One of the world’s most beloved authors, Anne Rice is known for her epic and groundbreaking novels on the supernatural. Considered one of the most influential writers of vampire fiction since Stoker, she not only entertains her readers, but she gives them a tale that they will never forget. Rich in history, philosophy and remarkable characters her books capture you and don’t let you go. The undisputed Queen of Vampires continues to be one of my all time favorite authors, I can still remember the very moment I first picked up Interview with the Vampire (and I can’t say that for many authors).
Born Howard Allen O’Brien on October 4, 1941, the second daughter in a Catholic Irish American family, Anne spent most of her early life in New Orleans, Louisiana. When asked about her strange birth name Rice has said:
“My birth name is Howard Allen because apparently my mother thought it was a good idea to name me Howard. My father’s name was Howard, she wanted to name me after Howard, and she thought it was a very interesting thing to do.”
On her first day of school she changed her name to Anne and it has stuck ever since.
In 1958, when Rice was 16, her father moved the family to Richardson, Texas. This was where Anne met her future husband, Stan Rice. Rice graduated from Richardson High School in 1959 and began college at Texas Woman’s University in Denton and later North Texas State College. She then moved with Stan to San Francisco for a year where she attended San Francisco State University and obtained a B.A. in Political Science. Anne returned to Denton to marry Stan. He became an instructor at San Francisco State shortly after receiving his M.A. there. Stan published many books of poetry, and later, after the couple’s return to New Orleans in 1989, painted over three hundred paintings in the attic of their Garden District home. Rice was married to her beloved for 41 years until his death in 2002.
Stan and Anne’s daughter Michele was born on September 21, 1966, and died of leukemia on August 5, 1972. Her son Christopher Rice was born in Berkeley, California, in 1978 and is a best selling author himself.
Anne Rice first novel, Interview with the Vampire, was published in 1976. The book was the first in her popular Vampire Chronicles series, which includes 1985’s The Vampire Lestat and 1988’s The Queen of the Damned and many more. Interview with the Vampire was made into a film in 1996 starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. Rice was also known for her nonvampiric novels as well.
Anne returned to the Catholic Church in 1998, and in 2002 consecrated her writing entirely to Christ, vowing to write about only Him. However, she remains passionately loyal to the readers of her earlier works. Her novel Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt was published in 2008 and was followed by Christ the Lord, the Road to Cana.
From Anne Rice’s official website:
“I completed the Vampire Chronicles in 2002 with the writing of Blood Canticle. This novel marks the end of my journey with Lestat and his friends. It also marks the end of my journey with the Mayfair Witches and the Taltos. The novel does not attempt an artificial finale, or wrap up, but presents Lestat and others as moving on in time. The novel also reflects a profound moral change in Lestat.
In 2002, I experienced a new spiritual beginning, and my writing inevitably changed. New challenges presented themselves and new novels were the result.
I remain proud of the Vampire Chronicles and the stories of the Mayfair Witches, and I remain close to the readers of these books. But I have no more stories to tell with the Vampires or the Mayfair Witches, and cannot write about these characters anymore. To attempt to do so would be dishonest. I think the eleven novels of the Vampire Chronicles are best enjoyed as a complete and finished work.”
She has since left New Orleans to live in Southern California in an effort to live a simpler life.
On July 29, 2010, on her Facebook page, Rice publicly renounced her dedication to her Roman Catholic faith, while remaining committed to Christ:
“For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.”
Later she added:
“In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.”
Anne continues to be very active on her Facebook page and even personally answers all of her fan mail (which is another reason I love her so much).
Anne Rice’s life is full of love, tragedy, controversy and excellent stories. Her commitment to her fans, her strength and her moving novels continue to make her one of the greatest authors of all time and one extraordinary woman.