FAQ (2001 version)

What are the new books you are working on?

In July 2001, Anne replies, "BLOOD AND GOLD will be released by Knopf before the end of October. BLOOD AND GOLD is the story of Marius, my favorite child of the millennium. Doing Marius' story really challenged my imagination. I had to cover 2000 years. I came away loving Marius and understanding his logical and rational Roman mind very deeply. He was my teacher. Just a few days ago, I received the first bound galleys of BLOOD AND GOLD and this was very exciting. Each stage of publication is thrilling for an author. And of course, the bound galley is an early stage of the book where you see the work in print for the first time. BLOOD AND GOLD is a very pure Vampire Chronicle."

What is going on with the FEAST OF ALL SAINTS miniseries?

In July 2001, Anne replies, "The mini-series of FEAST OF ALL SAINTS will be shown on SHOWTIME in November and it is positively smashing. I am overwhelmed. I feel that you guys are going to love it. The acting is superb. The script is brilliant. The whole thing is truly, no pun intended, a feast."

What, if anything, do you know about the Queen of the Damned movie?

In July 2001, Anne replies, "Everything I hear about the movie is good. Warner Bros. is extremely enthusiastic. They are working very hard to make it perfect. I have no real news. Let me repeat what I mentioned in a recent message. I met Stuart Townsend, the young man who is playing Lestat and he was absolutely charming. He had Lestat's excellent speaking voice and his feline grace. I cannot wait to see him in the film."

What is going on with the Coven Ball and the Fan Club?

In July 2001, Anne replies, "Apparently the Vampire Lestat Fan Club is disbanding. I have no real new information about this. I have many happy memories of attending the annual Coven Ball, but I have never been officially connected to the Fan Club and I do not fully understand the reasons for the demise of the club. I don't believe there will be any more Coven Balls."

Are you going to write a sequel to RAMSES THE DAMNED (also known as THE MUMMY)?

In July 2001, Anne replies, "The latest on RAMSES THE DAMNED - I will not be writing a sequel to this book. Though I love it, so much time has passed and I hope to do something new and interesting with Egyptian history in the near future. As regards the movie rights, the project is in active development. There is a new writer working on a screenplay."

Will there be any more Mayfair Witches books?

In July 2001, Anne replies, "With regard to THE WITCHING HOUR - We are involved with negotiations regarding a possible television mini-series of THE WITCHING HOUR, but we have not ruled out the idea of a theatrical motion picture. I do not think I will be writing a sequel to THE WITCHING HOUR books. I feel that the trilogy -THE WITCHING HOUR, LASHER and TALTOS constitutes a complete novel in three volumes. However, the Mayfairs will continue to appear in the Vampire Chronicles and who knows - possibly they may turn up in other novels as well. The Mayfairs have become part of my psychological New Orleans landscape."

What advice would you give an aspiring writer? Who are your writing influences?

In July 2001, Anne replies, "First and foremost, believe in yourself. Believe in your own vision. Believe in your own style. Learn from everybody. Choose your mentors where ever you want. Imitate no one. Remember that being a writer takes nerve. It takes guts. It takes faith. There are no real rules for writers. Even what I am telling you here can be totally disregarded. And even after writing 23 books, I need faith and courage every day. I read Charles Dickens to give me courage. I read Hemingway to give me courage. I read Emily and Charlotte Bront‘ to give me courage. You have to choose your sources of inspiration and write, write, write."


What is the order of the books in each series?

From the webmaster:

The Vampire Chronicles
1: Interview with the Vampire
2: The Vampire Lestat
3: The Queen of the Damned
4: The Tale of the Body Thief
5: Memnoch the Devil
6: Armand
7. Merrick

Lives of the Mayfair Witches
1. The Witching Hour
2. Lasher
3. Taltos

New Tales of the Vampires
1. Pandora
2. Vittorio the Vampire

Other Novels Not in a Series
The Feast of All Saints
Cry to Heaven
The Mummy, or, Ramses the Damned
Servant of the Bones

Where do I send a book to have it signed?

From the webmaster: The best way to have a book signed is to attend one of Mrs. Rice's booksignings. In addition to a signature, you will get to meet Mrs. Rice, who very much enjoys talking with fans at these events.

Where can I purchase hard-to-find versions of Anne's books?

From the webmaster: All of Anne's books, books on tape and CD's can be ordered from the Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans (phone: 504-895-2266 fax: 504-895-0111 e-mail: Betbooks@aol.com). Occasionally, signed books may also be available. Also available in limited quantities are 1st editions, limited editions and some British 1st editions.

Where can I purchase comic books based on Anne's novels?

From the webmaster: Older comics can be best found at comic conventions.

What happened to the mailing list?

From the webmaster: Several years ago, Mrs. Rice's staff kept a mailing list and sent out the newsletter Commotion Strange. However, as technology advanced, the decision was made to update fans through the web site, not through the mail. Therefore, Commotion Strange and the mailing list were discontinued. Updates are now released through the web site and through Mrs. Rice's fan phone line.

Why isn't this site updated as frequently as some of the fan sites?

From the webmaster: This is the only official site for information about Mrs. Rice and her works. As such, all information comes directly from Mrs. Rice, and you can be assured that it is true and accurate, not a rumor or speculation. When Mrs. Rice is busy writing or touring, the site may not be updated for a period of time. Thank you for your understanding.

FAQ Answers - Writing

What advice would you give an aspiring writer? Who are your writing influences?

In July 2001, Anne replies, "First and foremost, believe in yourself. Believe in your own vision. Believe in your own style. Learn from everybody. Choose your mentors where ever you want. Imitate no one. Remember that being a writer takes nerve. It takes guts. It takes faith. There are no real rules for writers. Even what I am telling you here can be totally disregarded. And even after writing 23 books, I need faith and courage every day. I read Charles Dickens to give me courage. I read Hemingway to give me courage. I read Emily and Charlotte Bront‘ to give me courage. You have to choose your sources of inspiration and write, write, write."

"What order do I read your books in?"

Anne said: "To Emily McCarty: Regarding the order in which to read my books. Frankly, Emily, I don't think it much matters. The copyright date inside the book can cue you in to what was published when on all of the titles. The Vampire books are specifically written so that you can read any one first or second. With THE WITCHING HOUR trilogy, there is a wisdom to reading THE WITCHING HOUR first and then LASHER and TALTOS. The trilogy is almost something of a thriller, and the suspense will work best if you read in order."

The frustration of trying to get published.

Anne said: "To W.B. Vogel who expressed frustration about getting published. It's taken me so long to get to your comment, W.B., that I hope you are published by now and the question is moot. But if not, don't be discouraged. Publication is a reality. When I look back on my unpublished days, I remember many struggling writers from that time who have since been published with varying degrees of success. Keep sending out your work. My standard advice is - - never take a rejection slip as a critical comment. All it means is that the particular editor who "rejected" your work didn't like it enough to work with it in the publishing house. That same editor would probably "reject" nine out of ten books on the current bestseller list, based on personal taste. You can get a pile of rejection slips and still not be a failure. Keep striving to hit the right person."

"It seems to me that your more recent books have taken a more deeply philosophical turn; is there any particular reason for this shift?" -- Kim from Gainesville, FL

Anne answered: "Well, you're right that my books have taken a philosophical turn but I think if you look back, you'll see the books always had the philosophical turn, it's just it was more camouflaged, perhaps, by the nature of the characters. I mean, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE is, in its own way, a very philosophical novel. It's about how do we exist in a world without revelation, or a world in which we can't be sure of revelation. And it really was called, at the time, an existential novel, and I think in it's own way it's every bit as philosophical as MEMNOCH THE DEVIL. But MEMNOCH THE DEVIL comes right out and brings God and the Devil into the drama as characters, and the only way I can explain the intensification of my interest is that I'm following my star. I'm following what my passion...following what obsesses me. I always write about what obsesses me, and these are the questions which are obsessing me."

"Do you think that you will include Italy as one of the settings in any future novels?" -- Angie from Murphysboro

Anne answered: "You ask about Italy. I am almost certain it will be the setting in future novels. As a matter of fact, in my novel VIOLIN, which is coming out this fall, Italy is a partial setting. There is a scene in it where Triana, who is taken back into the past by this vengeful ghost sees Paganini playing the violin in a graveyard off on the Lido, off the coast of Venice, and I've just been to Italy for the third time, myself, last year, and I know that it will keep recurring in my novels. I can't get away from Italy. Everything I do is influenced by Italy, and that really goes all the way back to childhood when I was brought up in a Redemptorist parish in New Orleans by an Italian order of priests with a great pantheon of Italian saints."

"What do you think about certain critics saying your work promotes violence against women?" -- Dennis J. from Indiana

Anne answered:"You ask about critics who say my work promotes violence against women. First of all, I haven't really heard very much of that criticism myself, and I don't believe that it's true. I don't believe literature in general promotes violence against women. I think literature, pop music, all of the arts, have to be a free place where our minds and souls can talk about violence in all different ways. They have to be...the entertainment, and arts, and the high arts have to be a safe place where we can work out our fears, and nothing we do in that arena really promotes anything in the outside world. The arena of the arts gives us an opportunity to experience a catharsis...to think about violence. I don't believe people out on the street committing crimes are actually reading anybody's novels. I think the tragedy is that they probably never read a novel in their lives. They don't know anything about symbolism or the imagination, and when they commit a heinous crime, it's a terribly down-to-earth, mundane act. It has very little to do with any sort of artistic influence. In fact, nothing."

"Have you ever thought about writing about the Greek gods? There are so many great legends about them?" -- Scott R.

Anne answered: "I do write about them all the time, actually. I make allusions to them in all of my novels. Lestat and the other characters are frequently making allusions to the gods, but I do not think of using them literally. If you read THE VAMPIRE LESTAT, you know that in THE VAMPIRE LESTAT, Lestat happened on the Egyptian mythological story of Osiris, and he realized that it bore a great deal of similarity to what happens to a vampire...the fate of the god Osiris when he is torn apart, and put back together, and becomes the God of the Dead. But, I don't go into the gods as literal characters, at least I haven't so far, but it's a tantalizing idea. I grew up just...just reading tons of Greek mythology, and all of those gods sort of swim in my ken."

"Would you ever write short stories...?" -- Al S. from Argentina

Anne answered:"This is a very interesting question. What I am going to try to do now is write what I call short novels. I would say novels about the length of Henry James' "THE TURN OF THE SCREW," or "LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE." But I don't think the short story is my milieu. I can't get all of my feelings into the short story. But the small novel is of great interest to me, and I hope soon to be publishing small novels along with big novels, so that they sort of alternate."

"Do you ever get that feeling of just complete defeat and frustration when you're writing?" -- Christin S. from Florida

Anne answered: "Yes, I get it often, but the thing, Christin, you have to do is you have to write through that. You get...of course I get feelings of total defeat. I get feelings of total nihilism. I get so depressed sometimes that I look at my hands and I think why even lift them off the table...why turn on the computer...why touch the keys...why write anything? But what I do then is write about that. If nothing else, I turn it on and I write about despair, and I try to write my way through it. I think the most important thing, more than anything in the world, is to write, and use any excuse in your mind that you can to write. Don't ever let despair or depression stop you. Remember this, that if you don't write it, it isn't going to be there. It's thst simple. And, if you are really down and out and really sad, look at it this way--decide that you are going to write it, and if you don't like it, you are going to throw it away. I've done that quite a few times, and I've never wound up throwing the book away."

"How much research do you do before you write your novels?" -- Ann D.

Anne answered: "Ann, I do research just constantly. It's almost impossible to say how much I do before a novel. For example, right now I'm working on a short novel, ARMAND, and I did an enormous about of research just on clothing and texture, because Armand is a creature who is very, very conscious of those things. He comes from a time in Venice when lace and velvet and satin were very, very important fabrics, and fabric making was very big in Italy. So, I do say several weeks of just reading on one subject, but really, the research and the writing are ongoing. They happen side by side. I can tell you that five years of research went into MEMNOCH THE DEVIL, but during those five years I was writing other novels while I was reading books on the Bible and books on the Old Testament, and books on Christian mythology."

"Concerning your writing, do you ever feel that it comes from somewhere beyond? Do you sometimes feel that God speaks through your pen? -- Mark L. from Ontario, Canada

Anne answered: "I would never be presumptuous enough to assume that God speaks through my pen, but I think that if we ask all the time of ourselves...that we do the very best that we can for God...that is the closest we can come to having God speak through our pen. As you know, I want my books to really make a moral difference in the life of the reader. I want them not only to be entertaining, I want them to have a deep, deep moral core. And let's say this: I am speaking to God through my pen, that's for certain."

"Why does it have to be a year before a book is officially released?" -- Casey C. from The Philippines

Anne answered: "It really is the way publishing works. You turn in the manuscript, they go over the manuscript for typographical errors, they send it back to you with their corrections, you go over it, you have total control of it, then you send it back to them, then they set it in type, and they send you what they call the 'galleys,' and the galleys are the first run of the printed manuscript, set in type. You go over that for mistakes, then you find a lot of little mistakes and things you want to change, send that back, and then they wind up going ahead toward printing. They can do a book faster. They can do a book in six months if they want to, but they hate to do a rush job like that. They like to take their time, and of course all the time that we're working those steps of the novel, they are working on things like the cover art, and what will be written on the jacket, and how the book will be presented in the catalog. There is also a question of the publishing house salesmen going out and presenting the book to the public. They need about a six-month lead. They go to the bookstores all over the nation, and they present the "Knopf List," as they call it. That would be the list my publisher has of all the books he's publishing, and my book would be only one on that list. And they say here's the new list, how much do you want to order of the Anne Rice new book VOILIN, or the new book SERVANT OF THE BONES. But all of that process somehow or other takes about a year. Again, they can speed it up to six months if they really want to, but it...you run the risk of running into a lot of typographical errors in the book if you speed it up to six months, because you have everybody proofreading at breakneck speed. But anyway, that's the process. It's quite a lengthy process, and they are very used to that process. And publishing is a very conservative industry--they like to move at their own pace, they like to move at their own cycles. They really don't like to publish more than one book a year by an author."

"Have you ever thought about werewolves?" -- Robert G, ARVLFC Member

Anne answered: "Thank you for your question about werewolves. I leave werewolves entirely to my sister, Alice Borchardt. Her name is Alice O'Brien Borchardt, because she is my sister...we're both O'Brien's, but she married a man named Borchardt. She is the author of two absolutely thrilling novels that have already been published: DEVOTED and BEGUILED, and she has written a third novel called THE SILVER WOLF, in which she deals with werewolves. So, I stayed clear of the subject. Alice is published, her two novels are out, and I can't recommend them more highly, in terms of style and storytelling. They are simply marvelous. She has a great, great gift. But in THE SILVER WOLF, she is going to plunge into the world of the supernatural, and I'm waiting breathlessly to read the manuscript. But I, myself, will probably never venture into werewolf territory. I've sort of backed off to give that territory entirely to Alice, or to allow that territory entirely to Alice, because Alice claimed it very, very early in her work."

"My question to you is, how did you find the courage to open your work to the public?" -- Arianna T. from Florida

Anne answered: "Arianna, opening your work to the public does take a lot of courage, it's true. But with me, it was my dream. It was my obsession. I wanted to be a writer, I wanted my books to be read, I wanted the full expression of any talent I possessed, and any insight I possessed to find its way into books. And so, from the very beginning, I simply went at it passionately, almost like a sportsman would go at it. I worked at it and worked at it and worked at it, and kept sending out my manuscripts until finally one was accepted for publication, and that was INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. I used to circulate my manuscripts amongst my friends, something which I don't really always recommend to young writers. Your friends can sometimes be very far from impartial. However, I was always sort of dying to be a writer, dying to be reborn as a writer, and as a writer, I do feel that I am fulfilling my vocation. And it is a vocation--that's what critics sometimes fail to understand--it isn't a sport, it may feel like a sport when you are going at it, but it's really a vocation, and you take it very seriously. And really, every word I write almost has a religious feeling for me, and a religious intensity. But, it was something I was bound to do, and pushed to do, and compelled to do, and willed myself to do, and I woulnd't choose any other life."

"I enjoy the darkness of your stories, but there is always a meaning to the darkness, a light at the end of the tunnel. I have found that there is always some goodness, whether intentional or not. This is what differentiates you from other 'horror' writers." -- Paul C. from Australia

Anne responded: "Well, I appreciate your comments. Goodness fascinates me as much as evil, and I find it very hard to read a writer who does not have compassion for humanity, and compassion for his or her characters. For example, right now I am reading THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, by Shirley Jackson, and I find it very hard to understand Shirley Jackson's attitude toward her characters, because I don't see love coming from Shirley Jackson toward those characters. In any event, I'm guilty of over-loving my characters, and always want to emphasize the battle between good and evil. The fact that we are complex beings is what fascinates me. The fact that there really are very few purely evil people in the world, and the purely evil people probably are very dull. I wouldn't want to write about them."

"I am a French fanatical of your books, but the translation is very slow. I said this because the last new book to come out in French is TALTOS." -- Jean-Franaois B. from Quebec

Anne answered: "This answer is for Jean-Franaois in Quebec, and really your question has been asked, apparently, by a lot of people--why are the translations so slow. All I can say is that it takes time. The foreign publishers don't consider the manuscript until it is finished, and about to be published in English, then they have to take time to have it translated and printed, and they do lag behind. Also, sometimes certain language groups just don't buy books unless they consider those books to be gigantic sellers. I recently had a turn down from a Danish publisher on my new book, VIOLIN, and I was crushed, absolutely crushed that they didn't want to publish it. But these things happen. The translations are moving along, though, at about as rapid a clip as they can."

"What tools do you use to invoke your muse?" --Fred R. from North Carolina

Anne answered: "Well, the two primary tools I use are reading and music. If I am really feeling dry and I want to write, and the spirit is very willing, I will read. I will pick up something like maybe Henry James' WASHINGTON SQUARE or Nabokov's LOLITA, and I'll read just a few paragraphs--enough to get my juices going. In fact, shamelessly, I sometimes read my own books. I pick up THE VAMPIRE LESTAT, I read a passage where Lestat is having an adventure. And I get back into Lestat's voice, and I'm suddenly off and going. The other thing is music, but I love to listen to Beethoven and to Mozart--they are very inspirational--but I do have to turn them off once I start to write. In fact, I have to set the books aside, or the records aside, because when I write I have to focus entirely on the writing."

