, I started writing articles. Within about 18-20 months I had written almost 200 articles and a third book. I also gave in to repeated requests from friends and family and began posting the monthly astrology forecasts, which is another big writing project. I have only written a small handful of articles in the past year, but I’ve actually felt the urge to start again.

Now, I love writing. English majors love to write to me and tell me how badly I write and they get angry that I do not do things the way they taught us in school. But I get a lot more positive fan mail from people who just needed to hear the story than I do hate mail from people who think my grammar is horrible. Maybe some day I’ll hire a real editor. Maybe not.

Aneeta: I so understand that last paragraph of yours! I see that, besides you, Tomorrow’s Edge has three very distinct people involved in your work: A Concept Editor & Quality Control Specialist, a Vacation Specialist and a Grammatical Editor & Morale Specialist. Please, do share with us a little about these very special people.

Skye: My oldest son is my Concept Editor & Quality Control Specialist. He reads everything I write and is very good at catching places where the flow is off and I’m not making my point. He’s also the one to let me know if it just doesn’t have the “it” factor. He’s really good with the big picture and making sure that Tomorrow’s Edge and I both come across the way that he thinks we should.

My youngest son is our Vacation Specialist. At four years old, he’s very good at making sure that nobody works too much. He’s also good at coming up with ideas as to how we should spend our time off! Mostly, he goes for sunshine and beaches, which is really difficult to turn down.

My daughter is my Grammatical Editor and Morale Specialist. She is in advanced English classes in high school and is the one who usually catches the tiny flaws and punctuation problems. She will argue with her brother and me as to the proper way to word something. I have veto power, but she is probably technically correct. She’s also the one who will sit up with me half the night when I’m banging my head against a deadline or my computer has crashed again and I have to completely rebuild from scratch. She will sit next to me and just talk to me to cheer me on when I’m too tired to even type any more. (The oldest will let us both sleep in after these kinds of events and watch the youngest for us.)

I could not do what I do if not for these three people. They are amazingly supportive and believe in me when I want to give up and quit. They have sacrificed almost as much as I have to make sure that Tomorrow’s Edge makes it this time. We have family meetings as to how we will keep the business up and running. I don’t think any entrepreneur can succeed without either a huge amount of start up capital or an incredibly supportive family. We didn’t have a dime to our name when we started this company, but we had faith in each other and in the vision.

Aneeta: I understand that you’re a published author. Please tell us a little about these:

Skye: I had a nagging voice in my head for about ten years telling me to write my life story. I finally did it, but it is not at a point where it’s ready for publication and I am not ready to share “everything” just yet. However, once I did write it, it made the rest of my writing come so much easier and gave me more clarity as to who I am and why I am the way I am.

The first book that I wrote back in 1999 was Beyond the Inner Critic. It is about quieting that little voice that nags and tells us we are not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, etc. It is also the voice that says we probably won’t succeed so we might as well play it safe and don’t take any risks. What was so wonderfully funny and ironic about this book, is that I sat on it for four years before I could get the nerve up to submit it to publishers!

Voices: Divinity or Insanity? Is a book that I honestly did not want to write yet. I wanted this to be my last book just before I retire as an old woman. This book talks about the voices that came to me when I was at one of the lowest points in my life and told me that I would become a public speaker and writer; helping to make the world a better place. I was sure the voices were wrong. I thought they were talking to the wrong person. I also thought I might be insane and suffering from some kind of mental health issue that creates voices. After many years of arguing with those voices, I not only gave in to their request, but actually embrace it. I still wanted to keep the voices a secret and wait until I was retiring before confessing about the voices. The voices were adamant that the book needed to be written now because people needed it. They were right. I get more fan mail from this book than any other. I cannot tell you how many people write to me that they thought they were the only one going through it and that they feel so much better knowing that they are not alone. Every one of them has been given some kind of a ‘save the world’ type mission. Every one of them feels better about themselves and about their place in life once they give in to the voices and get to work helping humanity.

