Anne Rice: Biography

Anne Rice: Biography

Katharine Nelson

Anne Rice was born and raised in New Orleans, and uses the cityin many of her novels. Her mother died when she was young, andher first child died at the age of five from leukemia in 1972. She has another child with her husband Stan, of 34 years. Herson Christopher is twenty years old. Her husband Stan writespoetry and paints. Some of his work can be found in Queenof the Damned. Anne has a Master of Arts in creative writingfrom San Francisco State University. Interview with the Vampirewas her first novel, published in 1976.

In an interview with Larry King after the release of Memnochthe Devil, Rice explained her fascination with vampires. She said that the vampires were a vehicle for her to explore herown views on life, good, evil, and religion. The vampires area natural metaphor for people because of their affluence, powers,and greed. Lestat, the main vampire in the chronicles, is describedas Rice’s bad-self, questioning the boundaries of good and evil,and helping her to overcome her anxiety. When she first beganthe series she compared herself to Louis, a weak and overly sensitivevampire, but as time passed and the series grew she saw some changesin her own feelings and came to relate with the character of Lestat.

Lestat . . . it’s hard to describe Lestat. Lestat, in a way, ismy whole life, because even when I’m not writing about Lestat,I’m looking at the world through Lestat’s eyes, and it’s Lestatwho has made me a world traveler. Lestat who’s transported meout of myself, and my preoccupation with my limitations, bothphysical and spiritual. Lestat is more than just a created characterto me. He is a symbol of some kind of freedom and dominance, andyet I never kid myself about his evil. He represents the ruthlessside in us, but he’s part of my thoughts night and day. And, partof my conversation night and day, I suppose. Almost everythingI see, I ask myself “What would Lestat think of this . .. how would Lestat react to this,” so I would say that heis the other half of me, but he is the male ruthless half of methat, thank God, does not exist, except in fiction.

Anne Rice’s vampires have created a cult following. The widevariety of web sites and information available about these charactersis a good indication of their popularity. People are lookingfor something to follow, someone to admire, and many have associatedthese feelings with the vampire Lestat. He offers a way for peopleto explore deep questions and to live on the edge of life, withoutactually taking the risk themselves. Lestat experiences manythings that mortals have experienced and he continues to liveon. It gives us all hope that we will one day reach a place ofcontented bliss, even though Lestat never reaches it himself. Many people are fascinated with the idea of immortality. Oftenpeople say they would like to live forever, but it is also comfortingto know that it will never happen. I think this is also a wayof exploring our own beliefs about death and the afterlife.

Rice’s style is appealing because it is easy to read and verydescriptive. The images appear in your mind as you read. Thesimplicity combined with the sometimes complex emotions createsa book for the masses that is easily adapted into a cult following. Rice offers answers to reader’s questions at one of her web sites. These give some insight into her own views on why the books havegained so much popularity.

“Why do you think that your fans are so attracted to theconcept of tormented immortality?”
— Frank Joseph D. fromCalifornia

Rice answered:
“Well, I think we all want to be immortal. We all want tobe immortal, yet we’re all relieved that there is the possibilityof death…that suffering would not be eternal. We can conceiveof the eternal, but we really don’t have to put up with it, andit’s an idea…an idea planted in our minds with consciousness,and we don’t know what to make of it all. We don’t know what tomake of the fact that we can conceive of being immortal, and yetwe’re not immortal.”

“The thing that I find more often than not, is that thereis a part of almost all those characters in us, either at previousstages of our lives, or right now, and that would be to me theexplanation as to why so many people, from so many different backgrounds,have taken THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES, and given these vampires aspecial place in their hearts.”
— Luke C. from Australia

Rice answered:
“Well, I really treasure your comment. I think that if anyliterature or any story telling is going to have value, what yousay has to be true the characters have to have hearts of humanbeings in them, they have to have deeply human traits. The authorhas to be telling everything that he or she knows about humanbeings, and so there must be levels and levels of truth, and Ihope my books live up to that.”

“Why does everyone connect so much with Lestat? Why do Icatch myself still thinking about him, over a year after I readthe books?”
— Beary L. from Ontario

Rice answered:
“I wish I knew. I know I, myself, identify completely withLestat. I can say Lestat is my other self, he’s my male self.He and I travel together. He does the things I wish I could do,but can’t. I love the fact that people identify with him. I workedvery hard, and at the same time, it was a great joy to get a veryintimate voice in the Lestat books. Lestat really sounds likehe’s sitting at the table, talking to you, because that’s theway I feel about him when I’m writing–that he’s right there,telling me the story, leaning over my shoulder, telling me toget it right, pointing out things I should change, breathing downmy neck, doing everything but biting me! Which he wouldn’t dare!”

Vampires Frontpage