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Author Spotlight: Anne Rice

Born in New Orleans, Anne Rice was raised by her maternal grandmother because both her parents were alcoholics. She was raised Catholic and went to the same school her father attended. Her birth name was Howard Allen Frances O’ Brien, which was given to her by her mother so she could have an “unusual advantage.” Upon entering school, she started asking people to call her “Anne,” and the name stuck. Later in life, she legally changed her name to Anne.

After her mother passed away, Anne’s father relocated the family to Texas, where she attended Texas Women’s University and North Texas State College. In her second year, she dropped out and moved to San Francisco. Growing up in a more conservative time, Anne attended the University of San Francisco at night and worked in an insurance company in the morning.

She married her high school sweetheart, Stan Rice, in the late 1950s, and they stayed in Texas until 1961 before moving back to San Francisco. Anne received her BA in political science from San Francisco State University in 1964. She had initially taken higher studies but stopped when she took an interest in writing. In 1970, Stan took a teaching post at the San Francisco State University, and she returned there to study creative writing. While studying, her five-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia and passed shortly after.

Anne returned to writing one of her first stories while grieving the loss of her daughter. The novel turned into her most popular novel to date, Interview with a Vampire. Interview introduced her most popular creation, the vampire named Lestat di Lioncourt. The book also became the first in her most acclaimed series, Vampire Chronicles. Anne Rice is known as one of the first writers of the vampire fiction fantasy subgenre. Her portrayals of vampires took them away from their horror image and brought into a more humanistic light.

Anne grew up with issues with religion, starting with a very strict Catholic upbringing, but at some point, she became an agnostic and even an atheist. In 2005, she started a short book series on the life of Jesus, the first book of which was titled Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. This series was a very public return to Catholicism. The series was discontinued, and she later on claimed not to be affiliated with any religion but has strong faith in God.

The Vampire Chronicles is an ongoing series, with the last book Prince Lestat being published in 2014. Anne is very vocal in her support for various causes such as LGBTQ rights, marriage equality, and reproductive healthcare. She and her son Christopher are currently planning to produce a series based on the Vampire Chronicles.



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