Lestat is Back: Anne Rice on Writing

By Sumiko Saulson

Photo Credit: Becket

Photo Credit: Becket

The year 2014 has been a spectacular one for Anne Rice. Universal Pictures optioned her entire Vampire Chronicles series for a motion picture reboot starting with Interview with a Vampire. Her beloved Byronic hero, the Vampire Lestat has returned to the literary world, and is the hero of her newest work, Prince Lestat, released October 28, 2014. Her son Christopher Rice is writing horror and has a new release, The Vines. On her release date, they ranked side by side at #4 and #5 on the Amazon Rankings for horror. It is safe to say that the seventy-three year old author is making a comeback in a big way. Anne Rice is generally associated with two geographic locations, New Orleans, where she was born, and San Francisco, where she launched her career as a novelist. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Political Science, and her husband Stan Rice taught there. Berkeley was also a major part of her life in the Bay Area. She was a PhD candidate in Berkeley, and her son Christopher was born here. She left Berkeley in 1988, but the Bay Area continues to appear frequently in her work, most recently in the The Wolf Gift and Wolves of Midwinter. On the occasion of her book release, this reporter got in touch with Anne Rice via email where we chatted on the subject of writing. This is what she had to say.

On Education: “I majored in Political Science and got my B.A. in it, but made up an undergrad English major when I got my M.A. in Creative Writing. I was such a slow reader. It took me years to be able to read Shakespeare and Chaucer for pleasure. But ALL of it goes into everything I write. ” On ADD: “I read slowly and write fast, and daydreaming and distractibility is a factor. I read a book once on Attention Deficit Disorder and it talked about how we ADD people love obsession because obsession focuses us and stops the chaos. An ADD person can turn on the news on a long multi-hour drive and become an expert on a political situation by the time he reaches his destination because the news focuses him. I am exactly this way. Writing does shut out the daydreaming and all distractions, and feels smooth, obsessive, magical, totally absorbing. On Reading: “It took me years to read for pure pleasure. I can do it now, lock onto a Jack Reacher thriller in the airport and on the plane, and blot out the world, but it took years.”

On Daydreaming: “I’m an intense daydreamer, with a huge paracosm of characters in a city and country of my imagination that have been developing in my head since early childhood. They are always with me. I can slip into their world anywhere anytime and ignore distractions and madness around me. Again, the paracosm, like writing, like obsessions, focuses my feverish mind. If the daydream world is out of reach for some reason, and so are books and writing, I can be anxious, crazed, worn down, restless, cranky, anguished, etc. ” On Writing: “Now on writing, I trust totally to what I’m hearing and feeling. I edit as I go, and try to work in final draft as though the pages will be snatched away at midnight and set in type. I had to develop that way of working early on to get anything done, working in “the final draft” all the time. This has been modified now in that I roam back and forth on the computer daily refining, adding, bringing up to date, but I still advance in the ‘final draft.’ If I were to attempt anything but ‘the final draft,’ chaos would reign.” According to her press statements and Facebook page, the long-awaited Prince Lestat, the latest installment in the Vampire Chronicles takes place in the wake of the events of Queen of the Damned. Several beloved characters from that novel and fan favorites are promised to make a comeback. These include Louis, Armand, David Talbot, Pandora, Marius, Gabrielle, and the twins Maharet and Mekare.

On Writing: “Now on writing, I trust totally to what I’m hearing and feeling. I edit as I go, and try to work in final draft as though the pages will be snatched away at midnight and set in type. I had to develop that way of working early on to get anything done, working in “the final draft” all the time. This has been modified now in that I roam back and forth on the computer daily refining, adding, bringing up to date, but I still advance in the ‘final draft.’ If I were to attempt anything but ‘the final draft,’ chaos would reign.” According to her press statements and Facebook page, the long-awaited Prince Lestat, the latest installment in the Vampire Chronicles takes place in the wake of the events of Queen of the Damned. Several beloved characters from that novel and fan favorites are promised to make a comeback. These include Louis, Armand, David Talbot, Pandora, Marius, Gabrielle, and the twins Maharet and Mekare.

Anne Rice, affectionately known by her fans as The Queen of Social Media, 
is open and accessible on Facebook and frequently directly answers questions on her page. 
You can find out more about her book, or connect with her on social media via her website 
www.annerice.com.

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