Over the years, much has been written about the vanity of writers. And while it may be somewhat true, there are certainly those authors who have never written a page in the hopes of fame and fortune; those who simply write for the sheer joy of seeing the inner workings of their imagination displayed on the page.
Anne Rice, iconic author of over 30 novels including, “The Vampire Chronicles”, “The Lives of the Mayfair Witches” and “The Wolf Gift Chronicles” is one of those authors who gets more pleasure from the actual joy of sitting in front of a computer and writing, than any accolades that come after.
With the forthcoming publication of her latest novel “Prince Lestat” scheduled for release on October 28th, 2014, we here at the “Anne Rice Examiner” thought we’d ask Mrs. Rice some questions on what she considers her place in literary history, as well as, what she hopes readers will say about her work in the future.
Here, as always, are her open and honest answers to our questions:
1 - Do you ever consider your place in history as one of America's foremost female authors? Why or why not?
There is no point in thinking about that. It's my experience that contemporary critics are notoriously wrong about living authors --- who is great, who isn't --- and that only time reveals who was foremost and who is memorable. I try not to think any more about how I'm ranked by canon makers or self-appointed literary gate keepers. I put my faith fully and completely in the reading public and always have. And I accept their judgment.
2 - What do you hope people will say about your work say fifty years from now?
I hope they say they love it, enjoy it, and can't forget it ---- that it's beautiful and that it has meaning. But how will I ever know what they say? I hope my work endures; I hope it transcends. I hope it is valued later on. But we are all insulated from the judgments of posterity.
3 - Is there one particular book or story that you feel you must tell to complete your writing journey?
Actually, I have many stories left to tell; ideas; dreams. I can't foresee ever being satisfied, ever feeling that I'm finished. I am happy with what I've achieved so far. I certainly don't feel my life has been wasted. But there is so much more to do. I want to write more about the lost civilization of Atlantis, more about ghosts, more about suffering and right and wrong, and how we cope with a seemingly random biological universe. I want to write more about types of personality, types of suffering and types of transcendence. I want to write more erotica. I take my erotica very seriously, more seriously perhaps than most readers would imagine, and I want to do more in that field. When I'm writing my erotica I feel close to vital yet hidden truths in a way I don't always feel when writing about other things. There is a thrilling anguish and risk involved in writing erotica. I have more to say about everything.
4 - Out of over thirty novels, which of your books would you say best represented the author in terms of how much of yourself was written into the story?
In a very real way, I am in all my characters. I would say Louis in "Interview with the Vampire" was certainly me when I wrote it. I became Lestat later when I wrote about him. But the novel, "Pandora" has a great deal of me in Pandora, especially as she argues with the more rational and often domineering Marius who censures so much of what she feels and believes. Again, it's hard to say. No work has ever completely represented me in any autobiographical sense. I am in all my characters.
5 - Which of your novels gave you the most trouble writing, for any reason and why?
"The Vampire Lestat" was one of the hardest. I was blocked near the end for almost a year. Why, I'm not sure. Then after describing the entire novel to my sister during a visit to Texas, I came back home and shot through the block to write the last 311 pages in a matter of weeks.
6 - Have you ever considered collaborating with another author on a novel? Why or why not?
I can't collaborate. I've tried. Doesn't work. I have to be in total control on all levels. I must possess the novel. It has to be mine. I'm hyper sensitive to any input on a novel. Always have been.
7 - To what do you attribute your steadfast optimism especially when dealing with negative outside forces or everyday tragedies?
After 72 years on this earth, I can only conclude I was born optimistic. I see no other explanation for my steadfast belief that life is good, that we can transcend suffering, that we are always being given new opportunities and that we can make a difference. I don't even argue anymore with cynical people or pessimists. I simply do not see the world as they see it. I discuss, I offer ideas, but they always return to a "the sky is falling" template. And I never get it. I have had such a wonderful life; I have been so many places, done so many things, fulfilled so many dreams. But I have also suffered terrible losses, and I've never been without crippling anxiety and fear. It has to be innate. If it isn't innate, I don't know what it is.