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Anne Rice answers your questions

Anne Rice

You asked, she answered!

Anne Rice, iconic author of “The Vampire Chronicles”, “The Lives of the Mayfair Witches” and her latest, “Prince Lestat”, scheduled for release on October 28, 2014 has once again listened to the questions posed by her most ardent fans and has answered in her normally candid and honest way.

Asked by the “People of the Page”, Mrs. Rice’s nickname for her more than one million Facebook followers, the author who just yesterday put the finishing touches on another novel has always welcomed the opportunity to interact with her fans.

The “Anne Rice Examiner” thanks everyone who sent their questions. They were wonderful. If your question is not among this set, rest assured, with a little luck and the gift of Anne’s time, there will be another interview containing your questions very soon.

For your pleasure and interest, Anne Rice:

1 - When you were writing the Sleeping Beauty books, what kind of research did you do? Did you get as involved with those characters as the ones in the vampire novels? – Hilary Hellums

The Sleeping Beauty novels were a tribute to the erotic imagination and I was more interested in the erotic imagination than any kind of behavior in the real world. So I did not do much research. I had read a great deal of Victorian era flagellation erotica and I knew the perceived "rules" and "limits" of the genre, however and I did set out to break or transcend the rules.

2 - Do you knowingly or unknowingly put your family members into your novels? – Melissa Wilson

I never consciously think of my family members or any real person when writing. I draw on all my knowledge and experience as I go into my own creative world, and even thinking too much in terms of the origin of a character can block me. I see my characters as blends of everything I know at the time they are born. Only in retrospect can I comfortably see how my husband inspired Lestat, or my daughter inspired Claudia. I can't think of such things while actually writing. My characters become distinct and utterly real to me. They must. Or I can't work.

3 - I would like to ask Lady Anne to talk about naming her characters. – Brandi Majors

Naming is one of the biggest challenges I face especially as I go on. In the beginning it was easy to give characters names I loved. But once my favorite names were exhausted, then I had to search for names. I am always collecting names, scribbling them down in the back of my diary, checking "baby name sites" on the web for new and inspiring names. I can't really see or feel a character till that character has a name. And it might take me several days to discover just the right name --- a name I haven't used before, a name that makes me feel very good about the character, a name I love to hear on the lips of other characters and so forth and so on. It's fun, it's a challenge...I love it. And sometimes a character is born magically from the discovery of a great name.

4 - My potential question: Have there been any story ideas for a book you really wanted to nurse along to completion and it just didn't gel the way you were hoping it would? – Frank Zubek

Absolutely. I have books die early on because the story just didn't grow as I hoped. Developing a story idea in the abstract is no guarantee that a novel can be born from it, at least, not with me. What makes a novel for me is the birth of characters. But most of the time what happens is the story just grows into something new and surprising that is infinitely more exciting than the original idea. I not only let that happen; I count on it. I've never struggled to nurture a story to completion at the expense of the characters. The characters come first for me and it is through them that I discover the story.

5 - Something that I have always wanted to ask: When you were a little girl and had to write stories for school, were you as great (age appropriate) then as you are now? – Teresa Smith-Dougherty

I am under the belief that talent does not just happen overnight. I don't recall ever having to write a creative story for school except once and I don't recall anyone being the least interested. When I was discovered writing in secret during class, it was held to be a fault, a disciplinary problem. So I have no experience at all in that area. In college, the story I wrote as a freshman was rejected by the literary magazine. I was told it wasn't a story. And my creative writing in English class didn't make A's because my sentences were too long. It was not a conducive environment to writing. I was told that I wasn't a real writer because I used a typewriter not a pen. It was the usual hostile environment that many writers encounter. One has to move on. I did write two long stories when I was a kid (I called them novels), one in the fifth grade and one in the seventh, and my schoolmates loved those stories and praised them to the skies. My parents were pretty impressed too. I don't recall even wanting to show them to teachers. I would say my work was sloppy and displayed originality from the start. My father's feedback was often very critical and not particularly appropriate for my kind of mind. He gave the standard advice: write about normal people and write about what you know. I have no interest in normal people. Never did. I don't do pedestrian realism about people I know. Doesn't work for me. So that advice was something that had to be ignored.

6 - Your vampires are stopped at a given age, all vampires I suppose, no matter what age they stop at their mind continues to grow and expand but their bodies don't, if I could have frozen my body in time I would have chosen thirty-eight, what age would you choose? – Sam Morrison

For the body? Hmmm. Twenty, twenty-four or five. Those are the ages of Lestat and Louis. That's significant. I could have made them any age.

7 - You've experience some devastating losses in your life: death of a child, alcoholism, losing a spouse, losing a home etc. Is there any one thing that helps you through it? – Fab Brandt

Optimism has always helped me. I'm an optimistic liberal by nature. I always believe there are excellent chances that things will get better, that I can make things better, that I can overcome loss and tragedy and change my fate for the better. I'm a person who has sustained terrible losses yet I have fulfilled many many dreams. I don't know how to be any other way. Cynicism and pessimism grate on my nerves. They strike me as unrealistic and self-defeating, and I don't like those points of view. I have real trouble being patient and kind to cynical people and pessimistic people. I can't figure out what they really want. ---- I love being a writer, because writers invent themselves, and they do it with a minimum of equipment, and they can achieve great things on their own against tremendous odds. I remember people telling me once that getting published was near hopeless, that I had no idea of the competition, that nobody could break in, blah blah blah. When I'm across the table from someone giving me all this negative advice, all I can think of is "what are you talking about? What are you telling me to do? Quit? Don't try? What's the point?" The strange thing about pessimists and cynical people to me is that they are so unrealistic. They're living in a world full of successful writers, actors, musicians, painters in the news every day who prove the power of the individual to come out of nowhere and become the artist of his or her dreams. Yet they don't "see" this. Sometimes I think cynical people and pessimists are dark romantics believing in their own dark fantasy. I feel sorry for them.

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