Anne Rice is one of the most widely read authors of our time. Ms. Rice has sold almost 100 million copies of her books and many have been made into feature films. It was high time to talk angels and devils with this writer 'Of Love and Evil.'
Windy City Times: Hello, Anne. How are you?
Anne Rice: Great, I just tore into the artificial sweetener for the coffee here. I drink coffee all afternoon trying to stay awake. I don't know what is the matter with me lately. I keep wanting to sleep and dream, productive, but not as directly productive as staying awake, reading and writing, oh and doing interviews. [Laughs]
WCT: Do you still drink Tab?
Anne Rice: I don't. You know that I got myself off of it because it was so hard to find. I didn't want to be dependent on this one brand. Diet Coke does fine and Diet Pepsi. I made myself accept it.
WCT: I remember that from book signings a long time ago.
Anne Rice: Oh yeah, I used to travel with an ice chest of Tab. I would drive everyone crazy.
WCT: You were the J. Lo of your time [re diva demands]!
Anne Rice: "Anne has to have her Tab!" I heard an old lady in an airport once said, "Do you know Anne Rice takes a chest of Tab everywhere she goes?" and the other lady said, "If I was Anne Rice then I would do that too, I guess!"
WCT: Hilarious. I drove down to Tennessee once to make one of your signings for a vampire book because the line was so long in Chicago.
Anne Rice: There was a point when our signings were really huge. I think now with social media that is not the case anymore. Back then, people really wanted to see each other at the signings. They would turn out in droves.
WCT: You were so sweet and talked to people for a while.
Anne Rice: We did our best. Sometimes I felt like we were rushing people through. We did what we could. I did a couple of eight-hour signings.
WCT: Wow. It means a lot to fans.
Anne Rice: I really get a lot out of it, too. I will be doing a signing in Arizona in a couple of weeks.
WCT: Do you miss New Orleans?
Anne Rice: Oh, horribly. I will always miss New Orleans. But California is where I have to be now. I don't think I will ever be able to go back and live in New Orleans. I had a wonderful time there.
WCT: Do you still have a big Halloween party there?
Anne Rice: The Vampire Lestat Fan Club does it. Only one year did I actually take it over, and it was called The Memnoch Ballwhere, at the height, of it we had 8,000 people there that year. They always host it and they are still doing [it]. It is usually 300 or 400 people that attend every year. People come from all over the world to show off the costumes and be part of the event.
WCT: I read your latest book, Of Love and Evil. I had missed your style of writing since the last one I read.
Anne Rice: Well, that's good. I am glad to hear it. I really loved writing about this character Toby. I like the idea that you can be picked up out of the world by angels and moved around in time to help with answering prayers.
WCT: It's the second book in a series of angel books.
Anne Rice: Right, I am going to do a third but I am taking off to do another book. I am writing now about the ancient legends of Atlantis. It is about five immortals who come to the planet. I am having a great deal of fun with this one. It is getting bigger and bigger. I will go back to Toby O'Dare and the angels when I am finished with this. My brain is just exploding. If I die anytime soon it will be at this table reading and writing.
WCT: How much do you write a day?
Anne Rice: I don't really write finished pages every day. When I sit down to do the novel then I really don't stop, hardly at all. I can usually get 15 to 30 pages done a day, maybe more depending on where it's really going. Right now it's more scribbling, dashing to the computer and making notes. I have chapters done already but I had to stop and let this thing explode.
WCT: Do you wake up at night and write sometimes?
Anne Rice: I don't get out of bed and write but I do wake up when thinking about the novel and get almost shattering revelations that will come on the edge of sleep.
WCT: What advice do you have for writers?
Anne Rice: First of all, just write. Don't let anything stop you from getting the pages down. Writers are what they write. There is not a whole lot else to it. I think also to have courage. It is almost the same as having talent. You have to stand by that vision. You have to not cave to the people that criticize it or don't get it. You have to go on with it no matter how weird it seems, the more eccentric the better. You just need to keep going.
WCT: Would you ever write a biography?
Anne Rice: I did write a memoir called Out of Darkness. It is all about my Catholic childhood and going the church. It wasn't a full scale autobiography but there was a lot in there that was autobiographical. I would go back and write something but it would be big like a phone book so maybe more essays like that about various aspects of my experiences. I feel like I have some experiences to share so I do want to do that.
WCT: How do you feel about the movies made from your books?
Anne Rice: I think only two movies were based on my workInterview with a Vampire and the miniseries based on Feast of All Saints. The rest, Queen of the Damned and Exit to Eden, were not based on my work. The names were used but that was about it.
WCT: Are there more movies coming?
Anne Rice: I hope there are more coming. The rights to the vampire books are available again, free and clear. We are eager to talk to producers that can really make a movie. We are getting a lot of interest and we are in talks. This is a great time for us right now. The books were tied up with studios and we couldn't really do anything. I am hoping we will see new movies based on Lestat. I love movies like my soul and just adore certain directors like Ridley Scott. I am hoping something great will happen but I have nothing to report yet.
WCT: I heard there is a film version of Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt.
Anne Rice: That is in the works, too, with a really great director but I can't announce it yet. I really admire this director and we are working on the paperwork now. There is interest in Angel Time from Canada for a possible television series. It would show in America as well as Canada so that is exciting.
WCT: You have really taken a stand for gays right in the past and we all appreciate it.
Anne Rice: Great.
WCT: You must be so thrilled that your openly gay son, Christopher, turned out to be a writer also.
Anne Rice: We are really writer buddies. We talk a lot about our writing and we share the book world. I thought when he was growing up that he was going to be an actor. He was in plays when he was in preschool. He blossomed in high school with musicals and sometimes had the starring roles. I was very surprised when he became a novelist but very happy. We are very close. It is easy to love a child that makes you as proud as Christopher makes me.
WCT: I love that.
Anne Rice: We have a lot in common. We have done some events together. We just did one for a benefit at the West Hollywood Library. We talked about writing from the stage and took questions from the audience.
WCT: I noticed on Facebook that you have 170,000 friends now.
Anne Rice: I think we hit it today. We use that page in a unique way. We have serious discussions on there. I post links there and other people do too. We talk about politics, censorship, gay rights and healthcare. We talk about it all. It is sort of like having a radio station.
WCT: You are so approachable as a writer.
Anne Rice: I don't understand the attitude of some artists and writers that don't think people get what they do or don't like their own audience. I really think of my readers as part of my world. I have always loved meeting them and getting feedback. It is very organic for me.
To purchase Of Love and Evil along with other classic works by Anne Rice, visit www.annerice.com . For information on the Halloween party, visit vampirelestatfanclub.com .