"What's the greatest asset a writer must possess in order to be successful?" --Shanta P. from Florida

Anne answered:"Boy, that's a tough question to answer, because in a way, the first and foremost thing you have to be is a writer--you have to have something to write. But you can be a writer and not be successful, if you don't have faith. You really need faith in yourself, and tremendous, tremendous fortitude to be able to withstand people's criticism over the years, and people's questions like "why do you want to be a writer", or "what makes you think you can be a writer". That's what you have to do, you have to believe in yourself. You have to say very early on "I am a writer, this is what I want to do, I want to write about the world", and you have to write and you have to believe in yourself. And sometimes, you have to do that when you don't know what you're doing. I mean, you might be in an exciting place, and you might feel a terrific urge to write a detective novel, and you might not know why, and you might suddenly start writing it simply because you saw someone walk by with their collar up, or their hat tilted a certain way...you have to go with that. The main thing is to write. In fact, the most important thing is to get it down on paper, for whatever reason. Exploit...exploit any excuse you can to keep going. And fortitude is the most important thing, other than the talent itself. Don't believe people who tell you that writing can't be taught. You can learn a lot about writing, you can learn it from other writers, and you can learn it from just reading books very carefully. You can learn a lot about technique, a great deal. It's not that natural. I mean, it can be extremely natural, and it can flow naturally, but you can also overcome a lot of obstacles and make a much more professional and effective style for yourself simply by studying what other people do. It's helped me a lot to just over and over again read the beginnings of David Copperfield and study how Dickens opens those chapters and reveals David's life. They are very, very helpful. Some of the early chapters of GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Dickens, and many books have taught me many things. I learned a lot from the French writer, Simenon--he's a detective writer. Simenon had a way of writing...he would write a book in two weeks. He would lock himself in a room, and he would write for two weeks, they would have to bring his meals to the door and he would speak to no one, and he had a very spare way of writing. I read him to learn how to do that, because I tend to write in a rush of words, an abundance of words, and I learned from him how to space out...how to use some white space on the page, how to say in one sentence, maybe, the same thing instead of in five. So, you learn all the time, you learn from everything."

"I am studying for my Master's in archaeology, and I find your accounts of historical events so much more interesting than any text may try to recreate!" -- Christy M. from California

Anne responded: "Oh, I am absolutely honored by your comments. Archaeology is my passion, and I do go to great lengths to make my archaeological backgrounds extremely accurate. I did enormous research for SERVANT OF THE BONES, studying ancient Sumer and Babylon, and the Hebrews exiled in Babylon, and I try to make everything I said about the tablet house and the Temple of Marduk completely real. Of course, some of what happens with the god Marduk in the book is fictional--we don't really know what they did in the ceremony when they paraded through the streets--but every detail supporting the fiction is accurate, so thank you very, very much. I can't tell you what that means!"

"How long did it take you to write your first book, and how long did it take for it to be published?" -- Melissa F. from Florida

Anne answered: "It didn't really take very long to write INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. I would say the total time was 5 weeks during one year, and 10-1/2 weeks during the following year when I revised it. And it took about a year to get it in the hands of a publisher who wanted it. I started sending it out, and I really did it rather slowly. And then, all of a sudden, on October 4, 1974, it was accepted for publication, and I was absolutely overjoyed. Of course, if somebody had told me it would be 1976 before we saw print, I would have been very upset, but it worked out very well."

"I teach composition at the college level. Do you have any suggestions for using your work in the academic arena?" -- Anita L. from Kansas City

Anne answered: "Well, if you use my work in the academic arena, I hope you'll emphasize that I write in a very free way. I write excessively. I write what I want to write. And I can go from blunt, abrupt and very modern at one moment, to very florid and very old-fashioned in another. And one reason I like to write about immortal characters, or characters that have lived through different centuries, is that I can mix the different styles and ways of thinking. But I'm delighted that you're thinking of using me in the class, that's wonderful!"

"I first read INTERVIEW in 1978, and thought it the most lyrical piece of fiction written this century. Now that I teach literature, I am able to have students read it...I also am in awe of your ability to plumb the depths of male sexuality...you seem to understand men perfectly." -- Luke B. from Mississippi

Anne responded: "I treasure the compliment about understanding men. I am really always writing about myself, and I've never felt entirely comfortable with the label "woman". I don't really understand the meaning of " feminine gender", and if I do understand men better-it's something natural and innate. I went with it as a writer, and didn't try to bend it in any way, and I'm glad that I did."

"When you are writing your stories, do you ever surprise yourself with an unplanned character or scenario?" -- Carmen L. from Indiana

Anne answered: "This happens all the time, Carmen. It happens more often than you would imagine. A character will simply pop up, a story will take a turn, one thing will build on another. That's why it's so important to get to the machine and write, even when a writer feels dry. If you just start to write, things will start to happen, surprises will come. One thing will create another thing...one thing will set off a chain reaction."

"I am a freshman special education English teacher at a small high school in Texas and would love for you to write on a lower reading level so my students could read your books. The kind of books that are of high interest but low levels." -- Fred A. from Texas

Anne responded: "You make a very interesting suggestion, and I have tried to write books for children, but I find that I really can write on only one level, and that's the level that I remain on most of the time. I can get more simple sometimes, and I can get more florid, but I pretty much maintain the same voice. I do believe writing for children, however, is an absolutely marvelous goal, and I will never forget the stories of Oscar Wilde for children. I read them over and over again when I was a child, and they had a profound influence on me, particularly THE HAPPY PRINCE. I'm not sure I have the gift."

"Have all your characters metamorphosized, or has your world that you dreamed of as a child grown up too?" -- Mitchell B. from Washington

Anne answered: "That's a hard question to answer. My characters come newborn into my imagination, and obviously, their compilations from all different areas and experience, and I don't think of them as metamorphosizing so much as I think of them growing and changing. But definitely, they undergo a metamorphosis. I would say one of the faults of every book I write is that the book itself mutates before the end. It may start, for example, as a ghost story, and it will mutate into an alien being story by the end. THE WITCHING HOUR is the case in point."

"If fate never directed you to writing, what would you be doing right now?" -- Jing G. from Las Vegas

Anne answered: "Gosh, I have no idea. In fact, it's a very sad thought to me...I don't know what I would have done. I think being a writer was the only path for me, it was the only road, almost from early childhood. And the path was so securely marked, that there was no deviation. I shudder to think if I had not had the opportunities, or if something had prevented me from writing, I probably would be one of those very desperate, unhappy, frustrated people who dreams of writing."

"I read somewhere a couple of years ago that sometimes you jot comments/ideas/questions/etc. on the walls or doors of your writing room. Does this serve for inspiration later or to stay on track with a certain idea or path or is it just a quick way of keeping original thoughts easily accessible?" -- Sherry M. from Florida

Anne answered: "I think all of the above are true. I write on the wall so I don't forget, I write on the walls because I enjoy it, I write on the walls because the written word acts as a constant reminder and a constant trigger for the imagination, and for inspiration. I have an irresistible urge to write down ideas that I have late at night, for fear that they won't be remembered in the morning, and I've often written long paragraphs down the doors. As a child I wrote on the walls. But really, it has to do with memory. It has to do with wanting to remember, not just the idea or the concept of the word, but the emotional feeling behind it. I'm leaving a code for myself. I'm writing in English, and there is no real code, but in a way it's all a code, because it's a shorthand for what I'm talking about. For example, if I have an idea for a novel I might write two words, but I know what they mean, and I know all the thoughts that lie behind those words. And the whole room, at this point, is covered. I'm going to have to find a way to write on the ceiling!"

"We enjoyed your appearance on POLITICALLY INCORRECT. Would you ever consider a political spin to your genre?" -- Anita M. from Arizona

Anne answered: "Well, I think all of my books have political overtones, but they have cosmic political overtones. In SERVANT OF THE BONES, I talked a great deal about East and West, and what was happening economically, and in the villain , Gregory Belkin, I put forth an idea for annihilating most of the world, and I get more emboldened with each book to talk about the political situation. Even in the book TALTOS I talked a great deal about what the Industrial Revolution had meant to people in terms of beauty, in bringing beauty into their lives, so I'm getting more political, I think, all the time."

"Your versatility is admirable. Are the themes you write about all in your mind before you write, or do they come later as you do your writing?" -- Patricia K. from Georgia

Anne answered: "Both things happen at once, really. I start off with ideas that are in my mind. They inspire me to start writing, and then, as I write new ideas come to me and inevitably change the work. No work ever turns out at the end to be exactly the way I envisioned it from the beginning. It always grows--it always grows arms and legs and branches. Forget the arms and legs...it grows branches. It's like a tree that grows many more branches and offshoots than I expect. It may become a whole grove of trees!"

"With so many characters from so many different books and storylines, how does Anne keep each character's adventures and history straight?" -- Kenny A. from Georgia

Anne answered: "I don't keep the characters straight! I focus on them in small groups, and very, very intensely, and I have to confess that I have to go back and look up things. I couldn't tell you right off the top of my head certain things about Pandora...I'd have to go back and look them up, for example. And now that I'm writing ARMAND, I have to go back and re-read all the sections that pertain to Armand to gear up for it."

"I was wondering, as an aspiring writer, if you spent a long time sending short stories to magazines, or were you more interested in novels (as I am)?" -- Michael H. from Michigan

Anne answered: "I think sending short stories to magazines is a very frustrating thing to do. There are very few magazines that publish short stories, and there are hundreds of short stories being written. I spent very little time doing it before I gave up completely. I also found the novel was really my form. I don't think I've written three short stories in my life."

"Being a Houdini fan, I wondered if Anne has ever considered a character like him for any of her writings." -- Steve M. from California

Anne answered: "I never thought about Houdini, really, as a character. I just haven't gotten to him. I did a great deal of his friend, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, they were very, very close friends, and they were both interested in spiritualism. I'm very fond of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's supernatural stories, so maybe eventually I'll get to Houdini."


"Thomas in California asks what tips I might have for writers regarding character development. Thomas, I write too instinctively to have specific tips. The old cliche really applies to me in that my characters come to life as I write. I trust to a deep feeling about who the character is and what he is doing, but I don't analyze too consciously. Character takes care of itself. I think to be the kind of writer I am, one has to be a very good listener. And when you write you reveal all that you've heard. You've heard what many people have to say about themselves either directly or indirectly, and you create your characters from all you've heard. The process can go wrong sometimes for me. I have written as much as forty pages with a character and then decided I was in a fog or a dead end. I've thrown out the material and begun again. But most of the time, character is somewhat spontaneous." --Anne Rice, April 1999

"Zozan in Illinois asks why I have my characters have homosexual or bisexual tendencies. This comes very naturally to me in my writing. My characters transcend gender in their choices of whom to love. It is not something I planned, not something I need to direct. I suppose I see bisexuality as strength; I see it as deeply honest and powerful." --Anne Rice, April 1999

"Ashley from Minnesota asks: How much of what I write is fact, and how much fiction? Well, obviously, Ashley my stories are fiction and my characters are all fictional, but I research my novels to a tremendous degree, and what I say about historical events, historical persons, and about cities and other places is all based in fact. For example, everything about ancient Rome in the novel PANDORA is correct to the best of my knowledge. Everything about Florence, Italy is correct in VITTORIO. I wonder how many of you enjoy the historical details." --Anne Rice, April 1999

"Kathleen in San Antonio asks if I have experienced some of the supernatural things occurring in my books. Actually, I have experienced very little that is supernatural. I have had two decidedly prophetic dreams in my life, rather terrible dreams that did come true, but other than that - - a mild psychic ability to think about a person right before the person calls me on the phone or visits - - I have had no supernatural experiences. I am open, however. I read greedily anything I can find on ghosts, near death experiences, and mysticism." --Anne Rice, April 1999

"Suzanne in Alabama asks if when I am writing a new novel, I devote my full attention to it or do other tasks at the same time? Generally, I devote my full attention to the novel in question. I choose a time when there will be minimal distractions and then I throw myself into the writing, working in 12 hour shifts day after day. I often lose sleep and become slightly manic. When the novel is finished, I am exhausted yet cannot sleep for three days. But that is ideal. I have done it in other ways in the past, interrupting for necessary projects, and returning to the novel. The wonderful thing about being a novelist is that you can do it just about any way that you want." --Anne Rice, April 1999

"Jennifer from Virginia asks about my research work, and how long it takes. Jennifer, it varies tremendously from novel to novel. I tend to over-research. I have an insatiable appetite for information and will read volumes on the Amazon jungles just in order to get one scene in a novel the way I want it. But as I've explained in the past, research isn't merely accumulation of facts for me. It is inspiration. Research is also relaxing to me. When I knock off writing, I pick up a book on ancient Egypt, or on Near Death Experiences, and sit back and read and enjoy while taking notes and underlining passages the whole time. I'm blessed in that I love to devour knowledge, and the knowledge sparks my imagination. --Anne Rice, April 1999

"Rachel from California asks, do I plan my novels ahead of time, or just sit down and write? Rachel, I've done it both ways with some success. The ideal method for me is to have a scaffolding for the novel, then to hang on that scaffold all kinds of spontaneously developing plot ideas and characters. Another way of seeing it is this: I have a road map for my novel, and I set out on that road, filling in everything along the route. But let me remind you, as I have so often reminded others, novel writing can be done in any way that you choose, any way at all. That is what makes our profession so incredibly wonderful." --Anne Rice, April 1999

"Michael and Quan in North Carolina ask where do I get the names of my characters? Actually I search passionately for names in many sources. I look through baby name books. I circle the beautiful names when I come across them in history books and art books, and I sometimes write beautiful names on the walls of my room, having come across them in random reading. Names are extremely important to me. I can't progress with the character until I have the name and can rapidly say the name, and type the name." --Anne Rice, June 1999

FAQ Answers: Vampires

What are the new books you are working on?

In July 2001, Anne replies, "BLOOD AND GOLD will be released by Knopf before the end of October. BLOOD AND GOLD is the story of Marius, my favorite child of the millennium. Doing Marius' story really challenged my imagination. I had to cover 2000 years. I came away loving Marius and understanding his logical and rational Roman mind very deeply. He was my teacher. Just a few days ago, I received the first bound galleys of BLOOD AND GOLD and this was very exciting. Each stage of publication is thrilling for an author. And of course, the bound galley is an early stage of the book where you see the work in print for the first time. BLOOD AND GOLD is a very pure Vampire Chronicle."

"What happens to a vampire's soul once it leaves its supernaturally strong body?" -- Linda T. from New Jersey

Anne answered: "Who knows??!!! You ask what happens to a vampire's soul once it leaves its supernaturally strong body. I would say the vampire's soul has to face the same consequences as a human soul. Once that soul is liberated, it is no longer earthbound, and it could, according to my books, it could remain earthbound in a bodiless form for awhile, in a state of torment or torture, or it could go on into the light, or it could go on to some accounting...we don't know. That's the horrible truth, and the truth that I can't deny in the novels. We don't really know. But I think its fate is no different from that of a human soul. It started as a human soul before it became a vampire soul, and a soul it remains."

"Is there anyway I could get into direct contact with Lestat?" -- Marie from Oregon

Anne answered: "My darling, you ask if you could get in direct contact with Lestat. Let me assure you, you don't want to be in direct contact with Lestat! If Lestat is out there, which I'm sure he is, Lestat is one of the most dangerous individuals prowling the Earth. You don't want direct contact with him...you never know what he is going to do. I mean, I think he showed himself in THE TALE OF THE BODY THIEF to be perfectly capable of being absolutely capricious, even to those he deeply loves, let alone the innocent, and so you don't want direct contact with him. Remember, he is a hero, but he's also a monster. He's a tragic hero...he hasn't conquered his instincts, and half the time he acts very impulsively and very spontaneously, and he is a vampire to the core."

"I would appreciate it if maybe in one of your books you could say what happened to Jesse, Gabrielle, Daniel, Khayman and all of the others from QUEEN OF THE DAMNED." -- R. Manchester from San Francisco

Anne responded: "Well, I am actually planning to answer those questions in a series of short novels that I am envisioning right now. In fact, I have already commenced on one called PANDORA. Pandora, as you probably know, is one of the ancient vampires...she was the consort of Marius, who was made a vampire in ancient Roman times. I want to do a whole series of short novels named after the specific characters, that at least tells stories about them and their origins, and the form of these novels will be letters that they write to David Talbot, who will beecome sort of the scribe of the vampires, now that he is a vampire. As you know, in life David Talbot was a member of the Talamasca, and he was a scribe of the supernatural, a scholar of the supernatural. Well, as a vampire, I think he is going to become the scribe and the scholar of the vampires, and he is going to begin recording their stories. We hope, ideally, that our short novels will come out alongside of our big novels. That it will not be a substitution situation, so much as parallel publishing of of the short novels devoted to the individual vampire characters. And of course, I may devote some to the individual Mayfair characters, or individual Talamasca stories. The possibilities are endless, and I'm working on it now."

"Just how big a part of your life is Lestat?" -- Danielle T. from Connecticut

Anne answered: "Lestat...it's hard to describe Lestat. Lestat, in a way, is my whole life, because even when I'm not writing about Lestat, I'm looking at the world through Lestat's eyes, and it's Lestat who has made me a world traveller. Lestat who's transported me out of myself, and my preoccupation with my limitations, both physical and spiritual. Lestat is more than just a created charcter to me. He is a symbol of some kind of freedom and dominance, and yet I never kid myself about his evil. He represents the ruthless side in us, but he's part of my thoughts night and day. And, part of my conversation night and day, I suppose. Almost everything I see, I ask myself 'What would Lestat think of this...how would Lestat react to this,' so I would say that he is the other half of me, but he is the male ruthless half of me that, thank God, does not exist, except in fiction."

