I first got my hands on an Anne Rice novel when I was 13, I had just blazed through the Vampire Diaries series (yes, the ones the CW series is based on… shh I was 13) and I was ready for some more blood-sucker goodness which is how I stumbled upon the Vampire Chronicles.
Despite having been originally published in 1976, Interview With a Vampire had made a comeback—most likely because the film had begun production—so it was displayed prominently at our local bookstore. I happily scooped up a copy.
I was expecting something along the lines of another age-appropriate risque romp à la Vampire Diaries, instead what I got was a supernatural gothic, full of historical fiction and sexual overtones—that I was just old enough to know I really didn’t understand. And of course, plenty of vampire on tasty human action. That’s the thing about Rice’s novel, even when she isn’t writing erotica a repressed deviant sexuality is almost palpable in the prose—and not in the dry humping abstinence porn Twilight kind of way (pick up a copy of her Sleeping Beauty series if you don’t know what I mean, yikes!).
I devoured the series (see what I did there?), swept away in the story, intrigued by the characters and mythology. And most of all I was enraptured by the settings from, a New Orleans shrouded in mystery and voodoo magic, to its depiction of 18th century France, with its Grand Guignol inspired, Théâtre des Vampires.
Rice didn’t limit her horror lit contributions to the undead, she also wrote the equally engrossing Mayfair Witches series, which chronicled several generations of the New Orleanian Mayfair family and thier connection to the demon Lasher. The series co-existed in the Vampire Chronicles universe and many characters made appearances in both.
Since becoming the premier modern gothic maven, her work has spanned the entertaiment mediums. Her work has been adapted in to movies, (Interview, Queen of the Damned), TV (Feast of All Saints), theater (Lestat) and music (Korn, Cradle of Filth, Atreyu and even Sting) and even comics.
Her name instantly conjures up visions of sprawling gloomy mansions, witches, demons and lusty vampires. A high-profile female horror fan is a rare thing, and Rice successfully pushes the likes of King, Koontz and McCammon to the side and has left an indelible mark on the horror genre. She expanded the mythos of the vampire genre and created a character in Lestat that is every bit as iconic as The Count, himself. Also, she validated my budding goth tendencies and taught me the word “preternatural” which is pretty much the most pretentious word, ever.