Born on October 4, 1941, in New Orleans, Louisiana: Howard
Allen O'Brien, a child who hated her name so much that she changed it to Anne
upon entering first grade. Rice's father was a postal worker who
liked to write fiction in his free time. Her mother was an
unsuccessful Hollywood actress who had a morbid fascination with the occult.
She frequently took her daughter on outings through old New
Orleans, stopping to point out the various houses and decaying old mansions
she claimed were once the province of witches, warlocks, and demons.
young Anne grew older, she found herself wandering around
cemeteries, reading the inscriptions on tombstones, watching horror movies,
and devouring every ghost story she could find. This made the nuns at
the Catholic school she attended uneasy, but Rice persisted despite warnings
from her superiors.
She married Stan Rice in 1961 and five years later gave
birth to daughter Michele. In between being a mother and a wife, she struggled
to become a successful writer. She wrote a short story a day as an
exercise, but she had little success in getting them published.
When her five-year-old daughter was diagnosed with acute leukemia and
eventually died, Rice sank into depression. She managed to escape only by
losing herself in her writing. She started a novel, and--writing
continually--finished it within five weeks. It's the story of a
vampire obsessed with the company of a five-year-old girl, whom he decides
to turn into a vampire for the company she will provide. But when he
learns that she will forever remain a five-year-old trapped in a vampire's
soul, he is devastated.
The novel was Interview with a Vampire (1974), one
of the first to portray vampires as other-than-ghoulish figures.
In Interview, Rice's vampires all were imbued with complex
characters, feelings, and even conscience. Reviewers of the book
didn't know what to make of it, and it received a lukewarm reception.
Rice decided to abandon horror and followed that up with a series of historical novels.
In between, she published a series of erotic novels under the
pseudonyms, A. N. Roquelaure and Anne Rampling. As Anne Rampling she
published two books, Exit to Eden and Belinda, the latter of
which has less raw erotica than does Exit and is more of a romance
involving an older man and a teenage girl.
her Roquelaure pen name, she wrote the Beauty series, a trilogy of erotic works that
include The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (1983), Beauty’s Punishment
(1984), and Beauty’s Release (1985), dealing with various
alternative lifestyle themes. She chose the pen name quite deliberately. Count Rouquelaure had been a cloak designer in
the 18th century, and Rice used the name because of its meaning--"Anne under
a cloak"--as well as for its erotic sound.
Following her lack of success with the publication of Interview with
the Vampire, Rice noticed something unusual happening. She had
begun to develop a cult following. The book
sold steadily throughout the 1980s, eventually building in popularity to become one of
the most popular vampire novels in the history of literature. Rice
finally returned to the genre with the publication of The Vampire Lestat
in 1985. Unlike its predecessor, it was an instant best seller.
Not surprisingly, most of Rice's stories unfold in New
Orleans. Today, tourists often take nighttime guided tours of the city,
reveling in all of the spooky and unworldly places Rice writes about.
It's one of the city's most popular tours.
Other books in Rice's Vampire Chronicles series include
The Queen of the Damned (1988) and The Vampire Armand (1998).
Her most recent novel is Blood Canticle, which was published in
Rice, who believes that supernatural and horror fiction should
be accepted as serious literature, said, "Realism which is so respected
today is really just a fad... There's no telling that anybody's
going to be reading these little realistic novels 50 years from now, but
people are still reading Faust."
Anne Rice currently lives and works in New Orleans.
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