"Could you please tell me the issue of Playboy that had an article by Armand?" -- Tara H. from Massachusetts

Anne answered: "You know, I don't know the issue of Playboy that had the article by Armand. I did it, and it was many years ago. I know it was 1979 or 1980. They sent me a series of pictures, which I think were rather tasteful and nice pictures, and they asked me to write a dialog that went along with the pictures, and I did, and it was from the point of view of Armand. But, I don't remember the issue. I think it was an anniversary issue, a huge fat anniversary issue published in 1980, but I'm not absolutely certain. Maybe Playboy could be of some help in that regard. We kept copies of it, but God knows those copies are probably in a trunk, in the attic of St. Elizabeth's Orphanage, or God knows where."

"It seems that Maharet and her sister are not as powerful as Khayman. Hope you can shed some light on this dark point about the really old and dark people." -- Lindy C. from The Philippines

Anne responded: "Maharet is really the most powerful. She is the most powerful for a variety of reasons, really, that have to do with her development as a character. But she never, in the thousands of years wince she was made a vampire, has she ever, ever, ever slept. And also, she and her sister consumed the spirit Amel directly from the brains of Akasha when they slew her, as you know. They took the spirit into themselves so they really are the Queens of the Damned. Khayman is very powerful, and you're right that he was made before Maharet, but Khayman is a character who has never, never had the same attitude toward his power that Maharet has, so she's definitely more powerful."

"I would love to learn more about Mael." -- Amy M. from Ohio

Anne responded: "I look forward to writing about all the vampires in this individual series of small books on the vampires that I want to do, and I will definitely have one book dedicated entirely to Mael, telling about how he became a vampire after he made Marius...after he got Marius into the situation where Marius became a vampire. But, again, that's part of my dream, the small vampire series. I think sometimes of calling it the Velvet Vampire Series of small novels that I'd like to bring out right parallel with my larger novels. But I understand your interest in Mael, he was a druid in THE VAMPIRE LESTAT, and I found him a very enigmatic and strange character, and I've never ever been able to forget him. I think the last time we saw him was on the church steps, approaching morning, in MEMNOCH THE DEVIL, but there is no proof that he immolated himself, so I have an open end with Mael."

"I am 15 years old..I love your unperfect Lestat--everybody is unperfect but this is wonderful. If you are ten or much older, you will do ever the same wonderful mistakes." -- Susann R. from Germany

Anne responded: "I want to say I appreciate your appreciating his mistake making, but remember the adage of Benjamin Franklin that only a fool learns by his own mistakes. We have to learn by others' mistakes, so we must learn by Lestat's mistakes so we don't make them ourselves."

"Anne, I want to know more and more about Mekare and Pandora." -- Casey R. from Pennsylvania

Anne responded: "You are going to find out very soon a lot about Pandora, maybe more than you'd want to konw, because I'm working on a little novel called PANDORA, which is all a letter that Pandora writes to David Talbot, describing her."

"I would like to be able to read THE MASTER OF RAMPLING GATE, but I can't find it anywhere." -- Cynthia S. from Florida

Anne responded: "THE MASTER OF RAMPLING GATE was only published as a short story in Redbook , but your question is very timely about THE MASTER OF RAMPLING GATE, because I am presently re-writing it as a novella. I want it to be a short novel, and I have just begun, and I'm all wrapped up in the story of RAMPLING GATE. I am working on three short novels, really. One is titled ARMAND, one is titled THE MASTER OF RAMPLING GATE, and one is titled PANDORA. And you will get, I think...when you get THE MASTER OF RAMPLING GATE, you will get it in a much more satisfactory form, published out of New York, and it will be the elongated version, and not the little short story. Now the little short story, THE MASTER OF RAMPLING GATE, has been anthologized a couple of times, and I believe it is appearing in a new anthology of vampire stories. It pops up in a lot of different places. We're asked for permission to reprint it. There was also a very interesting graphic novel done of it, with rather classic drawings that reminded me of the old classic comics. But, again, please wait for my novella, because I hope that it will be worth it."

"How old is Lestat?" -- Katie K. from Florida

Anne answered: "Lestat was actually 19 or 20 when he was made a vampire. He was a man for his age, but he was also...boys then didn't mature until they were 18, but once you did mature--once the coin was flipped at 19 or 20, you were pretty much a man, and Lestat had the responsibilities of a man. So, by the time he ran away to Paris, I think he's age 20 in the book, I'd have to look it up myself, but he has physically never aged beyond the age of 20. He has changed over the years as he's acquired blood from the elder vampires, and gained in strength, and also he's burned himself very badly in the sun trying to commit suicide in the Gobi Desert, and that has caused his appearance to change somewhat, so that he has, now, a rather bronzed look, but he's still the image of a 20 year old male."

"Lestat, in INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, said that "the gift is different for each of us"...what is Louis' gift?" -- James P. from Vermont

Anne answered: "What Lestat meant was that the dark gift of immortality has different effects on different people. That they respond in different ways. Some people are emboldened, and some people are weakened. Some people are crippled by it, and destroyed by it. Other people are made into monsters by it. But the fundamental thing that happens with Louis is that it doesn't change him. He is a guilt-ridden adult, living in grief over his dead brother, and he becomes a guilt-ridden vampire, living in grief over the fact that he has to take life in order to live. Perhaps it's a lesson to Lestat that the basic personality doesn't always change. In the book ARMAND that I am writing now, I wanted to get into a totally different kind of situation. The ancient vampire, Marius, actually chose Armand and schooled him as a mortal for several years before giving him the dark gift, and I want to talk about that and how that affects Armand for the rest of his life."

"What does Lestat's name mean?" -- Stephanie J. from California

Anne answered: "Actually, Lestat's name doesn't mean anything. It is a name that I made up. I search hard and long for names that are unique, and Lestat is, in a way, a mistake. There is an old French name in Louisiana, "Lestan", and my husband's name is Stan, and I thought I was using the old French name when I wrote Lestat . It was only later that I realized I had added a "t" for an "n", and created a name that didn't exist, so you might call it a Freudian slip. Lestat was definitely...his confidence, his self confidence, his blonde hair, his blue eyes, his feline grace...all of that was inspired by my husband, Stan. So maybe it means "the Stan"."

"Lestat and Louis can't have children, but Vernor Deacon Trent (Dan Simmons's vampire) can have children with a "normal" woman or with a vampire woman. What do you think about that?" -- Magali P. from Belgium

Anne answered: "Well, it's something...I think each of us makes our own mythology and explores our own ideas. It would be very inconsistent with my mythology for my vampires to be able to have children--they are really dead--or take on a new life. There's no way to procreate. They have no living sperm in them. But, it think it's an interesting idea for vampire writers to write about vampires in different ways. The legends vary, and so does the fiction, and so do the movies."

"My second son was born very premature and because of his very apparent strength and will to survive, my husband and I named him Madison "Lestat" Brogan. He is almost 2 now and very healthy and is living up to his name!" -- Misty K. from California

Anne responded: "I'm very happy to hear that, and I wish all blessings on Madison Lestat Brogan, and I wish him a long life!"

"Why do you think that your fans are so attracted to the concept of tormented immortality?" -- Frank Joseph D. from California

Anne answered: "Well, I think we all want to be immortal. We all want to be immortal, yet we're all relieved that there is the possibility of death...that suffering would not be eternal. We can conceive of the eternal, but we really don't have to put up with it, and it's an idea...an idea planted in our minds with consciousness, and we don't know what to make of it all. We don't know what to make of the fact that we can conceive of being immortal, and yet we're not immortal."

"If you had to explain why vampires must stay out of sunlight, what would be your answer?" -- Dina Z. from New York

Anne answered: "Well, the spirit that has taken them over and made them inhuman is too sensitive to sunlight. It can't thrive in sunlight--it's simply paralyzed by sunlight, and weakened--and it can't enliven their flesh. Therefore, the flesh starts to burn, because the flesh is dead anyway. That's the reason. I gave it a physiological explanation that had to do with the physiological laws that govern a spirit world or a cosmology."

"What about older vampires? I have the idea you don't like them very much...if you like violins, try to listen to Paganini's concert played by Salvatore Accardo...he is violin's god, believe me." --Andrea C. from Italy

Anne answered: "Thank you for your recommendation on Paganini, and I will follow up on it. I adore violin music of any kind. I do like the old vampires, and I'm writing right now on a short novel, PANDORA, about the very oldest--Marius and Pandora--and I'm having quite a wonderful time with it."

"If I may ask you, is there any reason why you chose to name the character Dora?" -- Dora L. from Massachusetts

Anne answered: "I was thinking of Dora as short for Theodora, meaning she who adores God, and I just thought it was a lovely name. I pick my names, really, by instinct and feeling they have to feel right for the character, they have to be pretty to me, and they have to have a sound that I can hear Lestat saying aloud, and Dora was a perfect name. I was also probably influenced by Dora in David Copperfield, by Dickens."

"The thing that I find more often than not, is that there is a part of almost all those characters in us, either at previous stages of our lives, or right now, and that would be to me the explanation as to why so many people, from so many different backgrounds, have taken THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES, and given these vampires a special place in their hearts." -- Luke C. from Australia

Anne answered: "Well, I really treasure your comment. I think that if any literature or any story telling is going to have value, what you say has to be true the characters have to have hearts of human beings in them, they have to have deeply human traits. The author has to be telling everything that he or she knows about human beings, and so there must be levels and levels of truth, and I hope my books live up to that."

"Why can't immortals drink the blood of the dead?" -- Laura L. from Minnesota

Anne answered: "Answer, the immortals can drink the blood of the dead, it just doesn't taste very good. It's cold. The idea that tom cruise was going to be hurt by dead blood was an idea that came from Neil Jordan and the movie makers, it was never something that I wrote about in my books. As a matter of fact, Lestat describes very bitterly, in THE VAMPIRE LESTAT how Armand once gave him a dead body so that all he had to drink was dead blood. It doesn't, in any way, harm them. They just don't like it. It's like cold coffee!"

"I love your VAMPIRE CHRONICLES. I was wondering, in all of your series, there is a minority of Asian characters. I think it will be great if we had an Asian vampire, preferably Filipino." -- Desiree C. from Los Angleles

Anne answered: "Oh, I appreciate your comment, but I think what I'm showing is my ignorance when it comes to Asian culture. I simply don't feel as sure of myself in writing about Asian characters as I do writing about Western characters. Maybe I'll overcome this the more I read, and the more I study, and the more people I get to know. I would like very much to deal with a Hindu vampire."

"MEMNOCH THE DEVIL was incredible. How much did PARADISE LOST affect you in the writing of this story?" -- Melina R. from Arkansas

Anne answered: "I've never really read PARADISE LOST, so it affected me very little. I began to read it while I was writing MEMNOCH, and I was absolutely overwhelmed by the beauty of Milton's language, and I want to read more of PARADISE LOST, but it really had, as it stands, almost no influence."

"Why does everyone connect so much with Lestat? Why do I catch myself still thinking about him, over a year after I read the books?" -- Beary L. from Ontario

Anne answered: "I wish I knew. I know I, myself, identify completely with Lestat. I can say Lestat is my other self, he's my male self. He and I travel together. He does the things I wish I could do, but can't. I love the fact that people identify with him. I worked very hard, and at the same time, it was a great joy to get a very intimate voice in the Lestat books. Lestat really sounds like he's sitting at the table, talking to you, because that's the way I feel about him when I'm writing--that he's right there, telling me the story, leaning over my shoulder, telling me to get it right, pointing out things I should change, breathing down my neck, doing everything but biting me! Which he wouldn't dare!"

"I have been wondering whether the myth of the red haired sisters is based on actual Egyptian myths or whether it is a complete fabrication." -- Sean F. from California

Anne answered: "There is a fantastic book, as you probably know, by Sir James Frasier, which is called THE GOLDEN BOUGH, and in it, Sir James Frasier mentions that the Egyptians were very superstitious about red haired people, and they usually sacrificed them to the gods. They sacrificed them for the growth of the crops. And out of that idea came my attitude of the Egyptians toward Mekare and Maharet, but I don't really know how true it is. I haven't checked Frasier's sources."

"I know that you use names in history and mythology in your stories and I was also wondering where you got the name Maharet and Mekare from...am I missing something?" -- Monica L. from Illinois

Anne answered: "Actually, you're not missing something. You are falling into a trap that I have set for you. I try very hard to make up names that do not have any precedents. I study names and combine names, and the sound of names means a great deal to me. I seek for a name that sounds like, but is not the same as a mythical name or a god's name, or a goddess' name. So, you will not find Mekare or Maharet or Memnoch or Lestat in any book. Every time I meet a new baby named Lestat I am overjoyed, because I feel like I have put a name into the language. I haven't met a baby named Memnoch!"

"The Vampire's Chronicle is quite complete but I think one volume is still missing: Claudia's diary. Will you think about it?" -- Sophie D. from Belgium

Anne answered: "Yes, I've done a great deal of thinking about Claudia's diary. I've written part of it, as you know, in THE QUEEN OF THE DAMNED, and it definitely opened the door for the entire diary to be revealed. I have many plans for the other vampire characters many plans to talk about their adventures and their lives, and where they come from and things that have happened to them apart from the main story of Lestat's adventures, so THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES are, in a way, broadening and beginning all over again for me in a new way. I am also writing at the present time about an English vampire who's completely disconnected from THE CHRONICLES. He has nothing to do with them. He's not of the same tribe."

"I was just wondering if your loss of Lestat upset you greatly, or were you ready for him to leave?" -- Kathryn R. from Australia

Anne answered: "I was very upset when Lestat left. But I think it was inevitable. I think it was a response to having seen the film INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, it was a response to having written MEMNOCH THE DEVIL, it was a response to having gotten so close to Lestat, and so deep into Lestat's pain. However, as time passes, I believe that Lestat and I will come back together. I feel him approaching, I feel him sort of...I know he's out there. I'm going to describe him from Armand's point of view, in the book ARMAND, and I think he'll start speaking directly, and I hope maybe he'll have something to say by the end of that book."

"I am currently reading CONVERSATIONS WITH ANNE RICE by Michael Riley. It has helped me understand the meaning of your books on a new level. You discussed how you wrote that book (TALE OF A BODY THIEF) from an older point of view...being that I'm only 18...I will definitely reread it after I lived a little longer." -- Jennifer A. from Alabama

Anne responded: "That's a wonderful response. TALE OF THE BODY THIEF does have a theme, though, that I think appeals to all ages, and that's the theme that we often think we want something desperately, and it's not what we want at all. And Lestat really thinks he wants to be human again, and finds out that he doesn't want to give up his super powers. And I do think that that's something that is timeless."

"In INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, Louis' brother died from falling down a flight of stairs. I inferred from the surrounding circumstances that Lestat actually pushed him to his doom...I was hoping you could shed a little light on this discussion." -- Jeffrey L. from Michigan

Anne responded: "Lestat definitely did not push Louis' brother, he definitely didn't. Louis' brother saw something. He saw some sort of vision, and he plunged down the stairs. And the real agony of Louis is he doesn't know whether that vision was a religious vision, or whether his brother was simply crazy. And he'll never know, because his brother died, but Lestat didn't have a darn thing to do with it. Never did. I would have mentioned it a long time ago if he had been responsible. I realize only in retrospect that it looks suspicious...like Lestat set it up, but he didn't. Lestat wouldn't do that. He wouldn't kill an innocent like the brother. In fact, Lestat might have been more interested in the brother than Louis, if he'd gotten a chance to know him."

"Did you base Armand's character on anyone you know, or did that rich characterization come straight from your head?" -- Valentin B.

Anne answered: "I think Armand came straight from my head, but I'm writing ARMAND now, the book, and I'm really getting into Armand. I'm getting very, very deeply into things I never thought about Armand before. So, I know a lot more about Armand...there's a lot more of the back story of Armand emerging."

"MEMNOCH THE DEVIL was like a rich dessert after reading Dante and Milton for a comparative literature course. Thank you for an intelligent and provoking novel." -- Michelle K. from New Hampshire

Anne responded: "I don't mind being the dessert course, but I'm just as serious, and I have just as many calories as Dante and Milton! So, I want to be just as fattening, and just as significant."

"I have found Lestat 's last name used many times. Being a French citizen, I can't help but wonder where the name is coming from...tell me what city you were referring to as far as Lestat's youth with his family." -- Olier P. from Indiana

Anne responded: "I never did decide on a city for Lestat, I just said that he came from the Augergne, which is an area in France. He came from the country, and I never did give a name to his village. But the name, as far as I know, is unique."

FAQ Answers: Witches

"Will there be any more Mayfair Witches books?

In July 2001, Anne replies, "With regard to THE WITCHING HOUR - We are involved with negotiations regarding a possible television mini-series of THE WITCHING HOUR, but we have not ruled out the idea of a theatrical motion picture. I do not think I will be writing a sequel to THE WITCHING HOUR books. I feel that the trilogy -THE WITCHING HOUR, LASHER and TALTOS constitutes a complete novel in three volumes. However, the Mayfairs will continue to appear in the Vampire Chronicles and who knows - possibly they may turn up in other novels as well. The Mayfairs have become part of my psychological New Orleans landscape."

"What about the history of the Talamasca?"

Anne said: "To Debra Price who mentioned The Talamasca and that she would like to read a history of it. Debra, I am getting to this. I definitely plan to do a full book on The Talamasca, regarding its origins and also perhaps the corruption which infected the Order in the last two Mayfair books, LASHER and TALTOS. The Order lives in my mind. I appreciate your comments."

"My question is about THE WITCHING HOUR. Was it always your intention, from the beginning of this book, for Lasher to be a Taltos?" -- Audrey M. from Virginia

Anne answered: "You ask me about the Witching Hour, which is stretched into three books: THE WITCHING HOUR, LASHER, and TALTOS. And you said was it your intention from the beginning for Lasher to be a Taltos? And the answer I can give is that it really wasn't. I was groping my way. I knew Lasher was not human. I knew that he was not the ghost of a human being. I knew that he was the ghost of something else, but I had to evolve the mythology in my head as I went along. And that's generally the way I read...I create my books, building step by step, following my instincts. So no, I didn't even know the word 'Taltos,' or hadn't set upon the word 'Taltos' when I began THE WITCHING HOUR."

