Anne Rice (born Howard Allen O'Brien on October 4, 1941; despite the male name she was born female), the second daughter of an Irish Catholic family, is an author of horror/fantasy stories, often about vampires, mummies and witches. Her works have been a major influence on the Goth youth subculture, and she has published several works with sado-masochistic themes. She was married to the late poet Stan Rice and is the mother of gay novelist Christopher Rice. A daughter, Michelle, died of leukemia at the age of 5 in 1972.
She was born and has spent most of her life in New Orleans, Louisiana, the city that forms the background against which most of her stories take place. Known for her avid interest in art and culture, she and her family occasionally took trips overseas to study the art later mentioned in her stories.
Rice has also published under the pen names Anne Rampling and A.N. Roquelaure, the latter of which was used primarily for more adult-oriented material, such as the Claiming of Sleeping Beauty series. Her fiction is often described as lush and descriptive, and her characters' sexuality is fluid, often displaying homoerotic feelings towards each other. She also deals with philosophical and historic themes, weaving them in to the dense pattern of her books, giving them a high intellectual if not also a high literary content. To her admirers, her books are among the best in modern popular fiction, considered by some to possess those elements that create a lasting presence in the literary canon.
She completed her first book, Interview with the Vampire, in 1973 and published it in 1976. In 1994, Neil Jordan directed a motion picture by the same name, loosely based on the story. A second movie was made, inspired by the third book in the original Vampire Chronicles' series, Queen of the Damned, skipping the second one. Also, a rather funny film version of her adult book Exit to Eden was created, starring Rosie O'Donnell and Dan Aykroyd.
Interview with the Vampire is also an example of psychedelic literature, as Rice attributes her inspiration of Louis' "vampire eyes" experience of heightened awareness, and her morbid curiousity of the "after-death experience" to her own experiences with LSD. Rice has said that Claudia, the young girl in the book, was inspired by her late daughter.
Rice has adult onset diabetes mellitus. This was discovered when she went into a diabetic coma in December of 1998. Since treating the condition with insulin, she is an advocate for people to get tested for diabetes. Because of a lifelong battle with her weight, as well as depression due to the long illness and subsequent death of her husband, Rice's weight ballooned to 254 pounds. Tired of dealing with sleep apnea, limited mobility, and other weight-related problems, she had gastric bypass surgery on January 15, 2002.
On 30 January, 2004 Rice announced her plans to leave New Orleans, to move the suburb of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. She had already put the largest of her three homes in Uptown New Orleans up for sale, and plans to sell the other two. She cited living alone since the death of her husband and her son's moving out of state as the reasons. "Simplifying my life, not owning so much, that's the chief goal," said Rice. "I'll no longer be a citizen of New Orleans in the true sense." Some have speculated that Rice also wished for more privacy from the constant attentions of her fans, who were known to camp out in front of her house. Sometimes, up to 200 or more would gather to see her leave for church on Sundays. She is also very adamant about preventing any fan Fiction of her books.
Recently, Rice has faced widespread criticism for an incident in which, following negative reviews of her work on Amazon.com, she posted a long, angry reply to some of the users who had written the reviews. However, this attempt to dispel some criticism seems to have backfired, as some of the parties in question took it upon themselves to publicize the event, putting Rice's actions in a very negative light. Rice's reputation was severely damaged by the blow, and she faced ridicule on several Internet sites and blogs due to her actions.
Rice has also stirred up some anger in her fan base with her total banning of fan fiction about her characters on FanFiction.net, in contrast to other authors such as Terry Pratchett and J. K. Rowling, who have been more accepting.
Rice's "The Vampire Chronicles" books:
- Interview with the Vampire (1976)
- The Vampire Lestat (1985)
- The Queen of the Damned (1988)
- The Tale of the Body Thief (1992)
- Memnoch The Devil (1995)
- The Vampire Armand (1998)
- Merrick (2000)
- Blood and Gold (2001)
- Blackwood Farm (2002)
- Blood Canticle (2003)
New Tales of the Vampires (Other vampire tales which are not within the main sequence):
- Vittorio the Vampire
Lives of the Mayfair Witches:
- The Witching Hour
Other books by Anne Rice:
- Cry to Heaven
- The Feast of All Saints
- Servant of the Bones
- Violin (book)|Violin
- The Mummy
- October 4th, 1948
- Nicholas and Jean
- The Master of Rampling Gate (Vampire Story)
Work written under the pseudonym Anne Rampling:
- Exit to Eden
Erotica written under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure (for info on all three books, see The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty)
- The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty
- Beauty's Punishment
- Beauty's Release