I’m so excited to be able to bring you this quick interview with the extraordinary Anne Rice. Queen of the Damned is one of my favourite ever novels and reading that Lestat has further adventures to share is truly exiting. Without further ado here is a brief but nevertheless exciting Q & A:
What inspired you to return to Lestat after more than a decade?
New ideas. New visions. New possibilities. At the time I retired from the Chronicles (2003) I really had no more to say with Lestat. I associated the Chronicles with some of the most painful parts of my life. But as the years passed, I kept thinking of Lestat, wondering what he would think about this or that cultural development, what he might have to say about this or that new film or book. He was alive for me, out there, in exile. Finally I went back and reread all of the books, and he was talking to me again, coming out of exile, out of his ‘depression’, wanting to live again. It was glorious.
Why do you think vampires continue to be such a popular phenomenon? What has changed in the genre while you’ve been writing?
I’m not surprised at all at the popularity of the vampire. The concept is so rich – the vampire is a metaphor for the outsider, the outcast, the artist, the addict, the alienated one. So of course writers would come along and do new and interesting things with such a rich concept. The vampire craze today is author driven. But the movement amongst some very popular authors is towards domesticating the vampire – the very opposite of my approach. We’re seeing the vampire as the boy next door, the guy next to you in biology class in high school, or the handsome man you meet at the nearby tavern or bar. It’s quite interesting. My vampires are mythic, tragic, larger than life. I’m kind of delighted by all the variations.
What do you think the new generation of vampire fans will find in your novels that they may not have come across before?
My emphasis has always been on the vampire as godlike, heroic, hugely powerful, facing the challenge of immortality as his physical and mental powers grow beyond his wildest dreams. If the new generation wants the vampire as mythic hero, I hope they will be drawn to Lestat. Also my beloved vampire heroes are international; they come from all parts of the globe and they roam the earth in their quest for love, and for meaning. I absolutely love exploring Lestat’s ties to Paris and the Auvergne where he was born; I enjoy describing the life of Armand and others today in New York; it was fun for me to explore what vampires all over the world were up to as they confront the problems of the modern age. If readers want a global vision of the tribe, if they enjoy my cosmology – how the vampires came into existence, what unites them, etc. – well, I think they might enjoy Prince Lestat. But what has always driven my work is character. I’m in love with Lestat, with Louis, with all of my vampires. And if readers share that intense love, well, the books will work for them. I’m an intensely romantic writer. But what I write is a romance of heroes, of those who are larger than life… because I believe truly that just about everybody is larger than life.
Are you, like me, looking forward to reading more from Lestat? Please let me know in the comments.
Prince Lestat by Anne Rice is out now.