"Did you base THE WITCHING HOUR trilogy around your house? Does it have keyhole doorways?" -- Tiffany and Damian from Australia

Anne answered: "Yes, THE WITCHING HOUR trilogy is set in my house. I had written about four chapters of the book when we moved into 1239 First Street, and I realized I was living in the very house that I wanted to make THE WITCHING HOUR house. So, there was surprisingly little in my text so far that defined the house, and it was very easy for me to start drawing inspiration from every room around me. And the witches still live in this house with me, they co-habit with me...they live in their own world...Mona Mayfair, Rowan Mayfair, Michael. Michael, who is also a Mayfair now, we know, after three books, a descendent of Julien, and my house does have keyhole doorways. And a keyhole doorway really is simply a doorway...it's a rectangle like any other, but the frame of it flares at the bottom. The frame goes up narrows at the top, and then comes down and flares a bit the way a keyhole would flare on a door, and that's how it gets its name keyhole doorway. But yes, my house has those very keyhole doorways. In fact, every detail of my house mentioned in those three books is actually there, there is nothing added or made up. I have to confess I did glass in the porch where Deidre sits in her rocking chair for all those years in THE WITCHING HOUR...I glassed it in. I feel like I committed a sin against Deidre."

"Anymore Mayair withches hiding in the attic? -- Nicolle from San Diego

Anne answered: "There are so many! I am dying to get back to the Mayfair family! I want particularly to get back to Mona. I don't believe Mona is going to settle for what happened at the end of TALTOS. I believe Mona's links to the character who sped away at the end of TALTOS are far too tight, and I also think that Rowan and Michael both are going to feel tremendous obligation to try and get in touch with Ashlar, and find out how he is handling what has actually happened to him. I want...and also, I want to write about other Mayfairs. They are a hug clan, and one of the great joys of writing about the Mayfair family is that you're writing about people who are winners and losers. People are lost in the books, they suffer a tragic fate, but other people suffer victories and triumphs, and I love writing about both those kinds of Mayfairs. And that's another reason I want to return to Mona and Mary Jane, because I see them as real heroines who are capable of great victories in their lives. Both are little witches, and they are on their way to great Mayfair power and success."

"I also have not forgotten about your two Taltos lovers speeding towards the glen. Will they find the peace they have craved for centuries?" -- Simon C. from Australia

Anne answered: "You ask about the end of TALTOS, where we have...well we don't want to tip the ending for other people, but let's say we have a very romantic development going on. I have to get back to that myself and find out what actually happens. I have to continue the Mayfairs. There is no question that the family is calling me, and I wouldn't say it was so much the Taltos that was calling me, but the family of the Mayfairs. But I'll have to find out what the Taltos are doing. So, I don't know the answer to your question, I really don't know what the Taltos are doing in the glen, but I'm going to find out!"

"Will we ever know what happened to Ashlar and Morrigan?" -- Anna M. from Pennsylvania

Anne answered: "Some day we're going to find out what happened to everybody in the Mayfair trilogy. I have to go back to the Mayfairs, there's just no question about it. How soon and when, and...I will do that...I don't know. Right now, I'm working on ARMAND, I'm working on the autobiography of Jesus Christ, I'm working on a book called PANDORA, but I'm thinking a great deal about the Mayfairs."

"It's just so hard to find good resources that really explore witchcraft and magic. I find myself starving for information on women in history in general. Where do you look to find the foundations for your stories?" -- Christi C. from California

Anne answered: "Well, a great deal of the research I did on THE WITCHING HOUR just came right from the bookstores on Telegraph Avenue, and from the library. I go to the library and I look up witchcraft in history, and I go right through and consult all the major scholars who have written about it. There are many wonderful scholars today who are writing about this subject. Of course, the classic of all books, I think you have to start with, is THE GOLDEN BOUGH by Sir James Frazier. That book is in public domain and you shouldn't have trouble finding copies of it, particularly in California. And Frazier, before he died, went all over Europe collecting stories of how people still did things in small villages and rural areas that had echoes of medieval witchcraft, or medieval pagan, or even pre-Christian rites, and I was just fascinated by Sir James Frazier. Moving out from there, there are many other writers. Geoffrey Burton Russell has written very eloquently a whole series of books on the Devil, where he explores the personality of the Devil, the evolution of the Devil in literature and in legend. There is also Carlo Ginsburg, a wonderful writer, who has written about witchcraft. He has written several books, one of them is called NIGHT BATTLES, which is about a group of witches in Italy, and he has even more recent books with very juicy titles, and again, there are many, many scholars in the field. There are many scholars who have tackled individual countries. You can find excellent books on the history of the witchcraft persecutions in Germany, the witchcraft persecutions in England, or Scotland, or Ireland. Now, I am talking, here, only about history. I am not talking about occult knowledge itself. I have never actually delved into the writings of Madam Blavatsky, or the other occult writers, and I am not a great believer in witchcraft itself. What interests me is the tales I tell, and the inspiration I can draw from the historical material. So, really, it's not hard to find. You can even go into many scholarly book stores and just say where is your section on European history, what about witchcraft, what about the witchcraft persecutions, and you can find out a lot of historical data. Now, when it comes to real witches, and people who claim to have a tradition in their family of occult practices, you are on your own. I don't know anything about that. I will say that one of the most unpleasant letters I ever received in my life...one of the few really unpleasant letters was from a Wiccan witch who did just accuse me of everything under the sun for writing THE WITCHING HOUR. It was like receiving a letter from a member of any fundamentalist religious group--she was just furious that I had not described witches in a way that conformed to her beliefs. But I was a bit chilled by that experience, it was bizarre."

"Do you intend to write about Glamis castle that was briefly mentioned in the Mayfair witches?" -- Robert J. from England

Anne answered: "No, I am not going to write about Glamis castle, but I am very inspired by it, and in a book I am working on now, a long version of the master of Rampling gate, I am definitely using that theme, of a house possessing a secret. As I understand it, and let me repeat this for all the people tuning in, the legend of glamis castle is that when the heir is told the secret, he never smiles again. And no one knows what the secret is. An I think that is a lovely, enticing idea, especially since the prince of Wales grew up there, and he is not known for smiling! But, I want to take that idea of a house having a deep secret that only the heir knows, and I want to use it in the master of rampling gate. The master of rampling gate was originally a short story I wrote about a woman who goes to an old English house that she and her brother inherit, and I am presently making it into a novella. So, I am going to really put in all the things I had to cut out in the short story. The short story is not my form."

"Does the word "Talamasca" really mean anything or is it just a term that you coined?" -- Johnny V. from California

Anne answered: "Well Talamasca literally means animal mask, and it's an old, old name used for a sorcerer who wears an animal mask, or a shaman who wears an animal mask. And I just thought it was a beautiful name for this organization. I've yet to tell the whole story of the Talamasca , and how it started, but I will get to that."

"Did Lasher have any part in the shipwreck at the Riverwalk?" -- Mike S. from Illinois

Anne answered:"I think Lasher is pretty much out of commission. I think Lasher is buried in my backyard, as far as I know--he's still six feet under. But you never know, the vampires might have had something to do with it. It might have been the night that Lestat was swimming the river for exercise, and might have sort of pushed the boat out of course! But of course, Lestat would never hurt innocent people."

"In the history of the Taltos and the "wild Taltos"...I wasn't clear how one of these humans (witches) came to be initially..." -- Jack L. from California

Anne answered:"I'd have to go back to that particular part of the book to see specifically what I was talking about, but my idea was that once the Taltos genes got into the human gene pool, there was always the possibility of a Taltos mutation. There was always that possibility. Yes, there is definitely a link between them. There definitely is. And you can breed them, obviously, and sometimes it will take. It will work, as it does in the book with Lasher and with others. But, it's very risky."

"What I would like to know is if there is a family tree of all the Mayfair witches and all of the vampires?" -- Angelo D. from Canada

Anne answered: "No, I never made a family tree, but I think possibly if you look in Katherine Ramsland's book you will find information on this."

"Does the legend of St. Ashlar have any basis in fact, and are there any other legends of saints such as this? I am interested in sites the church has built over ancient pagan sites, mainly in Northern England and Scotland." -- Susan D. from New York

Anne answered: "The legend of St. Ashlar is purely fictional, but God knows there are many, many, many legends in Ireland and in England, and there are many churches to be investigated, and there are many saints to be investigated, about which we know very, very little. There is much to be explored, especially in the architecture of the churches themselves, which contain, as we know, demonic or pagan symbols that were apparently incorporated into the Christian iconography in order to ward off evil. I think it's an endlessly fascinating subject. I am writing about England and Ireland again, and it sends a frisson through me. But, Ashlar was completely fictional. I based Ashlar on a composite really of a number of different saints, and their accomplishments."

"In THE WITCHING HOUR, the date May 1st is mentioned several times. Any special thoughts about that date?" -- Cheryl C. from Tennessee

Anne answered:"Well, May 1st is May Day, and it's very significant to THE WITCHING HOUR, because Deborah, the first witch, was what was called a merry-begot, and that is a child conceived on may day, during the May Day revels in her village. And may day, of course, was an ancient, ancient pagan celebration of the goddess of the corn, and the goddess of the spring and the summer, and fecundity, and merry-begots were children who were conceived during the orgy, say, and nobody knew who the father was, necessarily. But they were always treated with a special indulgence, because it was understood that the May revelry had been the result of the license that produced them, and that was a holy thing. So, it's very, very important. They get their name Mayfair from the fact that Deborah was a merry-begot at the Mayfair in her village of Donnelaith, Scotland."


"I especially loved CRY TO HEAVEN and have become a great classic music fan and was delighted to get hold of a taping of Farinelli's actual singing voice...I wonder if you have seen it [FARINELLI]?" -- Jacqui C. from Tasmania

Anne answered: "You ask if I, as the author of CRY TO HEAVEN, have seen FARINELLI. Yes, I've seen FARINELLI three times, and I really love the film, actually. I don't understand some choices they made in the film. I don't think it was necessary, for example, to make Farinelli swish so much on the stage when he was singing. I think the castrati had a much more strong idea of themselves as masculine and powerful...masculine meaning powerful...and that they did not act in any way effeminate or feminine, but other than that, I loved the movie, and I thought that the two men who played Farinelli and Farinelli's brother were extrememly handsome and very, very good to watch. I thought the child in the movie, the child who wore the braces, was a fascinating character. And the scenes with that child and Farinelli fascinated me. The whole movie seemed rather triumphant. Of course, I saw similarities between it and CRY TO HEAVEN, and at first they made me uncomfortable, but we're not in competition with each other. We're in competition with ourselves. And there really was a Farinelli, and he did claim to have fallen from a horse and injured himself. And so, a great deal of it was based on history. And there is room for all our stories about the castrati."

"Merchandising idea: I'd like to hear the music you researched for the book CRY TO HEAVEN. Any possibility of re-recording and releasing it?" -- Lu Ann B. from Batesville

Anne answered: "Well, I, myself, am not in a position to re-record or re-release the music that I listened to for CRY TO HEAVEN, but a lot of it is available. The music I mention in the back, by Scarlatti , is still out, and there's an enormous amount of music by Gabrieli , the Venetian composer, and really, if you listen to any of Gabrieli, Corelli , Vivaldi , you're listening to the music of CRY TO HEAVEN. And there's quite a lot of it out, quite wonderful performances, by wonderful orchestras. Vivaldi's operas were very popular right about that time, and the soprano roles in many of them were written for castrati . And really, you won't have any trouble finding these materials."

"My personal favorite is CRY TO HEAVEN, not only because it was completely enthralling, but also because I am an opera singer and you were able to capture on paper feelings I have had while performing." -- Erica S. from New York

Anne responded: "That's very gratifying to hear, because performing is not something that I do naturally. But in my heart of hearts, I would love to have been a singer, and frequently when I am alone in the house, I sing. When no one is around, I even make up songs and improvise songs, and I would, at times, when in a very bold mood, actually make up country western songs aloud for my friends, and have them in stitches. But I really love to sing...I really love the act of singing, of just giving voice to one's feelings, and it was great to try to get into Tonio's skin and to feel what that was like. I'm a frustrated musician on many levels."

"Have you read or seen Laura Esquivel 's new book, THE LAW OF LOVE? It comes with a CD in the back of the book and throughout the text there are questions for the reader to listen to a certain piece of music that is described in the story. I would like to see a re-release of CRY TO HEAVEN which utilizes this format." -- Kimberly D. from New Zealand

Anne responded: "I love the book you are talking about, I have seen it. I haven't sat down and read it and actually followed the directions, but I think it's a marvelously innovative and original concept. I can't imagine CRY TO HEAVEN being done that way, but possibly a scholar could come along and do the annotated CRY TO HEAVEN."


What is going on with the FEAST OF ALL SAINTS miniseries?

In July 2001, Anne replies, "The mini-series of FEAST OF ALL SAINTS will be shown on SHOWTIME in November and it is positively smashing. I am overwhelmed. I feel that you guys are going to love it. The acting is superb. The script is brilliant. The whole thing is truly, no pun intended, a feast."

"While reading FEAST OF ALL SAINTS, I felt a real bond with all of the characters. You see I, myself, am a quadroon. I am working on a web page for quadroons and mulattos." -- Christian M. from Canada

Anne responded: "I think that's wonderful, a web page for quadroons and mulattos, because there's so much of black history that's unknown to the black population as a whole. First of all--I think you'll agree with me--that almost everybody in America has white blood at this point, that everyone is a quadroon or a mulatto or an octaroon, or something on that order. All people of color really have white blood, and there are great accomplishments that were never noted historically on the part of people of color. And people deserve to know more about it. They deserve to know about the thriving community in New Orleans, the artisans, the sculpturers , the photographers, all of the different people who existed who were free people of color, even during the slavery days. People managed to do a lot to overcome the horrors of slavery, and unfortunately, neither liberals nor conservatives really want to hear this. Conservatives don't want to hear it because they don't want to believe the black man was capable of that kind of ingenuity and strength, and liberals don't want to hear it because they think they're trying to say that he didn't suffer under slavery, and the opposite is true. I am saying that black men and women suffered under slavery, but I'm also saying that many of them overcame incredible odds to stay in contact, to keep their families together, to write letters, to get their freedom, and to go into business and to accomplish many things. So, I can't wait to see your page!

"I have but one question to ask of you at this time. THE FEAST OF ALL SAINTS is undoubtedly one of the best pieces of historical fiction I've ever had the pleasure of reading. On several occasions while reading about the children you depicted in that story, I truly wept at the beauty of their lives and your words. Have you ever seriously considered writing a sequel?" -- Kenn C. from New Jersey

Anne answered: "No, I think the time is long passed for me to do a sequel to FEAST OF ALL SAINTS. I'm too distant from those characters. But, I do have the very good news that Showtime has decided to make a mini series of FEAST OF ALL SAINTS, so they will have a new life in mini series form very soon. We are signing the contracts this week, as a matter of fact. It's very exciting!"


Are you going to write a sequel to RAMSES THE DAMNED (also known as THE MUMMY)?

In July 2001, Anne replies, "The latest on RAMSES THE DAMNED - I will not be writing a sequel to this book. Though I love it, so much time has passed and I hope to do something new and interesting with Egyptian history in the near future. As regards the movie rights, the project is in active development. There is a new writer working on a screenplay."

"There was quite a bit of discussion on our Anne Rice mailing list regarding ancient Egyptians possibly being black...what do you think about Ramses being black?" -- Annette C. from Chicago

Anne answered: "I think...you ask me about ancient Egyptians being black...I think it's very possible that they were black. I think if you look at the mask of Tutankhamen you can clearly see that he has African features. I don't know what the DNA evidence proves, or what it comes up with, but I would say the Egyptians were certainly black, or at various times they were a mixture of different races, and that black blood played a very heavy role in their culture. I don't know why people don't want to talk about this in a frank and open way, but prejudices develop in the archaeological world, and archaeologists become very possessive of their attitudes toward the Eqyptians, but as far as I am concerned, my mind is completely open. They may very well have been absolutely black."

"I'm a professional Egyptologist, and...I read this evening that a film version of THE MUMMY is lined up with 20TH Century Fox, and with James Cameron as director. I cannot express strongly enough my desire to be involved as a consultant on the project." -- Joann F. from England

Anne answered: "Well, unfortunately, we have very little access to the world of the movies. People who are interested in the translation of our books into miniseries and movies really have to contact the production companies directly. I know that THE MUMMY is in very good hands with James Cameron, but I really don't know what he will do with it, what direction he will go, and how he will run things. It's really his now. I tend to bow out once the contract is sold."

"I recently viewed a CNN report on the idea of cloning used on the mummies in the Cairo Museum. I wonder what your thoughts are on this." -- Jill L. from Kansas

Anne answered: "I think anything to do with cloning is absolutely tantalizing. As you know, in my novel, THE MUMMY, I played with the idea of what Ramses had really aroused from the ashes of Cleopatra was, in fact, a clone, not Cleopatra herself, because the soul couldn't have resided all those centuries in the ashes. The soul had gone on. And so, what he's dealing with is a rabid clone. I am fascinated by cloning, and I want to work with it in my novels. I'm sure every speculative fiction writer is feeling the same way right now. The idea of cloning things is just...it's too mysterious, it's too exciting, it's too inviting. And of course, many of us have known actual clones--we've know identical twins, and we know how mysterious an experience that is."


"It seems that there is a sentence in the Islamic Qur'an that regards 'the Son of God' to the Israelites. The Israeli Son of God there is called Azriel." -- Memi S. from Israel

Anne responded: "Thank you very much for telling us that story about the name Azriel, and its mention in the Islamic Qur'an. I did not know of that mention. I took the name Azriel after satisfying myself that it was a common enough Jewish name or Hebrew name that I could use it, but I love to have pieces of information like that. And tracing back names is such an adventure. So much mystery surrounds a name. I don't think any name is an accident."

"Who called Azriel to Esther's murder scene?" -- Michelle W. from Ohio

Anne answered: "You ask, in SERVANT OF THE BONES, who actually called Azriel to the murder scene of Esther. And the truth is, the scene, itself, called Azriel. Azriel had achieved such strength in the darkness, such obdurate strength, that he had become aware of what was around...going on around him with the family, and the heinous murder, itself, actually called him up. Or, another way you can look at it is that a prayer from Nathan called him up. That Nathan, the Hassid brother of Gregory (who actually murdered Esther), that Nathan, praying for his brother, unwittingly called up the Servant of the Bones which was in the posession of the family. The family spirit. Nathan didn't know this, of course, his prayer was probably to God, simply to look out for my brother, to look out for my poor step-niece, and so forth and so on. But anyway, I think that was the idea. That he had gained sufficient strength that the act itself called him forth, and that's why he was on his own recognizance from there on out."

