Anne Rice (born Howard Allen O'Brien on October 4, 1941), the second daughter of an Irish Catholic family, is an author of horror/fantasy stories, who often writes about vampires, mummies and witches. Her works have been a major influence on the Goth youth subculture, and she has published several works with sado-masochistic themes. She is currently working on a trilogy about the life of Jesus Christ. She was married to the late poet Stan Rice and is the mother of gay novelist Christopher Rice. Her daughter, Michelle, was born September 21, 1966 and died of leukemia on August 5 1972.
She was born and spent most of her life in New Orleans, Louisiana, the city that forms the background against which most of her stories take place. Known for her avid interest in art and culture, she and her family occasionally took trips overseas to study the art later mentioned in her stories. More recently, following the death of her husband Stan Rice, she has relocated to the San Diego, California area to be nearer her son, Christopher. After spending most of her adult life as a self described atheist, Rice returned to the Roman Catholic Church in 1998.
Rice has also published under the pen names Anne Rampling and A.N. Roquelaure, the latter of which was used primarily for more adult-oriented material. Her fiction is often described as lush and descriptive, and her characters' sexuality is fluid, often displaying homoerotic feelings towards each other. She also deals with philosophical and historic themes, weaving them in to the dense pattern of her books, giving them a high intellectual if not also a high literary content. To her admirers, her books are among the best in modern popular fiction, considered by some to possess those elements that create a lasting presence in the literary canon.
A critical analysis of Rice's work can be found in S. T. Joshi's book The Modern Weird Tale (2001).
Conversion to a Christian Novelist
In October of 2005, Rice announced in a Newsweek article that she would "write only for the Lord". Her first novel in the genre is called CHRIST THE LORD: Out of Egypt and is the first in a trilogy that will chronicle the life of Christ.
The Vampire Chronicles
She completed her first book, Interview with the Vampire, in 1973 and published it in 1976.
Interview with the Vampire can also be viewed as an example of psychedelic literature. Rice herself has denied ever having experimented with LSD. "I'm a totally conservative person. In the middle of Haight-Ashbury in the 1960s, I was typing away while everybody was dropping acid and smoking grass. I was known as my own square." (New York Times, Nov 7, 1988) Her protagonist Louis, however, describes a heightened awareness after being transformed into a vampire which does mirror the LSD experience to some extent.
Rice has said that Claudia, the young girl in the book, was inspired by her late daughter.
In 1994, Neil Jordan directed a motion picture adaption of Interview with the Vampire, based on the story, but with some minor changes. A second movie was also made, inspired by the second and third books in the original Vampire Chronicles series. The title was that of the third book, Queen of the Damned. The storyline chosen by the producers of the second film is controversial among fans of the her books, to say the least. Major plot points of both books were either ignored or altered. It has been rumoured that the second film's theatrical release was based solely on its producers' wish to capitalize on the death of Aaliyah.
Rice has Type 1 diabetes. This was discovered when she went into a diabetic coma in December of 1998. She is an advocate for people to get tested for diabetes. Because of a lifelong battle with her weight, as well as depression due to the long illness and subsequent death of her husband, Rice's weight ballooned to 254 pounds. Tired of dealing with sleep apnea, limited mobility, and other weight-related problems, she had gastric bypass surgery on January 15, 2003.
On 30 January, 2004 Rice announced her plans to leave New Orleans, to move the suburb of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. She had already put the largest of her three homes in Uptown New Orleans up for sale, and plans to sell the other two. She cited living alone since the death of her husband and her son's moving out of state as the reasons. "Simplifying my life, not owning so much, that's the chief goal," said Rice. "I'll no longer be a citizen of New Orleans in the true sense." In spring 2005 Anne Rice moved to La Jolla, California. She calls her new home: "Paradise West". Some have speculated that Rice also wished for more privacy from the constant attentions of her fans, who were known to camp out in front of her house. Sometimes, up to 200 or more would gather to see her leave for church on Sundays. She is also very adamant about preventing any fan fiction of her books-- on April 7, 2000, she released a statement on her website that prohibited all fanfiction involving her work. This caused the removal of thousands of fanfics from the popular Fanfiction.Net website.
