Authors Profiles

Author Profile: Anne Rice

A profile of author Anne Rice. (Also a feature of March 2011 Women’s History Month)

Author Anne Rice

Anne Rice is an American author who has penned multiple bestsellers of gothic fiction, with sales reaching almost 100 million copies.  She is best known for her series, “The Vampire Chronicles,” which begins with the acclaimed book “Interview with the Vampire.”

Anne Rice was born into a Catholic Irish American family in New Orleans, Louisiana on October 4, 1941.  She was given the unlikely name of Howard Allen O’Brien, but decided to go by “Anne” when she began school.

Rice spent most of her childhood and teenage years in New Orleans, until her family moved to Texas in 1958.  Anne graduated from Richardson High School in 1959, and attended both Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas and  North Texas State College before spending a year in San Francisco, California.

Anne went back to Texas to marry her high school sweetheart, the poet Stan Rice, and she returned to San Francisco with him at her side.  They lived in the not-yet famed Haight-Ashbury from 1962 to 1988 and both graduated from San Francisco State University.  Anne recalls feeling like a square during the San Francisco hippie scene, as she sat at her typewriter and worked in their quiet apartment.  Her first novel, Interview with the Vampire, was finished in 1973 and was published three years later.

Interview with the Vampire was the first book in the Vampire Chronicles, a series which now contains over a dozen novels. This tale of a young reporter who is capturing the life story of a strange man named Louis de Pointe du Lac.  Louis claims to have been made into a vampire in 1790 by a foppish fiend named Lestat de Lioncourt.  This novel caught the imaginations of many fans who adored the lush, gothic settings and rich detail of Anne Rice’s world.  The haughty, French immortal who gave Louis immortality becomes the focus of  many of the following books, beginning with The Vampire Lestat, published in 1985.  The history of the vampires is covered in the third book, Queen of the Damned, published in 1988. A film version of Interview with the Vampire was released in 1994, and elements from The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned were combined for the 2002 film Queen of the Damned.

Interview with the Vampire, First Edition, offered by Books Tell You Why - ABAA, ILAB

Another popular series penned by Anne Rice involves a fictional New Orleans family called the Mayfairs.  The Lives of the Mayfair Witches series contains only three books, (The Witching Hour, Lasher, and Taltos) but these massive and intricate novels cover a lot of ground and have maintained a steady following among Anne’s readers.  Later novels that were set in New Orleans contained crossover tales between the Vampire Chronicles and the Mayfair Witches (Merrick (2000), Blood and Gold (2001), Blackwood Farm (2002), Blood Canticle (2003)).

Rice has published some books under pseudonyms.  As “A.N. Roquelaure,” Anne published her dark series, The Erotic Trilogy of Sleeping BeautyExit to Eden and Belinda were published as being written by “Anne Rampling.

Anne and her family returned to her beloved New Orleans in 1989, and bought a beautiful Greek Revival house in the Garden District. This house provided a detailed setting for many of Anne’s novels, and it also held Stan’s attic painting studio. Her success in the 1990’s allowed Anne to purchase and restore many of her favorite buildings in New Orleans.

Stan Rice died in 2002 after a diagnosis with brain cancer. Anne is working to show his paintings in a southern museum and publish his collected poems.

Anne is still writing, and lives in California desert to be near her son, Christopher.

“Give me a man or woman who has read a thousand books and you give me an interesting companion. Give me a man or woman who has read perhaps three and you give me a very dangerous enemy indeed.”
— Anne Rice

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