"How did Esther recognize Azriel and call him by name as she did? -- Michelle W. from Ohio

Anne answered: "Esther knew who he was. She was on the verge of death, and when she saw Azriel through the ambulance window, she knew who he was because the door was already opening to eternal life, and she recognized him because she was getting very, very close to the moment when all things are known."

"Buying Esther's diamond necklace was a very poignant act, I think. Do you think that it is in some ways a closure to SERVANT OF THE BONES for you? -- Susan M. from Illinois

Anne answered: "It meant very much to me to go into the diamond district and buy a diamond necklace like Esther's. I am interested that you picked up that information, because I believe I talked about that on another website. It was a closure for me. I went to the diamond district where Esther would have gone, I went to a merchant such as Esther would have gone to, like Nathan, and I found this lovely diamond neklace. Of course, it was nothing as valuable as the one that my billionaire Esther character in the book would have bought, it was a much cheaper piece, but it was diamonds, real diamonds, and there was a 1 carat diamond at the heart of a cluster of diamonds, and it was a closure. These things mean a great deal to me. I am almost superstitious about possessing objects and things that had to do with my books. I have a violin, for example. Now VIOLIN, my new novel, is not coming out until October, but I own a violin. It is not a Stradivarius such as in the novel, but it is a violin, and I have to own it and possess it and hold it, and tighten the bow, and be able to pluck the strings while I am writing the novel. And I will always keep that violin, and it will be the violin of VIOLIN. So, I guess you're right, it is a kind of closure, although nothing ever really closes, let's say one more link closes, and then another link begins to form inside that link, just like the links of a rosary, or a necklace."

"What was the inspiration for Gregory's black eyes?" -- Anne H. from Pennsylvania

Anne answered: "I have known many people with very black eyes like Gregory Belkin. I have known people in my own family...we have a great deal of, let's call, 'black Irish' blood. This means that we have traits in our family that seem to descend from when the Spanish Armada crashed on the coast of Ireland, in the times of Queen Elizabeth, and a lot of the Spaniards intermarried with the Irish. And black eyes to me are not that uncommon. I am fascinated by all eyes, and as you know, I try to describe the different effects that they have on people, and I think I struggle the most with blue eyes. My own eyes are dark brown, and the eyes of many people in my family are dark brown, but I'm always fascinated by blue eyes. Maybe as fascinated as an Oriental friend of mine who once told me that because she came from a country where everyone had black eyes, blue eyes never really looked quite right to her. Blue eyes always look a bit magical to me. They look a bit supernatural, and perhaps they arouse a suspicion or frisson in me, I'm not sure."

"I have enjoyed your books on audio when I was unable to see, and now that I have my sight back, I am able to read them myself. I was very happy to find SERVANT OF THE BONES in large print." -- Roger F from Rochester

Anne responded: "Roger, I am very glad to hear that the books are available in big print. I have all of Shakespeare in big print, and it makes it a great deal easier to study it, it really does. I think the size of print is crucial. Publishers can destroy the fate of a book if they do it in the wrong size print. The only one of my books that's ever been printed in really small print...that I thought was a terrible mistake...was EXIT TO EDEN when it was first brought out in paperback. The print was just too small for the eye. But I've been pretty fortunate. Knopf is very good at choosing type styles. Knopf has published my other books and they've done a wonderful job. But the bigger the print the better!! Especially the older we get, and the more we read, and the blinder we get!"

"I am a young Jewish female and as I began to read the new book, I noticed that you must have done a bit of research in order to know about the Psalms in Hebrew. I also noticed several parts sounded as though they came from the Kabbalah, a sacred Jewish mysticism book. I was just wondering where you got your research info from? " -- Sadie K.

Anne answered: "I've done an enormous amount of research in Hebrew history, and I've studied...I haven't studied the research directly, but I've certainly studied the psalms directly. And I'm still studying the scripture of all kinds...almost obsessively. I really find endless mysteries in the Torah, and endless mysteries in the New Testament. I'm not satisfied. I'm curious, and I'm working toward writing my own autobiography of Jesus Christ at some point. I know Norman Mailer has just come out with his gospel of the son, and I was a little frightened when I saw that, but then I thought there's plenty of room for all of us to try all these ideas, and so I'm sure my book will be different from Norman's."

"Your interest and research of antiquity and religion is so valuable to me in an author. I feel very enriched and stimulated by each of your works. After reading SERVANT OF THE BONES, I read and researched Sumerian and Babylonian history, as well as Marduk. I wanted to know more...I became a seeker." -- Shelley E. from Somerville

Anne responded: "I very much appreciate all the comments by those who are inspired by the books to read history, and to look into archaeology and to look into different periods in time. I appreciate those who go back and study Babylon, or Sumer, or ancient Egypt. And of course, as you probably can tell, I take great pains to be extremely accurate. I'd say my room has 95% history books in it, in one form or another. Social history, political history, the history of manners-all of these things fascinate me. I wish...right now, I'm sort of intrigued by the societies of South America, and the fact that we've just turned up some new information about people in South America that no one has ever heard of before. It seems the jungles and the earth are going to yield a great deal to us now that we have more refined instruments for x-raying and for seeing from the air those archaeological sites."

"I finished SERVANT OF THE BONES a few minutes ago and I must say it is wonderful. As a Jew and Israeli I must say I'm proud. I thank you personally." -- Ofir G. from Israel

Anne answered: "I deeply treasure your response. I visited Jerusalem this fall, and I left several copies of SERVANT OF THE BONES there with Jewish friends, and I treasure the approval of my Jewish readers. In fact, I didn't know how many Jewish readers I had until people began to speak up about SERVANT OF THE BONES. I'm glad that I passed the test of authenticity." "WHAT DID YOU THINK OF BEING A RARE ONE PERSON PANEL WITH BILL MAHER?" -- THE LONE GUNMAN Anne answered: "Lone Gunman, I loved having Bill Maher all to myself. I need the whole program in order to really handle Bill Maher properly!"

FAQ Answers: Movies and Other Ventures

What is going on with the FEAST OF ALL SAINTS miniseries?

In July 2001, Anne replies, "The mini-series of FEAST OF ALL SAINTS will be shown on SHOWTIME in November and it is positively smashing. I am overwhelmed. I feel that you guys are going to love it. The acting is superb. The script is brilliant. The whole thing is truly, no pun intended, a feast."

What, if anything, do you know about the Queen of the Damned movie?

In July 2001, Anne replies, "Everything I hear about the movie is good. Warner Bros. is extremely enthusiastic. They are working very hard to make it perfect. I have no real news. Let me repeat what I mentioned in a recent message. I met Stuart Townsend, the young man who is playing Lestat and he was absolutely charming. He had Lestat's excellent speaking voice and his feline grace. I cannot wait to see him in the film."

"Are there any other dolls in the works?"

Anne said: "To Scoobie68, regarding the dolls. Yes, there will be dolls of Louis and Claudia, as well as the Lestat doll. Peter Coe and Paul Crees of England are the doll makers who are presently involved in designing high quality large vinyl dolls of the characters. The vinyl dolls are as detailed and exquisite as the wax poured dolls, but they are much cheaper. More people can own them. Any reliable doll shop - - and they are all over the country - - can give you information about Peter Coe and Paul Crees. They are well known in the doll world. As you probably know, I am a major doll collector. My collection is open to the public every day except Monday. It's at 1314 Napoleon Avenue in New Orleans."

"I am also curious about the radio show out of New Orleans." -- Terri S. from Utah

Anne answered: "Well, we have, Terri...on our radio show of SERVANT OF THE BONES, we really haven't gotten anywhere, because when we got home to New Orleans, we realized we didn't know how to do a radio show. So, we're stalled on that one. But, I can tell you that SERVANT OF THE BONES right now is being considered for a mini-series in Hollywood. I capitulated on television after years of holding off, I decided that I really would like to see, perhaps, one of my books done in a mini-series on television, especially if it was very high production values, and SERVANT may go that way. That doesn't mean that we will not realize our dreams of the radio show, it just means we have many irons in the fire, and we haven't been able to find out how to actually put together, produce and air and distribute a radio show. But we still love the idea, and we're not giving it up, and I would bet by the end of the century...the end of the millennium...we will have a radio show on the air, and if it isn't based on SERVANT OF THE BONES, it will be based on the vampires or some other characters."

"I was wondering if you have any personal involvement with this website?" -- James R. from Kentucky

Anne responded: "James, I do have personal involvement with this website. I am trying now to answer the questions that are coming in, and I do...my cousin Danny Manning is the person who is in charge of this website, and he set it up with my blessing. And I've seen it and I pay a great deal of attention to the questions that come in over the website, and I think I'll be more involved in the future. I have been very busy with Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, Christmas, all kinds of family and New Orleans connected festivities down here, but now I'm going to catch up. And one of the things I hope to do is to be a regular contributor to this website."

"When will The Cafe Lestat open in New Orleans?" -- David F. from Tennessee

Anne answered: "We don't have an opening date. What we have at this point are two buildings that we are considering, and we are closing the sale on both of these buildings, and they are both wonderful buildings. We are particularly interested in a very old theater on Magazine Street called "The Happy Hour," but it's going to take a tremendous amount of work to turn this into The Cafe Lestat. We'll have to build a...I hate to use this word, but we'll have to build an infrastructure for it, and we'll have to build booths and...because the theater is right, we want to keep the stage, and we want to keep a music hall atmosphere in the theater, and have people performing--from little tap dancers from local schools, to opera singers from Loyola and Tulane Universities, to people doing monologues from Shakespeare--we want it to be just like the lively theater you saw in the movie TOMBSTONE, if you happened to see that Western. The lively theater of the 19th Century. But it's going to take us a while. I would say certainly by the end of 1998 we'll have Lestat up and running. We may have Lestat up and running by the end of 1997. A lot of it depends on cash flow--how much money we can get our hands on just to take boards and nails and put them together, and gather furniture together. We do have wonderful restaurant people ready to step in and to take over and to serve the food, and to make a menu, and to staff the place, and we have wonderful dolls to put around and props and different things to use. But, again, I don't know the answer. Could be a year from now, it could be six months from now."

"I saw you on a talk show and you were saying that the rights to LESTAT [the movie] were going back to you if they didn't make the movie soon. Any new developments?" -- Michele D. from New York

Anne answered: "The rights to LESTAT will come back to me in about three years, and it doesn't look like Warner Bros. is going to make the movie. I recently went out to Warner Bros. myself, and I visited with Billy Gerber, the President, and I would say there is no plan to make LESTAT. I don't think, at this point, they could make THE VAMPIRE LESTAT within the three-year period if they tried. I don't believe they have a director, a scriptwriter, a producer, or anyone affiliated with the production. What basically happened to THE VAMPIRE LESTAT was this. The man behind INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE was David Geffen. And David Geffen was a very, very powerful producer. And David Geffen worked with Warner Bros. on the Vampire Chronicles, but David Geffen left Warner's, really, or left his properties at Warner's, and went into a new studio with Steven Spielberg and Jeffery Katzenberg. The name of the studio is 'DREAMWORKS,' and when David left, LESTAT and THE WITCHING HOUR and those books at Warner Bros. became orphans. And I don't think there is any way in three years that they can get their act together at Warner's to get those orphans any parents who will make them come to maturity."

"May we cast VAMPIRE LESTAT - THE MOVIE?" -- Beth V. from California

Anne answered: "The VAMPIRE LESTAT movie is hopelessly imprisoned in the hands of Billy Gerber, and Lorenzo de Bonaventura at Warner Bros., and there is no possibility that that movie is going to be made in the three years remaining to them. They really just don't have time, so I don't think you're going to see LESTAT be made anytime soon. What is going to happen is the property is probably going to revert back to me at the end of the three years, I'll get all the vampires back, and at that time, if I wanted to, I could remake INTERVIEW. So it's going to be a very, very happy day. I wish Warner's would make THE VAMPIRE LESTAT. I wish you could cast it, but unfortunately, there is just no action on it at Warner Bros. I've tested the waters many times, but there is no action."

"Are you going to do a continuation with your comic books?" -- Michael U. from Mobile

Anne answered: "We were planning to try and bring out all of our comic books ourselves. We were planning to bring out the graphic novels, but we found that at the moment, we simply don't have the funds to invest in this enterprise. We do have all the rights to the graphic novels, and at some point we can bring out a whole new series. We have had very good experiences with certain producers of comic books, particularly Faye [Perosich], and we hope that Faye will be involved in our future efforts, but there is nothing really on the burner right now. We are communicating with a comic book producer called "Dark Horse," but I don't know what will come of it. We weren't too happy with some of the comic books published by Millenium and Innovations. Some we liked very much, some we didn't, and as you know, both companies went out of business, and the graphic novels have become collector's items. We have a hard time finding copies ourselves of THE MASTER OF RAMPLING GATE or all the issues of THE MUMMY. We have had to go to great lengths to buy from collectors, just to keep ourselves up on everything that was published, but right now, the matter is closed. We just don't have anything going. We have dreams, but they are part of a lot of dreams we have, like opening The Cafe Lestat in New Orleans, producing a whole line of vampire dolls, just many things of that kind."

"I heard that you would be opening a restaurant in New Orleans. Where will it be located, and when will it be open?" --Rhonda W. from Florida

Anne answered: "Yes, the restaurant is going to be called the "Happy Hour" , and really, the reason we are using the name Happy Hour is because we've bought this wonderful 100 year old theater by that name, the Happy Hour. It's been a theater since 1904, at least, by that name, and the same family has owned it all these years, so we're going to keep the Happy Hour marquee, even if we name it Lestat's cafe, or Lestat's Happy Hour cafe. We're dreaming of a restaurant like no other restaurant on earth...we want to have variety acts on the stage, we want to have artists in residence, we want to have paintings, we want to have beautiful wax statues of the characters...we are planning things that are just unbelievable. We do have the building, we did go to act of sale on the building, and it is ours now. But it's going to take us about six months, I think, before we'll open. I doubt we'll open before the end of 1997, but you never know, we might. We're moving very rapidly."

"I was wondering if any of your dolls were in the INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE movie?" -- Annette W from Chicago

Anne answered: "No, none of my dolls were used in INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. At the time that the movie was made, I was not in contact with the production people. We were not speaking to each other, because of an unfortunate rift."

"My question is will there be a nationwide search for a manager and kitchen manager for the future Cafe Lestat?" -- Robert S. from Tennessee

Anne answered: "No, we don't plan a nationwide search. We have an old restaurant family here in New Orleans, the Riccobono Family, who are very interested in handling the Cafe Lestat, and we want them very much to handle it, and we probably will make a deal with the Riccobono Family. They have owned many restaurants over the years in New Orleans, and we are great admirers of their present restaurant, The Peppermill, which is an old fashioned Italian family restaurant. Also, other people involved with the project have had extensive restaurant experience. In fact, we have an abundance of cooks. We have maybe too many cooks for the pot at the moment! But, Cafe Lestat is definitely underway!"

"What were your thoughts on the use of Guns and Roses' song SYMPATHY TO THE DEVIL on INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE'S soundtrack?" -- Joshua W. from Texas

Anne answered: "I wasn't pleased at all with the use of that song. I thought it was too raw, too realistic, and too ugly, really for the fabric of the film, and I protested it but it was too late by the time I protested it was already incorporated into the soundtrack. I wanted them to use the Stones song I CAN'T GET NO SATISFACTION, and that's what I had actually written in my screenplay, because I thought that was a much better song for Lestat. I don't like the lyrics to SYMPATHY FOR SATAN."

"I've heard that you may be coming out with a TV show. If so, can you fill me in on any specifics." -- Jacque J. from Oregon

Anne answered: "Yes, we've created, for CBS, a TV show called RAG & BONE, and it concerns a mortal policeman and an immortal policeman, or a ghost policeman, and they form an uneasy partnership in the Irish Channel of New Orleans, in the present time. The show, right now, is in development. A wonderful writer has been chosen to write the pilot. His name is Jim Parriott, and the script is simply marvelous. I'm very much involved as the creative producer of the show, and when they shoot in New Orleans, I will be on the set a lot, trying very hard to see that they get the voices right, and maintain an ambiance that I can be proud of. We want the show to reveal Irish New Orleans, really immigrant New Orleans, Italian New Orleans a totally different image from the French Quarter and the Creoles and Bourbon Street."

"I read somewhere that you have written a script for THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, and was wondering if you were going to attempt any other supernatural monsters..." -- Jason T.

Anne answered: "Well, my script for THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, unfortunately, belongs to Universal Studios where they put it on the shelf. They hired me to do it, they paid me to do it, but then they put it on the shelf, and as far as I know, it's not going to be produced. So that was discouraging enough for me to get out of script writing in general. I don't belong in script writing, I like to really own what I write, and I like to publish what I write. Script writing is very frustrating. Every script I've written, except the one for INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, has ended up on the shelf, and I've actually written quite a few."

FAQ Answers: Personal

Anne said: "To Denise Dominick: Regarding my house and its favorite rooms: My favorite rooms are really my upstairs bedroom and my office, which adjoin with a small alcove in between. The clutter is unbearable in the office, but the bedroom remains somewhat formal with a large heavily draped four poster bed to which I retreat often to hide myself from the world. I also have a lovely lower glass porch on the side of the house which is a beautiful place from which to watch the rain, or simply to gaze at the garden on a clear day. There is also a library that I love on the north side of the house. This library has high bookshelves, a soft gray couch and an ornate French desk and French chairs. Lately, I've been napping in there. The lace curtains are particulary beautiful in that room, and I like to lie on the couch, covered in a mink throw, and look through the detailed lace at the trees outside. The house is heavily described in my WITCHING HOUR novels."

Anne said: "An old question from Thea Host. Have I ever thought of an Anne Rice cookbook? No, this has not crossed my mind before I saw your question. But you made it sound like a marvelous idea. In my mind I often do see the feasts that are being served at the Mayfair Household, and I probably do fill in the blanks with recipes. I used to be an extremely active cook, but in the last ten years I've gotten away from it, perhaps because New Orleans has so many wonderful restaurants. Thanks for the idea. I wish I could develop it."

