As I said last time, the benefits of membership in Romance Writers of America include meeting some of the most amazing and talented writers in the business today. Anne Rice and her son Christopher are working on a lot of exciting projects like bringing The Vampire Chronicles to television. After they answered questions that were submitted ahead of the event, the audience was allowed to ask questions.
A person wanted to know why she loved New Orleans so much. Anne Rice was born in New Orleans and lived there for much of her early years. She couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t stop and stare at the violet sky at sunset. The Romance and ghost stories of the place influenced everything she wrote.
Would either of them bring back to life a character they killed off? No, when they died, it was time for them to go. How did Christopher tell her he was writing a novel? Anne had been very sick and in the hospital, then home needing continual care at the time. Christopher moved in to help her and that’s when he started writing. He didn’t tell her until his first book was published. Christopher knows he was blessed to live in a home where writing was taken seriously as a profession. Not dismissed or belittled. Anne was disappointed for a while when he didn’t go to Julliard. He had done a lot of acting before high school graduation. He said he makes his own drama now.
The movie rights to The Interview with the Vampire have reverted to Anne, with some minor issues. They have been approached to do the story on television and will probably go in that direction. Someone asked who would play Lasher. Anne has had many actors in mind over the years, but none of them are the right age any longer. Past candidates are Eric Roberts, John Rhys-Davies, and Joaquin Phoenix.
Christopher was asked what it’s like to work on his mom’s books. He said he had fun with it, there’s a great comfort in being able to stretch his limbs inside someone else’s universe. The stress is off of him in many ways.
The final question before the audience got to come up and ask things: What one advice would you give to new writers? Both said Stick to it. Don’t buy into the negative remarks. Anne shared a Judy Garland quote: Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
At that time, questions were taken from the audience. A man eagerly told Anne that he loved the book, Cry to Heaven. It has influenced how he sees love and beauty and he married the woman who gave him the book to read for the first time. He thanked her for that gift.
Another fan asked if the hybrid books, where the characters from one series interact with those from another, will be made into films or brought to television. Anne said she can’t at this time due to legal issues. Christopher explained that the studio changed the person in charge of their script. If a film doesn’t get produced, it’s not because someone looked at the script and didn’t like it. It’s more like a new lion came in and killed all the old lion’s cubs.
How does Anne feel about the new generation of fans? She is very excited, especially when the books are passed down from a parent to a child. That’s inspiring.
She talked about the Angel Time series (Song of the Seraphim) with Toby O’Dare as a hit-man turned seraphim. She meditated on the idea that to God, all time exists as one, long ribbon of events. This series sounds so fascinating to me!
I took a chance and got up to ask a question. I remember when the first version of The Interview with the Vampire came out, that Anne was not pleased with the choice of actor to play Lestat. (She told me I could not possibly be old enough to remember that. Such a kidder!) I asked if she would have complete control over casting? Yes, she and Christopher were doing that together. Anne mentioned earlier that she likes Matt Bomer and Anson Mount. I asked which role she thought would be good for Anson. She laughed but said seriously that Anson was in high demand right now, so probably wouldn’t be available, and if he were, he’s not going to be right for some of the parts that may last over the next 10 years. (Interesting that on her Vampire Chronicles Facebook page, she asked fans to list their favorite young blond, blue-eyed actors) https://www.facebook.com/officialvampirechronicles/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf
The final question came from a staffer for the San Diego Central Library. He wanted to know how Anne felt about libraries. She explained that her sister is a writer, too. They would both go to the library whenever they could. But before long they had read everything of interest in the children’s section and were sneaking into the adult stacks. New Orleans back then had no bookstores, and even if such establishments had existed, they could not afford the books. Libraries were vital to her and still are.
Anne’s latest book, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis was on sale at the auditorium lobby, along with Christopher’s romances. I stood in line with my purchases and not only got signed copies, I had my picture taken with them. Anne is a charming woman, Christopher reflects the blessing of growing up in a home that loved books and reading, and an evening with both of them made for an amazing event.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.