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INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE: CLAUDIA’S STORY by Anne Rice, art by Ashley Witter

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A richly-illustrated adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, told through the eyes of the vampire Claudia, who was just a little girl when she was turned by the vampire Lestat. Though she spends many years of happiness with her two vampire fathers, she gradually grows discontent with their insistence upon treating her like a little girl, even though she has lived as long as any mortal man…and her lust to kill is certainly no less than theirs…

This is big!!! I've spotlighted other artists, but since Ashley Witter and I have an acquaintance it's a particular pleasure. This is Witter's first full-length graphic novel; Yen Press publishing director Kurt Hassler found her work on Deviantart and reached out to her via her website.

It was big news last year when Yen Press announced that it had signed a deal to create a graphic novel based on Anne Rice's novel Interview with the Vampire. MTV Geek got the exclusive first look in February at the cover of the graphic novel, Interview with the Vampire: Claudia's Story, illustrated by newcomer Ashley Marie Witter. Ashley told them in that interview that she was doing extensive research to get the costumes and settings just right:

“I started by collecting a lot of resources from the era and tried to incorporate some of the historic ethnicity into their features and costumes. Over time as I became familiar with the story, the characters evolved more and more to fit their personalities. Typically when I work on comics I feel like my characters grow into themselves. So the final designs really come out once I’ve come back to them enough times.”

Yen's adaptation changes the point of view of the story: Rice's original novel was narrated by a vampire named Louis, but the graphic novel is told from the point of view of Claudia, a young girl whom Louis makes into a vampire. Rice was totally on board with the change when MTV Geek interviewed her for Publishers Weekly:

"I have gone all through The Vampire Chronicles writing from the point of view of different characters, so it is completely legitimate to do that," Rice said. “Lestat [another vampire] tells you a completely different version of events than Louis. Who do you believe?”

Rice also said she felt Witter had captured the essence of the book, with her richly detailed costumes and settings: “What I look for in a movie or a book like this is the essence—baroque detail, sensuality, luxurious hair, faces that are intriguing and deep—and they got it here.”

I caught up with Ashley this morning and we chatted in brief about the impending premiere of the book. I’ve known her since the early days at DrunkDuck.com, a webcomics hosting site that features a wide variety of comics, beginner and pro. At that time I was showcasing my historical fiction series House of the Muses when I happened across her art and made her acquaintance. She began work on her webcomic in 2007, featuring the demonchild Scorch and her netherworld mentor, the “closet monster” Hervé, the Gothic noir tales of the Belfry Girls, and extended storylines titled “Soul Candy” and “Eats Alive” which remain among my favorites.

In January 2008 she began work on the breathtaking Reign of Adeodatus, a fantasy series that went on hiatus in 2009 because…well, new changing and new projects were coming—and she didn’t know it yet.

Ashley received her copies of Interview with the Vampire: Claudia's Story yesterday and posted her excitement on her Facebook page: “A parcel, for me!? I was so excited that I spilled coffee all over my desk and the floor. ...Uhhm... like two hours ago, I should probably go clean that up.”

I asked Ashley this morning, “How are you feeling as we near November 20th?”
“Heh, Pam, we’ve been celebratin' but yesterday when I went through the book I was overwhelmed with how good it turned out! It made me want to dive right into the next project!”
“I can't wait to see what you do next!”
“Thank you, Pam, if there's anything you need from me just let me know.”
“Absolutely. By the way, I'm proud of you. I've watched you since the early Drunk Duck days and I've always been the type to delight in the accomplishments of others. Well done.”
“Heheh, thanks. You watched me grow up.”
“Heheh, Yes. Yes, I did. Have a great day, Ash, and enjoy the ride from here on out.”

The book is due out on November 20, 2012 at Amazon.com, and you only have a few days left to get it at the presale price!! If it's a success, there is plenty of scope for more: Interview with the Vampire, which was first published in 1976, is just the first book in a 10-volume series that Rice dubbed The Vampire Chronicles.

Learn more about Ashley Witter and follow her work and latest news at these links:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ashley-Marie-Witter/228905460500818?ref=hl
http://www.ashleywitter.blogspot.com/
http://robotlestat.tumblr.com/
http://www.witta.deviantart.com/
http://www.ashleywitter.com/

http://geek-news.mtv.com/2012/02/08/yen-interview-with-the-vampire-graph...
http://io9.com/5950987/first-glimpse-of-the-graphic-novel-that-retells-i...

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