Anne said: "To Roberto Ortiz-Aguayo: You ask why I blame Kenneth Starr for the scandal involving the president, and why I don't blame the president. I blame Ken Starr because he made the president's private life public. The president didn't create a scandal. He had a private affair. It was Starr who told the whole world all the little details, in an effort to "get" the President. Would any of us want an enemy like Ken Starr asking questions of our friends, and relatives about our sex lives? I trust that history will confirm my judgment. Mr. Starr humiliated the nation with his antics. Without Starr, the president's private affair would have remained private, and nothing more."

Anne said: "To Jeremy R. Ralph: Actually, regarding daily poems or nice sayings, Jeremy, I have prayers. I have found myself returning to the Hail Mary and the Our Father, the common Catholic prayers from my childhood. I have recently gone back to the Catholic Church and now go to Mass and Communion every Sunday. This has made an amazing change in my life."

"As a Christian, how are you so knowledgeable on religious matters?" --Wendy/Grimsby from England

Anne answered: "You ask me how I'm so knowledgeable on religious matters. It's really a two part answer. First of all, I was brought up as a very strict Roman Catholic, and I was fascinated and in love with Catholicism as a child, and so I went to daily Mass and studied Catechism every day and Bible history, and paid close attention to all of the legends of the saints that we talked about, and all the Bible stories we spoke about. But the second way I've become educated is by endless research. I really enjoy Biblical and Scriptural research. My library is just filled with books on Scripture, on the origins of Scripture, on the Dead Sea Scrolls, on the Apocryphal Gospels, the gospels that were not included in the Canon by the Church, but nevertheless went on to become legends of the Catholic faith, like the infancy stories of the Baby Jesus...things of this kind. It's just as natural to me as eating ice cream to read this material, and I know it's been very influential in my books. It will be very influential when I do finally write the autobiography of Jesus Christ which I am hoping to do sometime this year."

"You are a great role model and that quality obviously carried over to your son, Christopher. I was very impressed with his response to The Wall Street Journal article. It takes someone very special to stand up like that, and especially for someone our age. I, too, am eighteen." -- Laura S.

Anne answered: "I want to thank the eighteen year old on-line person who complimented Christopher for his letter in my defense to The Wall Street Journal. I very much appreciated Christopher's letter too, and I was quite impressed that The Wall Street Journal. published it. I was a very proud mother. I felt I needed, at that point, a little defense, and I was feeling pretty low, and Christopher defended me. As I recall...I can't remember what I was being accused of at that point...I think it was of buying property that other people didn't want me to buy, but had...I buy a great deal of property in New Orleans for restoration, and I have a great deal of interest in preserving the ambience and the romance of our city. I had bought an old building that I wanted desperately to save, and I believe that's what the controversy stemmed from. In any event, believe me, I was very, very impressed by Chris' letter in The Wall Street Journal., and he wrote it all on his own, too. Chris doesn't consult with me before he writes letters like that."

"Do you consider yourself a 'strong' woman?" -- Quest- O from New York

Anne answered: "Do I consider myself a strong woman, asks one person. Yeah, I consider myself an extremely strong woman. I would say that you have to be a strong woman to achieve something in this world, and women are gifted with a very special kind of strength anyway, no matter who they are, just as men have their own strengths. But I am a particularly strong woman, I would say...almost frighteningly strong. I frighten even myself."

"We were impressed by how much you allow your fans to see of your personal life. It's nice to see someone who always dreamed of fame and fortune, who got it and never let it go to her head!" -- Kimberly S. from Texas

Anne responded: "Oh, thank you for your remarks about fame and fortune, and it not going to my head. I hope it doesn't go to my head. I tell you, I...at the rate I spend my money, there isn't time for it to go to my head! But I enjoy, really, sharing as much as I can of my life with my readers. I mean...I don't want to live a secretive life. I do live a terribly private life, though. I very seldom go out of the house, and I very seldom see the readers, except at signings, but thank you for your compliments about fame and about...I can't claim to have modesty, but thank you for your comments about it not going to my head."

"Your taste in clothing is wonderful. I would like to have a head covering of chain mail...will it be included in your merchandise catalog?" -- Darla P. from California

Anne answered: "You ask about our chain mail head coverings. Actually, they are made by someone here in New Orleans, Cindy Ridgeway. She makes our wonderful headpieces, and her phone number is 504-948-7371 at Cearweddwen's Creations. But we will not ever be selling the headdresses, they are not something that we, ourselves, make. We bought them from Cindy, and they were all Cindy's idea."

"Do you have any assistants? How many?" -- Jennifer S. from North Carolina

Anne answered: "Oh, you ask if I have assistants, and how many. I have so many assistants...I have altogether...I really don't know how many. I call them my 'angels'. I really don't know. But I have at least five secretaries who are all absolutely indispensable angels. I have two personal assistants who travel with me wherever I go, one of whom is a bodyguard and also the commander of the entire staff, and the other of whom is an absolute angel, without whom I could do nothing, and that's Susie Q, and I know you've probably heard her name if you're connected with the fan club. Susie Q receives a lot of my mail and handles a lot of my personal things. Plus, there are a whole lot of other angels that staff our houses in New Orleans. We actually own three different houses, all of them built in the 19th Century, and we have angels galore on all different levels, flying from room to room, doing various things. So, I would say I have about 50 assistants, basically."

"Is Stan jealous of your success?" -- Jennifer S. from North Carolina

Anne answered: "You ask if Stan is jealous of my success. Now, my dear, if Stan were truly jealous of my success, how would I know? Do you think he would tell me? Let me assure you that he is not in any way jealous. Stan lives in a world that has to do with his painting and his poetry, and the only person he is in competition with is himself. And it's really that way for most of us who write, or most of us who are artists. We are in competition not with someone else--there's no question of jealousy. We're in total competition with ourselves. We are trying always to make the next painting, or the next poem, or the next story better than the one before it. Stan seems absolutely to be cooled out and totally adjusted to my success. I think sometimes my buying old properties and renovating them rattles Stan's nerves a bit, because when I buy an enormous building, like 47,000 square feet, it's a little bit over Stan's head, and he can only shake his head and say, 'Well, Anne, I hope you know what you're doing.' But, as for my success, he's perfectly cooled out with it. He is doing absolutely spectacularly well with his paintings. We'll have his paintings gathered together in a hardbound book by the end of 1997, and I don't want him to sell any of his paintings. I want him only to distribute postcards or posters or matted copies, but I want to keep all the paintings together, in a collection, in New Orleans called 'The Rice Collection.' Nobody, to my knowledge, has ever built an artist's career this way before, but I am determined to do it with Stan. I cannot bear the thought of simply selling paintings, and having sales to individuals as these paintings disappear be a measure of their success."

"Have you ever visited Scotland?" -- Sharon M. from Canton

Anne answered:"No, I have not really been to Scotland, Sharon. I have been in England a great deal. I have been in England twice, and am going again soon in connection with the musical of CRY TO HEAVEN, but I have not been to Scotland. I have been to Scotland only in my imagination, and that includes an enormous amount of reading and meditating and thinking, and maybe even some version of astral projection."

"Do you believe in clairvoyance?" -- Michele L. from Louisiana

Anne answered: "I do believe in clairvoyance, I really do. I believe that people can pick up messages telepathically from other people. I think there is clear evidence of this, that you can sit with certain people and as they look at you and talk to you, they can pick up things from your mind that are clearly thoughts, but I don't have any real proof of it, and I don't have any idea what the parameters are of the power. I just think that it's true, and I think some very good tarot card readers, in particular, are very, very skilled at this. That they can pick up things from your mind and they are reading the cards, but they are also receiving messages from you while they read the cards. Again, in my family, it's very common for people to be telepathically connnected...to be thinking about a person right at the time that that person, say, calls on the phone, or to be thinking about a person and then get a message that that person has died. In fact, it is a little frightening sometimes, but most of the time it's positive, very seldom does it have to do with death. But I do believe in it, yes. And I believe as we evolve, we'll learn more and more about the power."

"How does it feel to be incredibly wealthy?" -- Karen C. from Tennessee

Anne answered: "I don't know how it feels to be incredibly wealthy, Karen. What I have is cash flow. I have wild cash flow, rather like the Mississippi River, cresting at Baton Rouge, and then going slack during the dry months. So, I haven't reached the point of incredible wealth. God has been very good to me, and so have my readers, and because the readers do buy thousands of copies of the books, we do have a lot of income coming in. But I have many dreams and many plans. I've spent a great deal of my earnings tyring to see that some of my nieces and nephews go to college, and also trying to spread it around a little bit among some of my beloved aunts, and also restoring old houses. I pumped a great deal of my energy and perhaps too much money into the restoration of St. Elizabeth's Orphanage, and a lovely old house on Amelia and St. Charles which I wrote about in the novel LASHER, and I guess what I am trying to say is I spend money very fast. I don't keep it long enough to be wealthy. I don't. And the greatest pleasure, of course, is that money does allow you to let your dreams come true. It must be very sad if you have no dreams...if you have no craving to buy and orphanage and restore it...it must be very sad. My most recent small...little dream reward was buying a 1976 Cadillac, the last one ever made by Cadillac when they were still making big V-8 engines, and I got to ride in the convertible in the Mardi Gras parade 'Orpheus,' and I just love that car. I consider it the best of all my cars, I don't care if it's 20 years old, it makes no difference. Anyway, that's what money gives to you, it gives you the power to go out and do something insane like buy a 1976 convertible and spend a fortune restoring it. And it also gives you the power to help other people. To be able to turn to somebody who's in need and say 'Sure, I'll be glad to lend you whatever you need.' It's very, very nice. I love it. And of course, writers have written very eloquently about how money gives you access to art. It allows you to travel, it allows you to go to the great museums that you want to see. It allows you to go to Venice and stand in St. Mark's Square. So, it's really, in every respect, wonderful, but again, I don't consider myself wealthy. Wealthy will be when somehow some of this is stockpiled, and the flow stops, but that day may never come. I'll probably be spending with my last breath! I'll be ordering from a catalog, or sending someone a gift of silver for a newborn baby, or trying to buy a building downtown that can be converted into a museum!"

"I am the antique dealer that sold you the bronze bust of Beethoven...I have always wondered if you were pleased with your purchase...I have been in the antique business for over 40 years and every once in a while you sell a piece that you have a special connection to...the Beethoven bust was one of those pieces." -- Roy Elmer from St. Albans

Anne answered: "Roy, the bust is sitting right on my desk! It's only inches from my computer, and I make sure that Beethoven stares right into my face, telling me at every minute to do my best and offer my very highest efforts to God. I want to be a heroic artist in the model of Beethoven. I couldn't be happier with that bust! Please tell me if you have a bust like that of Mozart, because Mozart is my other guardian angel, and though Mozart died young, and was much less serious than Beethoven, he was, as we know, gifted with an ethereal genius, and he wrote in his own truly heroic style, as well as Beethoven. So, let me know...bring on more busts!"

"I know that for a long time, you did not believe in God. But now you do. What changed your mind?" -- Stephanie E. from Arkansas

Anne answered: "I don't know what changed my mind about believing in God. It was a slow thing. I gradually evolved into a person who felt that there must be a God, that there must be something beyond the universe. When I was very young, I think rebellion from conventional religion was terribly important to me, and atheism was the channel of that rebellion. To say that there was no God meant really to say that there was no established religion that had a formula for living that I had to abide by. That seemed a necessary step in my intellectual freedom, my intellectual liberation. But now, now that all the battle with religion is over, and that battle with the voices of childhood is over, I feel very strongly that there is a God, and I can't attribute it to anything except the accumulation of all that I have read, and the accumulation of all that I thought about for the last 30 years or more. I believe in God, there is no question of it. But I'm not sure any of us mean the same thing by the word God."

"Do you mind having people hang out in front of your house?" -- Glen A. from Maryland

Anne answered: "I never mind having people hang out in front of my house. I think the Garden District is so beautiful. When I was a child, I walked in it as if it were a park, and I think everybody is entitled to do that. People should be able to walk through beautiful neighborhoods and leisurely admire the houses, and I never object to it. People are very respectful of our privacy, they really don't disturb us. There have been many times I've plunged out the front door, right into the thick of a whole tourist group, and just climbed in my car and just driven away with a few waves and "hellos", and maybe a few snapshots, but people, in the main, are very, very warm and friendly."

"Who is your favorite composer, Ms. Rice?" -- Jeffrey A. from Connecticut

Anne answered: "It varies from time to time. My favorite composers, without question, are Mozart and Beethoven, but who's up is a matter of mood. Mozart is sort of my angel, and always fills me with joy. I could listen to "Cosi Fan Tutte" over and over again. On the other hand, Beethoven, I don't think I could live without Beethoven. I have been listening...in the book I am writing now, on Armand, Beethoven's piano sonatas play a large role. And, of course, the 9th Symphony was very key in the book VIOLIN that will be published in 1997. I guess Beethoven. Hands down, Beethoven and Mozart. I can't decide between the two--God forbid, what a thought!"

"Love the fact that you look like your books. Most authors don't look anything at all like the subject topics of their books. You do." -- Brian W.

Anne responded: "I look like my books? I'm flattered and honored! I think I outweigh all my characters by at least 60 pounds! So, I am thrilled. I'm always writing about gaunt, thin people, and I'm really not gaunt and thin. And I remember once, one acid-tongued journalist pointed that out in great detail, and I never forgave her, but thank you so much! Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

"How is it that your birth name was Howard Allen?" -- Julieann F. from Australia

Anne answered: "Well, my birth name is Howard Allen because apparently my mother thought it was a good idea to name me Howard. My father's name was Howard, she wanted to name me after Howard, and she thought it was a very interesting thing to do. She was a bit of a Bohemian, a bit of mad woman, a bit of a genius, and a great deal of a great teacher. And she had the idea that naming a woman Howard was going to give that woman an unusual advantage in the world. "

Erica would love to know the names of Anne's sweet dogs. -- Erica E. from New York

Anne responded: "My wonderful dogs are named "Sunny", the Golden Retriever-that's S-U-N-N-Y, like sunshine; "Mojo" is the giant German Shepherd, and that's Lestat's dog. That dog is described to a "t" in THE TALE OF THE BODY THIEF. I mean, Mojo is truly almost a supernatural dog. A dog worthy of Lestat , a dog that Lestat would love, and a dog that would love Lestat in return. And lastly, we have an old English Mastiff named "Mike", who is probably one of the laziest, most contented beings on the face of the earth. I love big dogs, and I want to get a giant Pyranees yet. The staff is holding me off until the weather is warm!"

"If someone ever offered you the gift of immortality, would you accept it?" -- Corieanne R. from Georgia

Anne answered: "I don't think I could resist it."

"Which ending of GREAT EXPECTATIONS did you prefer?" -- Nancy M. from Canada

Anne answered: "Oh, I definitely prefer the second ending. I believe that Estella and Pip should get together at the end of great expectations, they really should. In fact, I wish they had come together, and there had been even a longer discussion of what they had learned, and what they knew, and what bound them together, and how they are suffering when Miss Havisham found them together. I am very angry with Dickens that he ended it the way that he did. And very thankful to Litton that he forced him to at least put them together instead of having the move apart. Let me add that GREAT EXPECTATIONS is one of my favorite books, but I always think that Dickens was much too hard on Pip. That Pip really was a lot more sympathetic than Dickens realized he was. And it was strange...Dickens just was too hard on Pip, what Pip wanted was too natural. It's too natural to want the fine things in life. It's too natural to want education and beauty. And he's simply too hard and to punitive with Pip, and Estella in the end really should have been together, and we should have had a full chapter of what bound them together. Maybe I'll write the sequel! The ghost of Dickens will kill me!"

"Is it true that you invite college writers to stay at your house sometimes?" -- Adrienne B. from Missouri

Anne answered: "No, I never actually invite college writers to stay at my house. I live a very reclusive life, and I live cutoff from people, and one reason is I have an extremely large extended family in new Orleans. Just keeping up with the family, with my sisters, with my cousins, with my aunts, with my godmother, with all of those who are related to us and connected to us, and all of the people who are sort of a part of our world, working for us at St. Elizabeth's and our homes, it fills up my cup. So I have never had college writers actually stay at my house. I don't think I have a lot to offer a college writer. What I have to offer are the books."

"Mrs. Rice, I know a guy that says he knows you and says that he's in one of your books. His name is Brian Robertson. Can you confirm this?" -- Chris C. from South Carolina

Anne answered: "Yes, Brian Robertson is a very dear friend of mine, and in many ways Brian is in more than one book. Brian has had quite an influence on my work the last two years. Brian is really my contact with this age, and Brian is one of the most brilliant people I've ever met. I'm very devoted to Brian--I consider him my nephew!"

"What made you name your dog "Mojo"?" -- Bill M. from Alabama

Anne answered: "Well, as far as I know, mojo is a voodoo term, and it has to do with putting a powerful charm on somebody. If you put "mojo" on them, you're putting heavy magic, and usually for the good. It's not necessarily negative. so, that's why I named him Mojo. Also, I like the line "mojo rising" in Jim Morrison's song, "L.A. WOMAN"...where he sings mojo rising over and over again. I don't even know what old Jim's singing about, but I like it!"

"Is it true that you hold events at your beautiful home in New Orleans?" -- Stephen T. from Florida

Anne answered: "We used to hold events at our house in New Orleans, but we've lived a very reclusive life the last few years. We now hold events at St. Elizabeth's Orphanange at 1314 Napoleon Avenue, which is a second home, more or less. It's a convent we bought three years ago, and it's a private residence. Several members of the family live there, and we do have big parties there. We had our Memnoch Ball there in 1995 and hosted 8,000 people, but I think really, in the future, we are going to be more hermits than socialites."

"I truly believe that you are a practitioner of mitakuye oyasin. It is Native American and it means that you are one with God, with all people and all things." -- Janice S. from New Jersey

Anne answered: "Oh, thank you very much for your comment, I hope so--I actually hope my books are pleasing to God and I consciously pray this every day. By God...I don't know if my definition of god is the same as anyone else, but I strongly believe in a creative force and an embodiment of goodness that is God."