Why Do I Keep Falling in Love With the Wrong People? This is by far my best seller. It’s funny, because I wrote it as somewhat of a fluff piece. I had tons of traffic coming to the website to see the articles about soulmates and to see the astrology forecasts. But they were not interested in Voices or in Beyond, so I needed a product for these people. I am supposed to write a book about soulmates, love, and marriage later on down the road, but I wanted to give people something now – an appetizer to hold them over. Deep down I think many of us are lonely and we want more than a cold unfeeling commitment until death do us part… but we don’t have a clue how to make that happen. This book takes each of the twelve zodiac signs and explains who this personality type is attracted to and why, why people break up with them, and who would actually love to be with them. I’ve done horoscope compatibility analysis on couples for years and it’s been one of my favorite hobbies. It was actually the easiest book of the original three for me to write.

When All Else Fails, Find Your Heart’s Song and Sing Louder! This is a compilation of some of the first articles that I wrote. People had been asking for a bound set of articles that they could take with them. We plan to make a volume 2, 3, 4, etc.

I can feel the parenting book calling out to be written soon, so that will probably be the next one. I should do it soon while the teenagers are still home to remind me of what all I did right and what I did wrong!

Aneeta: Now, on to my favourite part – astrology. I must confess that I religiously follow the things you write. Tell me a little about how you came to be as astrologer, what it is you do and how can my readers and … ahem, me, contact you should we wish to commission a report from you?

Skye: The astrology thing has exploded beyond anything I imagined! The kids and I just sort of shake our heads in amazement. I’m supposed to become this motivational speaker and writer helping the world to deal with their self-confidence issues and to teach people how to get along with each other, but what people really want me to do is tell them that tomorrow will be okay.

I started studying astrology when I was about ten years old and it was always my favorite hobby. I never thought of myself as a professional or anything. I just found it fascinating how you could pretty much find everything about a person’s personality right there hidden in their birth wheel. As I became a teenager, I started comparing how different signs got along with each other romantically and in families. By the time my kids were dating, I would pull charts on whomever they brought home and would predict for them if the relationships would work out or not. I did the same thing for friends and family.

I also was a huge fan of Susan Miller’s work for years. The problem was that she’s so busy and doesn’t get the monthly forecasts posted until the first of the month. I wanted mine sooner, so I started doing my own and comparing it to hers. Then I started doing the same for friends and family members. After awhile, there were only four of the twelve forecasts that I was not doing every month anyway. So, I gave in to the suggestions and started posting them on the website.

I have a list of the twelve sun signs and under each one I have written the names of everyone I know who is of that sign. Then when I write the forecasts, I think of those people and I write it to them. I think that is part of the reason they are so well received. People feel like we are best friends when I write to them. In a way, it’s true. When I’m writing Capricorn, I’m thinking of my daughter and my mother. Aquarius is being written with my oldest son and a few other people in mind. So the voice tone is gentle and loving because I am thinking of the people I love when I write them.

When I write the personalized forecasts, personality profiles, and compatibility reports, I actually can get a real “feel” for the person by looking at their wheel. I “get” them. I can see core motivations, core fears, egos, insecurities, and such. So when they write in with their questions, I can see why they want to know what it is they want to know. It’s actually turned out to be some of the most rewarding work that I do. I don’t really do psychic readings anymore and I am not technically trained as a therapist, but through the astrology reports, I can still help people on a one-on-one basis.

As for ordering reports, they are described and listed on the website. I just recently created an Astrology Hub on the site with links to the astrology articles, the monthly forecasts, the astrology compatibility book, and the various personalized reports. Most pages on the website have a link somewhere leading to it, so you should be able to find it pretty easily. Also, people who don’t like to use PayPal or who don’t like Internet banking can send their payment through the mailing address listed on the website. Just make sure that you clearly print your email address so I’ll know how to contact you to discuss exactly what it is you want.

