Before there was Twilight, there was Anne Rice.
Anne Rice is a Gothic fiction author and probably most famous for her series of novels, The Vampire Chronicles, which includes among others, Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and Queen of the Damned. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved her novels in high school and college.
The first Anne Rice book I read was Interview with the Vampire. I think I was in junior high when I read it because at that time the books to read were either Interview with the Vampire or Flowers in the Attic. I loved Interview with the Vampire. I thought Louis was so tortured and guilt-ridden. Lestat was sadistic and Claudia was angry that she would forever be stuck in a child’s body. It was one of the first few books I read about vampires and it totally started my fascination with vampires.
After that, I read The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned. I read The Witching Hour, which is about modern day witches and the evil spirit that has followed their family for generations. I loved the stand-alone novel The Mummy about a mummy from the first century B.C. coming alive.
I thought Anne Rice’s novels were crafted beautifully and I became fully immersed in their worlds.
Interview with the Vampire was also the first movie I saw that was a book adaptation where I had read the book. It was also the first movie where I was horribly appalled at the casting, specifically the casting of Antonio Banderas who played the part of Armand. According the novels, Armand is described as an auburn-haired beautiful teenager, like someone you would see in a Botticelli painting.
I thought he sounded swoon-worthy and adorable (keep in mind I was 16 when the movie came out).
And then I watch the movie and he is played by this Spanish actor in his 30s. What?? He did not have auburn hair, he was not Botticelli swoon-worthiness, he was at least 15 years too old, he looked nothing like the character was described. I was so upset. I have nothing against Antonio Banderas (I loved him in Evita) but in my opinion, he was not the right actor for the part of Armand.
Okay, I’m done with my outburst.
Anne Rice was also my first exposure to erotica. She has written 6 erotica novels under different pseudonyms. I haven’t read all of them but I’ve read most of The Sleeping Beauty Quartet. Except for the last book in the quartet, all of Anne Rice’s erotic novels were published in the 80’s. I think that’s why I was so surprised at everyone’s fascination with the Fifty Shades of Grey books. I felt like people were acting as if they had never known there were erotic books out there and that it was this whole new genre. I wanted to scream at them, “Anne Rice wrote erotic novels years ago! Erotica is not new!!”
So, before there was Fifty Shades of Grey, there was also Anne Rice (and countless other erotica authors).
Recently, Anne Rice has begun to write about werewolves and has started publishing a new series. She also continues to write novels for The Vampire Chronicles, which number 11 books so far.
Happy Birthday to my favorite Gothic vampire writer, Anne Rice!