Anne Rice is the author of the widely popular Vampire Chronicles series, a saga that narrates the life of a vampire named Lestat. Anne’s works revolve around gothic fiction and Christian literature. Ironic, yes, but Anne has dealt with irony most of her life.
Anne was born in New Orleans and spent most of her childhood there. Unfortunately, her parents were alcoholics, so she was practically raised by her maternal grandmother, Alice “Mamma Allen” Allen. She grew up in what she called a “Catholic ghetto” neighborhood and was raised Catholic. She even went to the same Catholic school that her father went to.
Another interesting thing about Anne Rice is that her real name is Howard Allen Frances O’Brien. There are many speculations as to why she was given a male name, but Anne simply said that her mother was a Bohemian and wanted to give her daughter “an unusual advantage” in the world. During her first day of school, a nun asked her what her name was. She replied “Anne,” and even though her mother was there, she did not correct her. Since then, everyone called her Anne, and some years later, she was able to change her name legally.
After her mother’s death, Anne’s father brought their whole family to Texas. She went to high school there and met her future husband, Stan Rice. After graduating high school, she stayed at Texas Women’s University for her freshman year and transferred to North Texas State College for her sophomore year. She was unable to complete her second year, dropped out of college, and moved to San Francisco. By day, she worked in an insurance company and, by evening, studied at the University of San Francisco. Back then, the university was a Jesuit all-male school where women were allowed to take night courses.
In the late 1950s, she returned to Texas, where she married Stan Rice. They stayed there until 1961. In 1964, Anne finished her bachelor’s degree in political science at the San Francisco State University. Some years later, she took an interest in writing and discontinued her higher studies. She returned in 1970 to San Francisco State to study creative writing. Her husband became an instructor at the university as well. Unfortunately, her daughter was diagnosed with leukemia while she was studying and died at only five years old.
While grieving the loss of her daughter, Anne returned to a short story she once wrote and turned it into her first novel, Interview with the Vampire. This was the first novel to feature her most popular character, Lestat de Lioncourt. Interview with the Vampire became the first book in Rice’s most acclaimed work, the Vampire Chronicles. This saga is vital in the development of a fantasy genre known as vampire fiction. Anne’s vampires were far from the conventional portrayals, having been painted as something closer to human than monster.
Other than the Vampire Chronicles, Anne also wrote a short series about the life of Jesus. Its first book, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, was published in 2005. Its sequel, Christ the Lord: Road to Cana, was published in 2008. There had been plans for a third book, but it was postponed. For most of her life, however, Anne has had issues with religion. Although she was raised Catholic, she became agnostic and atheist at some point. The publication of this series was her public return to Catholicism, although she did still hold some beliefs that were against the teachings of the religion. Later on, she claimed to not be affiliated with any religion but still pledges her faith in God.
Anne Rice continues to support her causes, such as LGBTQ rights, marriage equality, and reproductive health care. In 2014, she published Prince Lestat, another book in the Vampire Chronicles series, and announced that there would be a remake of the 1994 film adaptation of Interview with the Vampire. However, recently, the film has been scrapped, and instead, Anne Rice, together with her son Christopher, will produce a new series based on the whole book saga.
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