An Interview with the Author - Anne Rice talks to Forbidden Planet

10 January 2017

1. Interview with the Vampire was first published in 1976. With the release of Twilight, and the continued excitement around the Prince Lestat novels, did you predict that the vampire genre would be so longstanding in literature?  Yes, without question.  I think we'll see lots of vampire novels and films for years to come.  Vampire literature is now established like the detective novel genre, or the American Western novel genre, or the spy novel genre.  One of the most exciting things that has happened in the last thirty years is that genres are now part of the mainstream.  Vampire novels, spy novels, Arthurian Romance novels --- these are valued and taken seriously, right along with realism.  

2. Do you draw inspiration from any current texts or real life cultural or political happenings when continuing to write the Prince Lestat vampire chronicles novels?  In a way, I'm pouring everything I know into my novels; I'm always responding to what is happening on the news, and in my mind spiritually.  I read a lot of non fiction on archaeology, anthropology, the mysteries of climate change in the last twelve thousand years and how it might have affected cultures and civilizations lost to us in great floods.  I love to read on the legend of Atlantis (obviously).  I love reading on theories of ancient aliens visiting the planet.   I am always reading, always studying...

 3. With Halloween drawing near, which well known vampires in literature, past and present, would you say are the most frightening? I think Dracula and Nosferatu are likely the most frightening vampires, but I hope there is room for a charming vampire, like my hero, Prince Lestat --- scary but beautiful. 

[if gte mso 9]> 4.  Although you write from the point of view of a non-human being that is generally viewed as the ‘adversary’ in other books or films and give us insight into their world, if you could write as another adversary, like a werewolf, a ghost or similar, which would you choose and why? Well, I've already written from the point of view of vampires, and ghosts, and spirits, and werewolves. And I've written from the point of view of the Devil, or some one claiming to be the devil.  I'm not sure what is left for me.  I think I would like to write from the point of view of elves or fairies. I introduced them in my book,  "The Wolves of Midwinter" but I didn't write from their point of view.  And also I would like to write from the point of views of Angels.  But are these figures adversaries?  I don't think so.   Hmmm.  A new adversary --- perhaps a lesser demon roped into the Devil's workshop against his will?  EndFragmentEndFragmentEndFragment

5.  Of all the genres and forms you have written, including erotic fiction, for the screen and non-fiction, do you have a preferred genre to write?  My favorite genre is the Vampire Novel.  Obviously.  I keep coming back to it.  I keep returning to the perspective of my hero, Lestat.  He has become the expression of my soul searching for meaning.  He embodies the bravery and the strength I wish I had.  I feel most at home writing through Lestat and about him. The Vampire has always been a metaphor for the outsider.  I feel like I'm an outsider.  I think most people are outsiders paradoxically.  And the vampire genre made me a writer. 

[if gte mso 9]> 6.  You have a huge, super dedicated fan base who attend your annual vampire ball in their droves; if you were an Anne Rice fan going to the ball, what would you wear?  If I were a fan going to the ball, I would dress as a vampire, of course. And it is so much fun to do this, to dress in black velvet with abundant white lace and pearls, and to wear scarlet lipstick and shadow one's eyes to make them mysterious.  Some of the most beautifully costumed people at the ball are vampires male and female.  But others come as ghosts, or spirits, or witches, and some even as mummies.  Being a mummy is difficult.  Again, for me, it's thrilling to don the glamour raiment of a vampire. 

7.  Your latest novel in the Vampire Chronicles series is steeped in the theme of the ocean; why what is it about the underwater element that compelled you to set this novel in otherwise unexplored territory?  Well, I'm in love with the legend of Atlantis.  And I've been very much inspired by Graham Hancock's wonderful books on the possibility that a huge shift in sea level over 11,000 years ago may have drowned coastal civilizations all over the planet.  I find Hancock a marvelous writer.  He gave huge resonance to the possibility of Atlantis for me with his beautifully chronicled explorations and diving expeditions.  And of course Plato.  I keep going back to Plato.   I felt I had to do my own Atlantis novel, my own version of this much idealized ancient civilization.  One thing I objected to in the legend and much of the channeled versions of the story is the idea that Atlantis perished due to its own corruption or flirtation with evil.  I wanted to offer another view to that or at least raise questions as to why it was destroyed.    Other writers on the topic have inspired me too, of course, but I think really it was Hancock that started it all for me because he offered proof that there truly might have been such an ancient civilization lost to us through a great flood.   I was not able to make my Atlantis novel work, however until I introduced it to my vampires.  Once I did that, everything worked for me like magic. 

Interview by Candice Carty-Williams