"You write about all these witches and spells, but do you ever use spells or rituals yourself? Would you consider yourself a witch?" -- Sheri C. from Michigan

Anne answered: "Sheri, I would be very afraid to use spells and charms myself. I would be very afraid to put a curse on someone. I can get ferociously angry and I can wish someone terrible ill will, and I wouldn't want to unleash some invisible force against that person. I have just enough belief in these things to respect them deeply, and not to want to play around with them."

"My question deals with your background in Kabbalistic mythology. As your novels seem rather well researched and as a woman who is in great touch with her inner sensuality, I was overcome with the thought of what your interpretation of the myth of Lilith would be." -- Douglas R. from California

Anne answered: "I hesitate to speak yet about Lilith. Lilith is a tantalizing myth that I want to get into. I'm so immersed right now in mythology that I'm still asking more questions than coming up with answers, and the name Lilith sends chills down my spine. I dare not say anything yet about Lilith."

"I thought of you today as I played Poulenc's organ concerto for our public radio listeners (Radio Kansas). When you were in Hutchinson for your book signing at Hastings, I mentioned the organ concerto to you, and I hope you've had an opportunity to hear it...I would love to hear your opinion!" -- Mary Lee W. from Kansas

Anne answered: "I haven't heard it yet, unfortunately, but again, I treasure all of the recommendations that come from various readers, and I'm going to catch up with everything. I have a huge file of CD'S that I haven't listened to yet of keyboard music of all kinds. I'm moving through it slowly, and it's a great joy to know there's more music there than I can ever listen to in my lifetime."

"I am the girl who asked you to sign two boxes of books in New Orleans at the SERVANT tour...and attended the Vampire Lestat Halloween Party. Mary, on your staff, personally helped to get us our tickets, and when we introduced to her, she hugged me as though I were an old friend. How lucky you are to have nice people like that around you." -- Deborah S. from Florida

Anne responded: "Yes, I'm very lucky to have an absolutely divine staff. We have something like 40 angels that work for us, and they are all angels, and I don't know what we would do without them. We are a very, very strange group of people, really. I think very unique!"

"How do you deal with the responsibilities of everyday life, like dishes (hahaha) when you are writing?" -- Holly H. from Virginia

Anne answered: "Well, actually, I don't deal with the dishes. Fortunately, an angel named Mary deals with the dishes. She actually washes them all for me and takes care of those things. One of the great advantages of being published and having a big readership is that you finally do get the income that you can devote all of your time to writing, and you can hire people to do the domestic tasks, but I have spent a great deal of my life both washing dishes and writing, and it is possible to do both. You just keep going back and forth between the kitchen and the typewriter. In fact, I know some women who write right at the kitchen table, and that way they watch the roast and potatoes!"

"Many times you've mentioned St. Louis in your stories. I wonder if you have any connections with the town." -- Sarah B. from Missouri

Anne answered: "I had wonderful visits to St. Louis early in my tour, and I saw wonderful parts of St. Louis. I visited the old streets that are called private places, and I saw the old houses there, I saw the West End, and I enjoyed all of that and as you know, put it into QUEEN OF THE DAMNED. I find myself irresistibly drawn back to those settings."

"What type of books do you pick up on a whim?" -- Nadia J. from Florida

Anne answered: "On a whim, I generally pick up books that have to do with history or archaeology. Archaeology is really irresistible to me, and if a new book comes out about a lost city in the jungle, I'll be the first one to grab it."

"I recently viewed a documentary about you, and your life before you became a writer...they showed a scene of a large room in a house (presumably yours) which was filled with porcelain dolls...do you have such a collection?" -- Vivienne from Australia

Anne answered: "Yes, I have a very, very large doll collection. In fact, it's probably one of the largest doll collections in the world. It's made up not only of contemporary dolls from countries all over the world, but also antique dolls, including Jumeau's and Bru's, and I'm very, very proud of it. It's on exhibit at St. Elizabeth's Orphanage at 1314 Napoleon Avenue, in New Orleans, which is a large residence that we own. It once was an orphanage, and now we've converted it into a gigantic private home. And people are welcome to see it. In fact, it gives us great pleasure to show it to people. It's a bit crowded, however. It's such a big collection that it could be in a building all by itself, really. It could fill room after room. We have big dolls, we have little dolls, we have dolls made of porcelain, we have dolls made of new synthetic materials, we have rag dolls, stuffed dolls, vinyl dolls...all different kinds. The very best that are manufactured, the very best of the one of a kind."

"I've enjoyed your books and hearing stories of some of your adventures from Sue Quiroz (my son Eric is married to Sue's daughter, Terry)." -- C. Nick V. from Florida

Anne responded: "Thank you very much, and I must tell you I think Eric is one of the great hunks of all time...that Terry is married to one of the handsomest men I have ever laid eyes on, and that baby is going to grow up to be absolutely gorgeous. And watching that baby climb all over Eric, as if he were a giant tree, is one of the joys of my life!"

"How will you celebrate the year 2000 (or 2001)?" -- Doug R. from North Carolina

Anne answered: "If I'm alive in the year 2000, I'll be thankful. I can hardly believe it. I don't know how I'll celebrate I don't know how any of us will celebrate it. I don't know what we'll do. Maybe we should all take a year off...the world should come to a halt for a year!"

"How are you doing with growing out your hair?" -- Ina S. from Indiana

Anne answered: "Oh, my hair is growing out. It's growing out. It's definitely going to be long again. It's growing out gray and black, salt and pepper, and I can feel lots of long hair today, down on my shoulders, and I'm very, very happy. It's also growing out very thick. I'm very grateful. I used to hate having two heads of hair on one head, but now I'm grateful."

"I work in Congress and sometimes it gets really rough around here. We need good people of power to speak up. Defect the resultant heat...please, never give up or give in. Again, thank you." -- Tama from Maryland

Anne responded: "Thank you very much. I've taken out several newspaper ads, you know, talking directly to President Clinton, and I really like doing it. And I've been criticized as a nut for doing this, but to me it seems very normal to do it, and I want the president to know how much I think he's doing a good job, and how tough I think the circumstances are that surround his presidency. The Clinton presidency is going to go down in history as absolutely unique...there's never been anything quite like it."

"Do you believe in the moral relation of good and evil, and if so, how do you justify it in the presence of a universe much too vast for comprehension?" -- Christopher R. from Indiana

Anne answered: "Well, I believe good and evil are very, very real, and I believe each human conscience has to deal with good and evil in its own way. I believe that we have to aspire toward good and evil has to do with destruction and suffering in the world, and the diminishing of life, and life's beauty and all of life's bounty. I really think this is inherent in the universe, because...it's not that it's inherent in the universe, it's inherent in our souls that we incline toward goodness. Maybe Wordsworth was right, that a child feels inclinations toward mortality just naturally."

"I feel something about you, like a different energy. I felt that for the first time when I walked near you in Rio de Janeiro when you came for a visit. It is strange." -- Raphael P. from Brazil

Anne responded: "Well, I definitely felt all kinds of energy in Rio de Janeiro. I felt it was a place where the spirits were very close to living people, and I've written about it in VIOLIN, which will be published there in the fall, I think, when they translate it. In fact, I tried to capture a lot of the feeling of Rio de Janeiro in that novel. I'd be interested to hear you how you react to it."

"Hi! I come from Japan. It sounds from your books that you do not believe religion but believe and love a god and your own self. Japanese is so...we revere our family ancestor's soul, believe [in] their spirit." -- Akiko K. from Japan

Anne responded: "I have great respect for the Japanese tradition, and I think Irish people, deep in their hearts, really also engage in actual ancestor worship. We talk to our loved ones who are gone, we talk to our grandparents, we talk to our parents, and we keep around pictures of them, and put flowers around those pictures, and believe that when something good happens, it's often the influence of Aunt Betty, or Aunt Pat, or Aunt Mary, or Aunt Josie, or Grandma, or something of that kind. It's a very, very active, very Irish way of looking at the world, and I think it's something we share with the Orient."

FAQ Answers: New Orleans

"What's the best, most romantic place to be married in New Orleans on a cheap, cheap budget?" -- Rhonda from Chicago

Anne answered: "The best place on a cheap budget to be married in New Orleans...well, first of all, go outdoors. You don't have to go indoors. Get married under the oaks in City Park. There is a beautiful pavilion by the lagoon there, and just be married right by the pavilion, or under the oaks that are dripping with moss, and you'll save lots and lots of money. If you have to get a place, I really don't know...I would say the Columns Hotel on St. Charles Avenue would be a good place to get married in New Orleans."

"Anne, what is it like living in New Orleans?" -- Rodnessa D. from Texas

Anne answered: "Living in New Orleans is really sublime. The key to living in New Orleans is to have a steady source of income from someplace else, because I think our city is a very difficult place to make a living for many people. But, I make my money in the book world, and occasionally little driblets from Hollywood, and as a consequence, I can enjoy New Orleans to the fullest because I don't depend on it for my livelihood. It's very other worldly, and there are many times when you do feel you should be carrying a passport in your pocket, that you're in a foriegn land. But, I think the greatest two things to me, that comfort me every day of my life in New Orleans, are the varied architecture of the buildings, that's number one; and number two, the incredible trees...the beautiful oak trees blooming everywhere, the crape myrtles that will come into bloom this summer, the redbud trees that are blooming now...we live in a place that is so richly green and so forested, and so moist, that it is always beautiful, even on the rainiest and gloomiest days. And the architecture of New Orleans speaks to me...it always has. It sings to me---the houses cry out to tell me their stories. And I feel like I am living just where I am supposed to be--in the center of whatever universe was created when I was born--assuming that we all have a universe created around us when we are born."

"I am currently reading a book by Lyle Saxon called FABULOUS NEW ORLEANS. I would like to know your thoughts on Mr. Saxon. How do you feel he did in his accounts of New Orleans?" -- Tara O. from Michigan

Anne answered: "I love Lyle Saxon, and I feel a great debt to him. When I was far away in California, and suffering terfible hunger pains for New Orleans, and terrible thirst for New Orleans, I used to read Lyle Saxon quite a lot, and I did read as much as I could of Lyle Saxon's stories of New Orleans. There are several other writers like Lyle Saxon who wrote about New Orleans. One of them was Harnett Kane, who wrote PLANTATION PARADE, an excellent book. Then there was Grace King. Her stories of the early white Creoles and their time, and her short stories of New Orleans. And George Washington Cable's incredible novel, THE GRANDISSIMES, which is all about the free people of color and the white Creoles. And all of those authors I sort of regarded as my important 'graduate school.' I had to go through all of them--I had to see what they had to say about our heritage, and I learned a great deal from them. I have a particular tender spot in my heart for Lyle Saxon, because I understand that Lyle Saxon was very instrumental in the early part of the century, with the reclamation of the French Quarter. The French Quarter had really fallen into becoming a slum, and Lyle Saxon very much wanted to live there, and wanted to see the French Quarter come back, and wanted to see the architecture preserved. And I understand he fought quite a battle. Of course, later all of those writers--including Edward Laroque Tinker--all of those writers loved New Orleans. They fell in love with it, and they all wrote their books as a tribute to it, and also to spread the word, more or less, about this marvelous place and its traditions. Let me go through them once again. Edward Laroque Tinker, Grace King, Harnett Kane, and also Lyle Saxon."

"What time of year would you say is the most beautiful in New Orleans?" -- Rhonda M. from Oregon

Anne answered: "The best times to visit New Orleans are really the spring and the fall. The summer is too hot, the winter is too cold and "iffy". The best time is the spring and the fall. And I would say April and May are beautiful months, generally. In the fall, October is often a wonderful month. September can be wonderful. I would avoid July and August because they are terribly hot. On the other hand, you can have a wonderful time here anytime, and you can also have a scorcher of a day here anytime, even in winter. If we don't have a norther coming through, you can have some pretty hot weather."

"You write in such a way that makes it all believable--does New Orleans do that to you?" -- Deby G. from England

Anne answered:"Well New Orleans certainly does it to me. New Orleans is paradise. It's one of the most beautiful places on earth, and there's greenery everywhere. Everywhere you look there are beautiful things, and I can't imagine ever living any place else as home base. I want to travel, and go all over the world. I have been to Jerusalem, and to Italy, and to Brazil all within the last 18 months, but I have to come home to New Orleans."

FAQ Answers: Fan Concerns

What is going on with the Coven Ball and the Fan Club?

In July 2001, Anne replies, "Apparently the Vampire Lestat Fan Club is disbanding. I have no real new information about this. I have many happy memories of attending the annual Coven Ball, but I have never been officially connected to the Fan Club and I do not fully understand the reasons for the demise of the club. I don't believe there will be any more Coven Balls."

"What if the fan club did sort of a contest or lottery type thing to let a fan club member have a day with Anne?" -- Angie W.

Anne answered:"That was very, very flattering of you, Angie. First of all, I'm not, myself, connected with the fan club, but I'll pass on the information to them. I wish I could spend more time with the readers, but it's become almost impossible. Getting time to write each year has now become a battle. I lie in bed at night dreaming of writing, as if it were something like going to the South Seas on vacation. But thank you very much for the suggestion."

"Are there ever any Coven parties in Northern California?" -- Dena from California

Anne answered:"As far as I know, Dena, there are no coven parties in California. The fan club--Anne Rice's Vampire Lestat Fan Club (and they have their own listing in the phone book in New Orleans) -- they do the Coven parties, and they do them in New Orleans every year the Saturday before or after Halloween. This Halloween I think it's going to be the Saturday right after Halloween, because Halloween falls on a Friday, and they will do the party the following Saturday, which is the Feast of All Saints. But I'm not sure--they'll be updating everybody with their newsletter. But, if there are Coven parties anywhere else in the United States, they are spontaneous ones that aren't connected to our fan club."

"I have not been able to find MEMNOCH in unabridged audio." -- Padrig H. from Pennsylvania

Anne responded: "So far, Padrig, with regard to my books--audio versions of my books--I know of only one unabridged edition, and that's SERVANT OF THE BONES. The book was short enough that they could do an unabridged edition. I think the edition of VIOLIN will probably be unabridged, too, and I know that there is a certain institution that prepares tapes for the blind that has all of my books on unabridged audio. But the Random House audios of my other books that are commercially sold in the stores are all abridged and adapted. That was the name of the game, that was the name of the contract, and those were the terms that I accepted. As I write shorter books, as I learn better what I am trying to do and my books become more compact and concise, perhaps more of them will be done unabridged by Random House. And perhaps, also, if you make your desires known for the unabridged, that would inspire Random House audio to put out the unabridged. But anyway, right now, as I said, the only one I know of is SERVANT OF THE BONES."

"Why is it that at your booksignings you don't autograph any of your prior works? Only that which just came out?" -- Denise V. from Waukegan

Anne answered: "It's just sheer desperation and logistics! We don't know how to handle a crowd of 2,000 people. We don't know any other way to do it. For example, if you have 900 or 1,000 people show up at a booksigning, and they all buy a copy of your new book, it becomes almost impossible to sign old books for all those people as well. You simply won't get through the crowd. If the first person in line, for example, takes out a backpack and has 13 old books in it, and wants each one of them signed...I really want to do that, I'm honored to do it, and I love to do it, but it keeps that entire line waiting, and the booksignings have gone to six and eight hours, and we really just don't know any other way to handle it. I dream of someday doing what I call a backless tour, where I would only sign old books, where I wouldn't sign anything new, or sign in bookstores, but I'd go in public squares and shopping malls, and places like that, and just sign anything anybody brought up to the table, but as yet, I've yet to work out the time with my schedule to do that kind of tour. But that's the reason, really, it's trying to meet the demand for the new book, and also satisfy people who have bought four and five and six copies of the new book, and really want it signed, and really feel entitled to have it signed because they've paid so much for it. And they get very angry and very steamed when people come along with stacks of old books. I wish we could sign everything! I like to sign people! I like to sign their necks, I like to sign their navels, I like to sign their arms and their T-shirts and their jackets!! But time doesn't always allow."

"I was wondering if you ever plan on coming to Hawaii for promotional book signing...there are a lot of people here on the Island and especially in the military community that love your books!" -- Katalin B. from Hawaii

Anne responded: "Katalin, I would love to come to Hawaii, but at the moment I am not doing much promotion travel for my books. 1997, and maybe 1998, are going to be years that I am going to spend at home, writing. I have so many short novels that I want to write. I've mentioned them before, I want to do a whole series of novels that are written by individual vampires as letters to the vampire, David Talbot: PANDORA, KHAYMAN, MAEL, different ones. And I also want to continue with the Mayfair family and their adventures, and I also want to write the autobiography of Jesus Christ. So I am thinking much more of staying home and writing. I think it was the great Flaubert who said, 'I stayed home and wrote,' and I think it's time for me to do that, though God knows, I need desperately, and am grateful always for the love given me by my readers. And when I do go on tours, shaking hands, hugging people, kissing people, holding people...all of this means so much to me. I don't know if I can starve myself on that through 1997 and 1998, but I am going to try. If, after that, I do go on tour, I would love to go to Hawaii, and of course anybody from the publishing house would be just thrilled to accompany me to Hawaii. That would be a dream come true. There are many jokes made about why we don't go to Hawaii, and more exotic and interesting places, by the publicists who travel with me. They would be thrilled. I have been to Waikiki, and I stayed at the Sheraton hotel there, and I remember writing in my diary many descriptions of everything around me that I intended to use in a later novel. And that material has yet to find its place in my writing, but it's still in my mind. I will never forget looking down that beach, all glittering with hotels, a sight that you could view as both horrible and beautiful, and at the end of it, see the great mountain of Diamondhead rising. It was quite a spellbinding vision."

"Other than promotional book signings, do you give public or 'invitation only' lectures discussing your writings?" -- Michael R. from California

Anne answered: "I never give lectures, really. I don't really like to speak in public. What I have done several times, I've appeared on the stage, once in San Francisco, once in Miami, and once in Boston, with another person interviewing me. It was Digby Diehl in Miami, and later Mike Riley, who wrote the book CONVERSATIONS WITH ANNE RICE, but I really don't like appearing before an audience. I think stage fright grips me, it goes all the way back to childhood, some fear in the school play that I am going to slip and fall right in front of the whole eighth grade, or whatever. In any event, I try to avoid that very much. I do enjoy, of late, going on live TV shows. I find they used to be nerve shattering experiences, and now I find them rather seductive, but the show has to be live and uncut, it cannot be a packaged production where they will later distort my words and put them in context I never intended them to be presented in. Thank you very much for your question. I wish I was better at public speaking."