On September 6, 2004, Rice posted a reply to a number of negative reviews that had appeared on Amazon.com regarding Blood Canticle. She titled her reply, "From the Author to the Some of the Negative Voices Here." The text consisted of the following:
- "Seldom do I really answer those who criticize my work. In fact, the entire development of my career has been fueled by my ability to ignore denigrating and trivializing criticism as I realize my dreams and my goals. However there is something compelling about Amazon's willingness to publish just about anything, and the sheer outrageous stupidity of many things you've said here that actually touches my proletarian and Democratic soul. Also I use and enjoy Amazon and I do read the reviews of other people's books in many fields. In sum, I believe in what happens here. And so, I speak. First off, let me say that this is addressed only to some of you, who have posted outrageously negative comments here, and not to all. You are interrogating this text from the wrong perspective. Indeed, you aren't even reading it. You are projecting your own limitations on it. And you are giving a whole new meaning to the words "wide readership." And you have strained my Dickensean principles to the max. I'm justifiably proud of being read by intellectual giants and waitresses in trailer parks,in fact, I love it, but who in the world are you? Now to the book. Allow me to point out: nowhere in this text are you told that this is the last of the chronicles, nowhere are you promised curtain calls or a finale, nowhere are you told there will be a wrap-up of all the earlier material. The text tells you exactly what to expect. And it warns you specifically that if you did not enjoy Memnoch the Devil, you may not enjoy this book. This book is by and about a hero whom many of you have already rejected. And he tells you that you are likely to reject him again. And this book is most certainly written -- every word of it -- by me. If and when I can't write a book on my own, you'll know about it. And no, I have no intention of allowing any editor ever to distort, cut, or otherwise mutilate sentences that I have edited and re-edited, and organized and polished myself. I fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did not have to put up with editors making demands on me, and I will never relinquish that status. For me, novel writing is a virtuoso performance. It is not a collaborative art. Back to the novel itself: the character who tells the tale is my Lestat. I was with him more closely than I have ever been in this novel; his voice was as powerful for me as I've ever heard it. I experienced break through after break through as I walked with him, moved with him, saw through his eyes. What I ask of Lestat, Lestat unfailingly gives. For me, three hunting scenes, two which take place in hotels -- the lone woman waiting for the hit man, the slaughter at the pimp's party -- and the late night foray into the slums --stand with any similar scenes in all of the chronicles. They can be read aloud without a single hitch. Every word is in perfect place. The short chapter in which Lestat describes his love for Rowan Mayfair was for me a totally realized poem. There are other such scenes in this book. You don't get all this? Fine. But I experienced an intimacy with the character in those scenes that shattered all prior restraints, and when one is writing one does have to continuously and courageously fight a destructive tendency to inhibition and restraint. Getting really close to the subject matter is the achievement of only great art. Now, if it doesn't appeal to you, fine. You don't enjoy it? Read somebody else. But your stupid arrogant assumptions about me and what I am doing are slander. And you have used this site as if it were a public urinal to publish falsehood and lies. I'll never challenge your democratic freedom to do so, and yes, I'm answering you, but for what it's worth, be assured of the utter contempt I feel for you, especially those of you who post anonymously (and perhaps repeatedly?) and how glad I am that this book is the last one in a series that has invited your hateful and ugly responses. Now, to return to the narrative in question: Lestat's wanting to be a saint is a vision larded through and through with his characteristic vanity. It connects perfectly with his earlier ambitions to be an actor in Paris, a rock star in the modern age. If you can't see that, you aren't reading my work. In his conversation with the Pope he makes observations on the times which are in continuity with his observations on the late twentieth century in The Vampire Lestat, and in continuity with Marius' observations in that book and later in Queen of the Damned. The state of the world has always been an important theme in the chronicles. Lestat's comments matter. Every word he speaks is part of the achievement of this book. That Lestat renounced this saintly ambition within a matter of pages is plain enough for you to see. That he reverts to his old self is obvious, and that he intends to complete the tale of Blackwood Farm is also quite clear. There are many other themes and patterns in this work that I might mention -- the interplay between St.Juan Diago and Lestat, the invisible creature who doesn't "exist" in the eyes of the world is a case in point. There is also the theme of the snare of Blackwood Farm, the place where a human existence becomes so beguiling that Lestat relinquishes his power as if to a spell. The entire relationship between Lestat and Uncle Julien is carefully worked out. But I leave it to readers to discover how this complex and intricate novel establishes itself within a unique, if not unrivalled series of book. There are things to be said. And there is pleasure to be had. And readers will say wonderful things about Blood Canticle and they already are. There are readers out there and plenty of them who cherish the individuality of each of the chronicles which you so flippantly condemn. They can and do talk circles around you. And I am warmed by their response. Their letters, the papers they write in school, our face to face exchanges on the road -- these things sustain me when I read the utter trash that you post. But I feel I have said enough. If this reaches one reader who is curious about my work and shocked by the ugly reviews here, I've served my goals. And Yo, you dude, the slang police! Lestat talks like I do. He always has and he always will. You really wouldn't much like being around either one of us. And you don't have to be. If any of you want to say anything about all this by all means Email me at Anneobrienrice @ mac.com. And if you want your money back for the book, send it to 1239 First Street, New Orleans, La, 70130. I'm not a coward about my real name or where I live. And yes, the Chronicles are no more! Thank God!"
This post generated a great deal of publicity online -- partly because authors rarely post or respond to reviews on Amazon, and partly because of the tone and nature of her text. Many previous reviews had criticized the quality of writing in Blood Canticle as lazy or shoddy; so when Rice replied by posting a 1,200-word paragraph wherein she proudly dismisses the utility of editors, the incident became fodder for weblogs and Internet sites.
- Interview with the Vampire (1976)
- The Vampire Lestat (1985)
- The Queen of the Damned (1988)
- The Tale of the Body Thief (1992)
- Memnoch The Devil (1995)
- The Vampire Armand (1998)
- Merrick (2000)
- Blood and Gold (2001)
- Blackwood Farm (2002)
- Blood Canticle (2003)
New Tales of the Vampires: (Other vampire tales which are not within the main sequence, but in the same fictional world)
- The Feast of All Saints (1979)
- Cry to Heaven (1982)
- The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned (1989)
- Servant of the Bones (1996)
- Violin (1997)
The Christ Series:
- Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt - Anne has suggested there will be three sequels to this work
- October 4th, 1948
- Nicholas and Jean
- The Master of Rampling Gate (Vampire Story)
Work written under the pseudonym Anne Rampling:
Erotica written under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure:
- Anne Rice's official website
- Reviews written by Anne Rice on amazon.com
- Anne Rice's new book Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt
- Two audio interviews (1985 and 1988) of Anne Rice - RealAudio
- Anne Rice: Do You Know What It Means to Lose New Orleans? (regarding Hurricane Katrina)
- Anne Rice Timeline