I like to read, as you’ll all have worked out by now 🙂 and I decided a few months ago that it would be a nice touch for Flora’s Musings… to have some author interviews; whose stories are in my favourite genres; I’ve enjoyed finding out more about them and I hope you do too.
I found this interview with Anne Rice on the Goodreads site that they did years ago, November 2008! I still remember reading Interview With A Vampire when I was a teenager and revelling in horror stories and I know that she is/was a favourite author in the vampire genre for many.
“The supernatural world has always been more real to me than the real world. I feel a great surge of energy when I acknowledge that there is a world beyond this one. In my early novels I made up stories about forces that I sensed. Now I write about faith in something in which I completely believe.”
In 2004, Anne Rice shocked her fan base with an unexpected plot twist. After 20 bestsellers, the pre-Stephenie Meyer Queen of the Vampires announced that she would never again write about the supernatural characters of her popular series, the Vampire Chronicles, and that all of her future work would be dedicated to her newfound religious faith. This abrupt change stunned and even angered many readers. Some had followed Rice’s work from the first creepy moment of Interview With the Vampire, when Louis begged Lestat, “Kill me.” In her new memoir, Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession, Rice describes her spiritual journey and the price it exacts. She spoke with Goodreads about her continued allegiance to her previous work and what she’s writing next.
Goodreads: Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession is your first nonfiction book and your first memoir. What motivated you to write autobiographically at this stage of your career?
Anne Rice: The memoir was almost a response to requests. I had received hundreds of emails asking me to tell the story of my conversion in detail. Also, I felt a strong impulse to describe the church of my childhood in the ’40s and ’50s, which many people today know nothing about. I wanted to present one person’s journey to Christ, and I thought it was a unique journey. The memoir poured out in a spontaneous way. I had pondered these matters for a very long time.
GR: Was it difficult to transition from fiction writing to autobiography?
AR: I found it very hard to write an autobiography. I am naturally a fiction writer, and visiting memories was painful for me. In fiction I do something with those memories to exorcise the pain, but in the memoir I was trying to report, and it was difficult.
GR: You have become known for crafting complex psychology for otherworldly characters, such as vampires or witches. Why do you think you are drawn to the supernatural world for storytelling?
AR: The supernatural world has always been more real to me than the real world. I feel a great surge of energy when I acknowledge that there is a world beyond this one. In my early novels I made up stories about forces that I sensed. Now I write about faith in something in which I completely believe.
GR: You’ve been adamant about not repudiating your past work, despite your present shift in focus. Please share with us why characters like Lestat, Louis, or the Mayfair witches remain important to you.
AR: My old novels and characters were sincerely created and deeply felt, and also I think these novels and characters are complex and these novels mirror a pathway to Christ. I think they retain tremendous value for readers, especially young readers who may not be willing to pick up a book about Christianity. There is a moral compass in these novels, and the grief for a lost faith, and the search for redemption — these are the main themes. I remain a believer in them, though they are partial and flawed. They have some sort of power because of their sincerity and because of their depth.
GR: Your fans enjoy your significant Web presence: You maintain an active website, AnneRice.com, your own YouTube channel, and even share book and film reviews on Amazon. Is it rewarding to interact with readers in this way?
AR: I find my Web interaction very rewarding, and emails have pierced my loneliness as a writer. I am homebound now due to health, and YouTube has given me a marvelous way to interact. I treasure emails and answer as many as I can. I think we are just beginning to tap the Internet where books are concerned. Most publishers are just beginning to understand what can be done. Right now, I think we are a little ahead of the curve with our library of YouTube videos, our website, and other measures. We continue to grow and invent and move forward. All authors want to be read. All authors want to communicate. We are in an Internet revolution, and communication is central to it.
GR: After finishing the Christ the Lord series, which you’ve mentioned will have two more books to form a quartet, what’s next?
AR: The third book in the Christ the Lord series will take me considerable time as it has to do with the ministry of Christ on the road to Jerusalem. So I have been working on another Christian series about angels on earth. It is dedicated to Christ, and I hope it will break some new ground. I am a natural if not compulsive storyteller.
GR: There is a deep historical relationship between art and religion, especially in Catholicism. In addition to dedicating your personal life to your faith, you have also specifically dedicated your artistic work as a writer. Why have you taken this extra step?
AR: I dedicated my work to Christ because this was the best way I knew to serve Him. I wanted to give myself to Him, and this seemed the best and most complete way. The Gospels tell us that if we want to be perfect, we should give up all we own and follow Christ. I didn’t have the courage to do that. But I felt I could give him all my work. And so I did.
GR: Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
AR: I write as much as possible. Best time is late morning or early afternoon. I don’t write at night unless I have to. I have to write in spurts and then rest. It’s the only way I can work now.
GR: What are you reading now? What are some of your favorite books and authors?
AR: I read mostly nonfiction. Right now I am reading a great deal of European history, and of course my biblical studies continue day in and day out. I read Scripture, I read commentaries, and I read books on the different time periods of my novels. I read archaeological books as well. I read very little contemporary fiction. I’m too slow at it. And I’m in my own world.