Aneeta: Now this is something unique – when you write your articles, you write with future generations of your grandchildren in mind. How did you determine this and really, why?

Skye: That’s probably the single most important thing about my writing. I was constantly frozen with writer’s block. My own inner critic takes on the role of bitter mean editor while I’m trying to write. I hyper-focus so much on what the publishers and editors are going to think of my work, that I could barely write anything. One day, those voices in my head told me to look at this one picture on my desk of my older two kids when they were quite young. The voices said to write to them. “Just tell your children what it is that you have to say.” When I prepare to write, I imagine that I’m dead and gone and that all my kids have of me are these books and articles. What advice would I give them about life? About love? About self-esteem? About parenting my grandchildren? Sometimes I imagine a great great granddaughter who is just like me and does not get along with her family and feels like nobody understands her. I write to her sometimes. Sometimes readers write in with questions and they want advice. If I think the topic is universal, then I write an article to that one questioner, but I posted it for the world to see and everyone thinks I was speaking directly to them. I get a lot of positive feedback that the relaxed friendly maternal voice is soothing and comforting. A lot of people say it feels like we’re hanging out over coffee and just having a chat between friends. This is the voice I use with my teenagers. If I never sold another book or forecast, I’d still write until the day I died, just to make sure the stories, the lessons get put down on paper. So that none of my children or grandchildren will ever have to feel alone and lost.

Aneeta: Is it possible for you to share with us, please, three pieces of advice that can help inspire people to tell more stories and indeed for those who are already storytellers, to improve their skill even further.

Skye: One of my biggest pet peeves about today’s culture is that we have this attitude that we can love each other unconditionally without hearing each other’s stories. I can’t tell you how often, I’m told, “I don’t need to hear your story. I’ll just pray for you and trust that you’ll be okay.” How can you say that you love someone if you don’t know their story? Our stories are what define us. What is a life, but the story of a soul’s visit to this planet? I say, tell your stories, write your stories, and share your stories. That’s not the same as getting stuck in the past. We still have to move forward and we can change the direction that our story is heading in. Share your success stories because they inspire others – you are not just bragging. Share your failure stories because they teach others – you are not just whining.

I think that writing our stories down is good because we can edit and re-edit them until they are clear and concise. One of the best things I found is the 1000 word limit. I had read that most magazines want articles that are 1000 words long, occasionally 1500 or 2000. So, think of one episode in your life and try to describe it in 1000 words. Edit and cut and paste until you can force a big concept into just a 1000 words.

I suppose this is being said backwards, but before you chop it up and edit it. Write your stories as if you are emailing a good friend or just journaling to yourself. Don’t worry about style, grammar, or any of that other stuff. Just get the story out of you. Let the memories flow. Then chop it down to 1000 words afterwards. Never self-edit while you write. It will destroy the muse.

I am also a firm believer in letting pieces age before sending them out into the universe. When I was writing non-stop back in ’04, I used to let them sit in a folder for months before they went into newsletters, or to magazines, or to webmasters, or even just up onto my own website. When you let them sit and age and then go back and reread them, you can actually separate yourself from them and read them as a “normal” person rather than as an “author.” You will catch some small errors, but mostly you will be able to see what you’ve written from a like-minded person’s perspective.

Aneeta: Well, Skye, that’s all I can think of asking. Is there anything at all you’d like to add?

Skye: Yes, I think storytelling is hardwired into our bodies. Silence and withdrawal leads to depression. Until we can telepathically and empathically just “know” each other, we need stories so that we can relate to others. It’s how we connect. Don’t let anyone convince you to shut up and sit down quietly. Speak your truth; it just might make a difference.

Aneeta: Thank you, once again, for agreeing to this interview.

Skye: Thank you. I really enjoyed it.


This piece may NOT be freely reprinted. Please contact editor @ howtotellagreatstory.com for reprint rights.

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