November is Novel Writing Month, so to commemorate this event and because writing is one of my passions, I’m going to release blog posts highlighting a favorite author of mine each week whom I will refer to as the “Author of Honor!” I love to read and there are many writers I find influential, so to select only four is difficult, but I feel it’s better for me to focus on a small number rather than spread myself thin trying to feature one each day of the month. That would be ideal, but unfortunately not possible with my schedule. So, are you ready to find out the first Author of Honor?
I was around 15 when I read “Interview with the Vampire” and fell in love with Anne Rice. By that age, I had already developed an interest in vampires and gothic literature, so I guess it was inevitable that I would come across The Vampire Chronicles. I like to think it was fate. Around this time, I worked for a summer at an indie book shop and the owners had a signed copy of the first edition of “Interview with the Vampire” on display in a glass case. It was on sale for hundreds of dollars and every day I worked, I would gaze on it in admiration.
After sinking my teeth into that first novel, I couldn’t get enough of Anne Rice’s works. Her writing style and the images her words evoked really resonated with me. What she has done with the vampire mythology and how she has made it her own is astounding. I must remind myself that her stories are tales of fiction and not part of a greater historical mythos.
Born October 4, 1941 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Anne Rice has penned more than 30 novels and is best known for The Vampire Chronicles. “Interview with the Vampire,” her first novel published in 1976, was written while she was still grieving the loss of her five-year-old daughter to leukemia. She has spoken how this suffering influenced the themes of death and immortality in the storyline.
The author also released an erotica series called “Sleeping Beauty” under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure — which I have to say makes “Fifty Shades of Grey” look like child’s play — as well as “Exit to Eden” and “Belinda” under Anne Rampling.
For an in-depth look at the author in her own words, I highly recommend her autobiography “Called Out of Darkness.” Anne Rice gives an honest and intimate account of the spiritual awakening she was experiencing at this time, as well as her battle with alcoholism and the tragedies she has endured.
Many of you may know of the various film and television adaptations of her books, but does anyone recall when the “LESTAT” musical hit the stage in 2005? I had the fortune of attending the pre-Broadway premiere in San Francisco, California, at the Curran Theatre and it was magnificent! I still have the program and a t-shirt I bought that night. It had a brief run with a final performance in May 2006. Although “LESTAT” met with mixed reviews, the musical did mange to garner two Tony nominations. There is also a fan club dedicated to Lestat that hosts annual vampire balls in New Orleans, Louisiana.
After more than four decades of writing, Anne Rice is still going strong. In 2017, she and her son Christopher Rice, who is also a successful author, teamed up and published “Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra.” I attended the lecture and book signing at Barnes & Noble in Los Angeles, California, and got to meet the two! I was speechless and had no idea what to say when my turn came to have my book signed. What do you say to the woman who has inspired you to become a writer?
This past October, Anne Rice released the newest tale in The Vampire Chronicles, “Blood Communion” where she continues the story of the beloved Brat Prince Lestat. I’ll be starting this book soon and am very excited!
There are no words to fully express what an inspiration Anne Rice has been to me. Her novels motivated me to become a writer as a teen and are what propelled me to obtain both my bachelor and master’s degrees in literature. She instilled in me a deep appreciation for the written word and I can only hope to one day produce a work that will inspire others.
I hope you enjoyed this first installation in my Author of Honor series for Novel Writing Month. As always, I’d love to hear from you whether you’re an Anne Rice fan or are hearing about her for the first time!