Although best known for her vampire fiction, author Anne Rice has ventured into many different areas throughout her writing career. Born Howard Allen O’Brien (Howard being her father’s name and Allen being her mother’s maiden name), Anne Rice told a nun on her first day of Catholic school that her name was Anne, simply because she liked it and thought it was a pretty name. The name has stuck with her ever since, and she has created vampire, gothic and Christian fiction throughout the four decades of her writing career. Before creating these literary works, Anne Rice earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from San Francisco State University.
Although she currently resides in California, Anne Rice was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She considers New Orleans to be her true home, and this city serves as the setting for many of her books, including the Mayfair Witches series and Blackwood Farm. Along with these works, the rich variety of Anne Rice’s books include the Vampire Chronicles series, Cry to Heaven, The Feast of All Saints, Servant of the Bones, Violin, the Christ the Lord series and Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession, which is her spiritual autobiography. Interview With the Vampire has become one of the best-selling novels of all time and was made into a feature film in 1994, starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and a young Kirsten Dunst. Two other books in the Vampire Chronicles series combined together to make the feature film Queen of the Damned, which appeared in theaters in 2002.
Interview With the Vampire offers its readers a unique perspective when they read it because the book allows them to see things “through the vampire’s eyes.” Anne Rice was one of the first authors to give her readers this experience, and the vampire characters are not complete monsters. When the character Louis narrates over two centuries of his life throughout the novel, he reveals his thoughts, feelings and memories, and this allows the reader to take a journey throughout time. This novel also shows its readers how important family and love are in one’s life.
Before becoming a best-selling author, Anne Rice faced heartache and personal loss. In Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession, Anne Rice describes the death of her mother from alcoholism when she was just 15 years old. She tells her readers that as the lid of her mother’s coffin closed, she realized that the light she had taken for granted in her life every day was now gone. Sixteen years later, Anne Rice’s daughter died from leukemia right before her sixth birthday. Anne Rice suffered a tremendous amount of hurt, but she did not allow this heartache to stop her from realizing the importance of love. Before Claudia’s horrific death at the end of Interview With the Vampire, she is treated and loved like a daughter by the two adult vampires, Louis and Lestat. She is not their biological child, but they love her and take care of her as if she was their own. There is love between these individuals, and this is what ties them together and unites them as a family. These two men and this little girl show that people do not need to be genetically related to each other to be a family, because as long as the love is there, that is all that really matters.
Throughout the four decades of her writing career, Anne Rice has created a variety of memorable and unique characters, from the bold Mona Mayfair to the wise vampire Pandora to introspective Quinn of Blackwood Farm (my favorite character). Whether human or vampire, these characters all have different personalities, and they share their unique and touching stories with readers. Although she has already written over 30 books, Anne Rice continues to create memorable characters, and she takes readers on a journey through the characters’ rich narratives.