The Authors Guild remembers our colleague Anne Rice who died December 11, 2021 at the age of 80. The author of 41 novels as well as a spiritual memoir, Anne was best known for her Vampire Chronicles series, which started with the 1976 publication of Interview with a Vampire, based on a short story she had penned years earlier. In addition to the Vampire Chronicles, she wrote four other series: The Lives of the Mayfair Witches, Ramses the Damned, The Sleeping Beauty Series, and The Wolf Gift Chronicles as well several stand-alone novels, including Feasts of All Saints and Exit to Eden. She had a robust fan base, who identified strongly with the gothic romance, otherness, and self-created families in her fiction, including a large number of LGBTQ+ readers.
Anne grew up in New Orleans until the age of 16. After her mother died, her father remarried and moved the family to Texas where she became high school friends with poet Stan Rice. The two stayed in touch by letter after Anne left for college at Texas Woman's University and then when she moved to Haight Ashbury in San Francisco. After Stan proposed to her via a letter, they married and settled in San Francisco, where Anne pursued her BA in Political Science and later received her MFA in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, where Stan eventually taught. In 1972, eleven years after they married, their five-year-old daughter Michele died of leukemia. According to The New York Times, Anne described how her grief and loss of direction after Michele’s death led her to writing fiction.
“I wanted to write and write and write, and pour out my emotions, and make stories, and create something,” she said during a 1993 television interview with ABC. “That was my response to seeing something die and something pass out of my hands like that, and seeing this beautiful child die, no matter what I did or anybody else did.”
Four years later, Knopf published Interview with a Vampire. Though it initially received mixed reviews, it went on to sell more than eight million copies and become a Hollywood blockbuster starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. Rice published her last book, Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat, in October 2018. All told, her books have sold more than 150 million copies.
Rice was a faithful member of the Authors Guild for 45 years, first joining in August 1976. Guild members and staff recall her (and her husband) as lovely and humble despite Anne’s huge commercial success. We extend our condolences to her son Christopher Rice, a successful author who sometimes collaborated with Anne on books, as well as her sisters Karen O’Brien, Micki Jenkins, and Tamara Tinker.
Often inundated with requests by fans interested in becoming writers, Anne included the following advice onher website: “Every writer knows fear and discouragement. Just write—the world is crying for new writing. It is crying for fresh and original voices and new characters and new stories. If you won't write the classics of tomorrow, well, we will not have any. Good luck."
Anne was nothing if not a fresh and original voice—and one that will endure through her work.
"Anne Rice" by chicagopublicmedia is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.