Literary royalty comes to Dallas as Anne Rice promotes her long-awaited new novel, ‘Prince Lestat’
No pretenses here: I am unabashedly a huge fan of the fiction of Anne Rice. Have been for years. Her first entry in what is now called The Vampire Chronicles began in 1976 with the release of Interview with the Vampire, but it took the better part of a decade before she followed it up, with The Vampire Lestat, in 1985. By the late-1980s, however, her dark, romantic, and highly sexualized universe of the undead had caught on, and her name became synonymous with a kind of glamorous, brooding fiction about supernatural characters.
The length of time between her last installment in the Chronicles (2003’s Blood Canticle) and her newest (Prince Lestat, released just last month) is the longest gap between books in the canon since the initial two … and has fans licking their fangs in anticipation.
We chatted with Rice — who attended high school in Richardson, where she met her future husband, the late poet Stan Rice — before her appearance Tuesday signing copies of her new book.
Dallas Voice: You’ve come back to Lestat and the vampires after a 10-plus year absence. Do you expect to write about them again? Or is Prince Lestat likely to be the last one? Anne Rice: Absolutely [I intend to come back to them]. I see at least two more books continuing the story of Prince Lestat. There’s a lot happening as the book ends, and many open doors.
I don’t want to include any spoilers for fans who haven’t read Prince Lestat yet. But there are two new characters very closely tied to Lestat that are introduced. Can we perhaps expect to see them as main protagonists of books yet to come? Yes, and just about all the characters introduced will be developed more and there will be more to talk about. Much more.
If you write more vampire books, will you stay with the characters we already know, or do you think there will be all new characters to come? Or maybe you will take a character that played a small part in a previous book and focus on them specifically, like you did with Marius and Armand and Pandora, for example. I want to continue with large-scope books, involving these characters and perhaps more new ones.
That’s my approach now. I don’t want to return to the memoir books focusing on one character now — but maybe later on … much later on.
What about the world of The Witching Hour series? Will there be more books and Rowan and Michael and their family? I wouldn’t say no, but right now my mind is on Lestat and his friends. Some day maybe I can revisit the witches.
All of your books, whether part of a series or stand-alones like Servant of the Bones — which, by the way, is one of my favorites — involve very lush, very fully realized worlds all their own, and many of them span great stretches of time. How much time do you spend researching to really “get it right” when it comes to the historical times and places that you write about? How important is it to get historical details “right?” Or do you prefer to create your worlds with a history of their own? Research is very key with me — very — and often it’s not simply a matter of acquiring info; it is inspiring. Discovering a city, for instance, in ancient times, can inspire [me to write] a story or convolution in the existing story.
I know you have probably grown a bit tired over the years with all the questions about the “homoeroticism” in The Vampire Chronicles and other books. But I am still gonna ask: Do you think that the homoerotic elements of the Vampire Chronicles are really what has made them so popular in the LGBT community? Or do you think it is more the fact that you have made the heroes, or anti-heroes, of your stories be the ultimate outsiders, and that LGBT people identify with the outsiders? As I understand it, what made the books popular with gays is that they involve no gender prejudice, no condemnation of same-sex love and relationships. They are without any bias at all and they present same sex relationships as having the same dignity, integrity and depth as any other relationship.
Your son, author Christopher Rice, of course is gay. What’s your own relationship to your gay fans? I love the gay readers. Their reviews have been some of the very best.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 14, 2014.