"Was Memnoch genuine in his wanting Lestat to become his lieutenant? Was it Memnoch's will that Lestat gave the veil to Dora and begin the renewed faith in Christianity/Catholicism?" -- Paul C. from Australia

Anne answered: "You know, you ask me questions about the meaning of MEMNOCH, and the truth is, I don't want to add to the text. I think we are left with a mystery at the end. We don't know whether Memnoch was absolutely serious, we don't know whether his last communication to Lestat was the truth, or was it spite. We don't know, really, the game that God and the Devil are playing, and I think the novel had to end that way. We are all waiting for an apocalyptic revelation in this world, and we never get it. Certain individuals get it, and they try to share it with others, but it never seems to change hands very well, and I really don't want to say. I want to say that there are strong clues in the novel that Memnoch is good. I don't know whether the Devil would give a person back his eye, for example. And as you know, there is a point where Lestat loses his blue eye, and the eye is returned to him. I'm not sure a thoroughly evil person would return an eye. On the other hand, I don't want to add anymore. I would rather find the mystery delicious, and in the novella ARMAND, I am going to carry on something of a sequel to MEMNOCH. It's not really a sequel, it's just the few events that happened in the days after Lestat retired, and went into his withdrawal after the MEMNOCH adventure, really battered and unable to write any more. ARMAND is a book that will be written from the point of view of Armand."

"Do you ever read short stories or excerpts from novels that your fans have written?" -- J. Alison B. from Virginia

Anne answered: "No, I never read short stories or manuscripts sent in by my readers. I simply don't have the time, I can't do it. I can't read anything unpublished for several reasons. I don't have the gift of insight to know what to say about other people's writing. I could never keep up with the volume of manuscripts, and lastly, I really don't want anyone to ever accuse me of stealing an idea, or a character, or a vision from his or her manuscript. The danger of reading other people's manuscripts is that someone might do that. And I realize that most of you are writing with your whole hearts and soul, you only want to be read, to be appreciated, and you want help in getting published, and you wouldn't dream of spoiling it by accusing someone of plagiarism, but the risk is simply too great for a published author. Also, I really don't read fiction. I really don't. I look at the poems that are brought to me by readers and I am very touched by them, and very moved by them, and the more I read these poems, the more I see that they are written in the Elizabethan style, or the Elizabethan style that became popular with Keats' writing, but I don't really sit down and read the manuscripts themselves. It's just very occasionally that I will hear a verse, or have a poem read to me at a signing. I can't be of help in that way. I can be of help to writers in other ways, I can tell you to stick to your guns, to believe in your voice, to write what you believe, and to never give up on being a writer. But as for reading manuscripts, I'm not the one, and we do have to return unopened any manuscript that is sent to us. We have to do that, unfortunately, because the risk is too great of someone feeling that his or her ideas have been borrowed inadvertently or unsconsciously even. We just can't take the risk. I detest giving negative answers like this--write, just write with your whole heart and don't worry about me reading it. I'll read it when it's in print. When you have it in print, and when your first book comes out, then mail me the book and I'll read it with joy and glee!"

"I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the books I have read, unfortunately it is quite difficult to get hold of Anne's books in this country. Is there a way of getting them through the post?" -- Nassim G. from the United Arab Emirates

Anne answered: "It's wonderful to get a question from so far away. I don't know what to tell you about getting my books, except that writing to the United States may be the secret. I don't know whether they can be imported into the country or not, but certainly major European book sellers, major English book sellers, and major United States and Canadian book sellers all have my books, and if you communicate with them directly or by phone, it shouldn't be hard to order anything."

"We are desperately wondering if one day you plan to come to our magnificent capital city of Paris to do a signing of your books?" -- Manuel T. and Jean-Pierre C. from France

Anne answered: "Thank you very much for suggesting a French book signing. I have no plans, but maybe sometime in the future I can. Right now, I see 1997 as a year in which I have to stay home and write. It is absolutely critical that I stay here in the house, stay here in the world of 1239 First Street (and it is a world!), and that I devote myself fully to writing and focusing on my writing. "

"I have heard you have a "1-800" number." -- Roz O. from West Virginia

Note from webmaster: Anne's fan phone line has been discontinued as of 11/1/05.

"I just picked up my copy today of the 20th anniversary limited edition of INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE...I have to know, did she sign each one herself?" -- Kelly M. from Canada

Anne answered: "I did, indeed. I signed every single one myself. As a matter of fact, I became very playful while signing them, and some I signed very small, and some I signed very large. I think I was playing an Alice in Wonderland game there, and, I had a lot of fun. But every signature is absolutely genuine. I would never let a machine sign my name and try to pawn it off on people. In fact, you'd be amazed at the things that are actually signed by me that are floating around, that may look like print, but I signed it. I've signed many plastic rats (maybe thousands!), I've signed thousands of photographs for people in gold pen and in silver pen, I've signed thousands of posters from the movie INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, and all those signatures are definitely genuine. Thank God I chose a short name!"

"I thought that you should know that in my copy, TALTOS, pages 23 through 54 are missing." -- George G. from Florida

Anne answered: "Sometimes book go to press with binders errors. there may be a page missing, a page upside down, sometimes a whole section. The best thing to do, and the only thing to do, really, is to take the book back to the bookstore. the bookstore can give you a fresh book and return that book for credit."

FAQ Answers: Miscellaneous

Anne said: "To Elizabeth Fulton: I think the statue you are inquiring about is actually foam rubber of sorts. It's of the monster PUMPKINHEAD from the movie of that name. It was sold by Sharper Image. It's about six or seven feet tall. The statue is no longer in my office but at St. Elizabeth's Orphanage, my "other home" at 1314 Napoleon Avenue. It's quite fierce. When we have our yearly Christmas reunion, some of the little children get freaked by the statue. St. Elizabeth's is open to the public six days a week."

Anne said: "To Jessika Arredondo: You ask if it's possible to buy Stan's books. Most of Stan's books are in print right now, in hardcover and in trade paperback. They are published by Knopf and any bookstore can order all or one of them. The titles of the Knopf books are: SINGING YET; FEAR ITSELF; and THE RADIANCE OF PIGS. Stan has also published through Knopf, a huge and lush book of his paintings which is called simply PAINTINGS BY STAN RICE. He has also published small press books which are out of print."

"I often listen to your recorded messages and recently you made reference to having your characters become more connected to computer technology and the Internet. What about that?" -- Bill R. from Pennsylvania

Anne answered: "I have talked about making my characters more connected to computer technology and the Internet, but the fact is that I have to become more connected and so far, I've failed. I really don't know how to sign on to the Internet, or leave a message. I'm dictating all of this and it's going to be typed in by someone else, so I can only take my characters as far as I know, which is word processing, unfortunately, at the moment. But, I am fascinated by the spate of movies we have had that involve computer technology...movies like THE NET, with Sandra Bullock, which I thought was a very, very good thriller. And, of course, we've had several thrillers that revolved around people searching for a disc that had information on it regarding cocaine sales and so forth. I am interested in getting up on computer technology so I can understand the possibilities, but it's going to take me a while, so I think my characters will still go around using WordStar on Pentium 486's for awhile."

Larry C. from Massachusetts asked for a directory of Stan's poems.

Anne answered: "I don't have a directory of Stan's poems. I can tell you that his two books are published by Random House, SINGING YET and FEAR ITSELF, and they are both out, published by Knopf, and they should be in any bookstore in the country. You can order them. Then there are the old books Stan published in the small press world before he went on to Knopf, and there are limited copies of those floating around, but they are very hard to find. But I don't think he maintains an inventory of his poems. In fact, one of the things Stan does that personally upsets me is he tends to turn on his old work, and I'm constantly stopping him from destroying his early work, and trying to get him to keep it all in a body. He is always seeking improvement, and when he seeks improvement, he then turns on his youthful efforts. If Stan were the author of INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, I think he would have burned it by now. That's not true...because he's always telling me that I shouldn't say bad things about INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. But, in any event, I don't have a directory of his poems."

"Were you at the Chiller Theater in October?" -- Susann P. from New Jersey

Anne answered: "No, I wasn't at the Chiller Theater in October. I don't know where that is. I almost never go out to theaters, and I think last October I spend on tour for Knopf, or doing shows or running around in a bus. I don't even remember. But I know I wasn't at the Chiller Theater!"

"Have you ever heard of a group called the "Toadies"?"

Anne answered: "No, I've never heard of a group called the "Toadies". But, I'll file that away, as I do all the suggestions that come in, and all recommendations that come in. The "Toadies." Noted!"

In response to a letter from Benjamino Carloso Swiftapaparelly

Anne responded: "We're going to quote this name right now, just because we love the name. It's Benjamino Carloso Swiftapaparelly. Hello to you Benj...we just love that name. It's absolutely mellifluous."

"How about doing a real audio reading as a cliffhanger?" -- Peter C. from New Jersey

Anne answered: "I would like to do an audio reading. I have been thinking more and more about it. I've been getting up my courage. I did just do a freestanding audio interview with my friend, Mik Riley. It's called INTERVIEW WITH ANNE RICE, and Michael and I were alone in a soundproof chamber, talking for three hours, free of all of the constraints of a commercial interview, and it was a wonderful experience. I think if I could get alone in that chamber with my own work, I could do a reading. I am terribly shy about reading in public, that will never happen. The last time that happened was in 1979, and it was an absolute disaster. I found myself reading like a puppet before a crowd in Irvine, California, and I vowed I would never, never, never again do it. But I may very well do an audio reading. In fact, I would like, perhaps, to do some original works only for audio."

"I just found you through my granddaughter's home page. What are you and what can you offer me?" -- Roy M. from Montreal, Canada

Anne responded: "Oh, I have a nice, completely naive question from Roy in Montreal, who says he just found me through his granddaughter's home page, and he asks what I am and what can I offer him. Well, Roy, I really don't know. I am the author of something like 16 or 17 novels, I've lost count myself, and I am a person who has always followed her own star, and as a result, I have a very controversial reputation as a novelist. I write a lot about God and the Devil, about good and evil, about where we're going with our lives, and I have no hesitation in using vampires and witches as my protagonists, just as I would angels and saints. I fact, I may very soon be using angels and saints. I have used angels, and I may, again. I don't know whether I have anything to offer you. I don't know what to call my books. Sometimes I think the best name for them is metaphysical thriller, or theological thriller, or possibly philosophical thriller. I don't really know the name. But in any event, whatever I can offer you, you're most welcome to."

"Is your home on First Street haunted?" -- Bonnie Sue M. from New Jersey

Anne answered: "Yes, my house on First Street is indeed haunted! It's haunted by the ghost of a woman named Pamela Starr, and she is one of the people who owned the house. In fact, she was the first real resident of 1239 First Street. She lived here from about 1867 all the way, I think, until 1929, and people claim that they have seen Pamela Starr. They claim to have seen her in the dining room, and that they have seen her in the back of the house. I have never seen Pamela, and I do not feel any vibes from Pamela. And I guess I should be calling her in proper Southern style: "Miss Pamela," because she was quite elderly when she died. My father, by the way, as a child, did see Miss Pamela. He would pass this house when he was just a little boy of 11 or so, back in the 1920's. He'd be going to serve mass at the Garden District Chapel and he would see Miss Pamela sitting in her garden, and so he actually described her to me, and several of my aunts and uncles remember her, too. But she is supposed to be a very active and very benevolent ghost. I just can't see ghosts. They don't show themselves to me."

"Earlier this month, the 'Jung Analytical Psychology and Culture" Web Page published my review of INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE. I am a Jungian psychoanalyst with an appreciation of your work, wit, and style...I have presented at three different Jung institutes." -- Nancy D. from Bloomfield

Anne responded: "Well, I'm very pleased to hear that a Jungian is interested in my work, and I am very pleased to hear that you have reviewed the book and presented at different places. Katharine Ramsland, my biographer, who wrote my biography when I was, perhaps, too young to have a biography written, is also a Jungian psychologist, and I believe that there was a great deal of Jungian interpretation in her books. I, myself, must claim almost complete ignorance of Jung. I have the knowledge of Jung that comes to the man on the street. Just a few words come to mind when I think of Jung--one of them is archetype, and having a shadow self, but I really am no expert. Again, I think that the more you find in the books, the happier I am, and the happier any author is. Thank you."

"My husband and I are truck drivers...the only thing I can say is 'Give me the next tape, honey I'll keep driving just to finish the book." -- Richard and Valerie B. from Texas

Anne responded: "To Richard and Valerie B., truck drivers, audio book listeners, let me tell you how much I enjoy your encouragement, and I'm falling more and more in love with the audio book medium. I just...I think it might even be marvelous to try and produce some stories strictly for audio that don't go to print. But anyway, I've heard from many truck drivers that they enjoy the audio books, and I couldn't be more delighted! I hope they make the miles pleasant for you. Drive carefully and with my love."

A letter from Anne's relative, Alice Wakelin from California.

Anne responded: "I want to say that I am very happy to hear from Alice Wakelin, Jack's daughter! I dedicated MEMNOCH THE DEVIL to Jack Allen and all his children, and I found my long lost cousin, Alice Wakelin! So, I'm quite thrilled, and I'll be in touch with you, Alice. Thanks so much for coming on line and telling me where you are!

Jack Allen was my first cousin on my mother's side, and it was his father who was Uncle Mickey, the man in MEMNOCH THE DEVIL who lost his eye in the barroom. And the part about the barroom fight, and the loss of Uncle Mickey's eye, all that was based on my own family lore. Of course, I put it in a fictional setting. I have the uncle to Dora and to Roger, who were fictional characters, but I adored Uncle John, and I adored my cousin Jack, and it's wonderful to hear from Alice. In fact, several people have contacted me from around the world who at one time had contact with us, or with our daughter whom we lost, and they have sent us pictures, and we've been very thrilled to receive them. Let me give you my address in case it doesn't appear anywhere else on this web page. Let me give it to you here: it's 1239 First Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130, and I have many, many angel helpers...divine secretaries, divine assistants...who help me open the mail, and we cherish everything that you send. So, if you are one of our long lost relatives or friends, by all means contact us. Alice, I send my love to you and your children, and to all of your brothers and sisters, and to your mother."

"Anne, has President Clinton read any of your books? Does he read your letters to him?" -- Debbie Z. from Texas

Anne answered: "I have no idea whether President Clinton reads my books, and don't know whether he reads my letters to him. But during the last campaign, I did meet him twice, and both times I told him what a hero he was to me, and how I look to him to fulfill all of our dreams...to bring us medical care, and to bring peace on earth, and to feed the hungry. And it was a great thrill meeting him. The second time, I kissed him. I must confess to 'fan rush'...I actually put my arms around his neck and kissed him. Of course, I asked him first, I wouldn't think of sexually harassing the President!"

"I live in Ireland and...I am curious to know whether you have ever read the tales of Irish mythology collected by Lady Gregory, lifelong companion of W. B. Yeats?" -- Chris N. from Ireland

Anne answered: "I have not read Lady Gregory's book. I didn't know of the book, but I'll go looking for it, now that you mention it. Of course, I love the poetry of William Butler Yeats, and as you probably know, I've quoted it at the beginning of my novels, I think at the beginning of THE TALE OF THE BODY THIEF, I quoted Sailing to Byzantium , and the rhythms of Yeats, and his wonderful ideas and images run through my mind all the time. I'm very dedicated...very much a product of my Irish heritage, passing through America. I will look for Lady Gregory's stories. I am quite interested. Thank you very much for the tip."

"I'm just wondering how I could get my hands on a copy of your short story, HENRY and JEAN (I'm hoping this is the correct title). I have heard great things about this work and have searched high and low for it. Help?" -- Clay W. from Arizona

Anne answered: "My short story is actually called KATHARINE AND JEAN and NICHOLAS AND JEAN. There are two short stories. KATHARINE AND JEAN devolved into sort of a novel, NICHOLAS AND JEAN is a novella. Neither one is in print, and I don't think I'll ever really revive those two works, polish them, and try to publish them. I don't know...possibly. They were very early works that I did in college. The little story NICHOLAS AND JEAN was published in the college magazine, and as far as I know, there is just no way to get it. I'm not sure that I could find NICHOLAS AND JEAN at this point. I'd have to sack the attics of at least three different houses that I own, and...all I remember about the manuscript was that it was written on newsprint, because I was so poor then, that when the ribbons on the typewriter wore out, I discovered that I could get more juice out of them if I typed on newsprint, because newsprint was very soft, and I got more inky words than I could on white bond. Also, newsprint was very cheap. Anyway, that's how I remember NICHOLAS AND JEAN, a pile of newsprint pages. And wherever it is, well...who knows, maybe your question will prompt it to float to the surface and to come to me. Sometimes those things happen--we call it synergy, don't we."

"Recently, I attended a conference on spirituality entitled, 'Body and Soul'...I wonder if you realize how much you are like the 'spiritual teachers' of our current time, that your message is very closely aligned with that of these people." -- Jane A.

Anne responded: "Jane, I love what you have to say about spirituality. I want to be a spiritual writer, and I want to see my books in a way as spiritually meaningful. In fact, I have to see my books as spiritually meaningful. If they don't have deep spiritual meaning...if they aren't part of my own vocation and my own quest...then they really don't have great worth. Storytelling is not enough for me. Entertainment is not enough for me. Literary accolades are not enough for me. I have to have a spiritual core to my writing, so I am very, very delighted that you see my work as spiritual. That is exactly what I mean for people to see in it. I want them to see that I am talking about body and soul, salvation, immortality, and above all, I suppose, good and evil, and what it means to save our souls in a world where we don't really know whether we are going to metamorphosize into something else at death, or cease to exist."

"I am a 14 year old who lives in a husk of a coal-mining city. I am never with the in crowd because I like to read...you are my greatest influence." -- Mike J. from Pennsylvania

Anne responded: "You say you are never in with the in crowd because you read my books. Just keep reading, there is a great deal of the in crowd reading my books or I wouldn't be living so comfortably, believe me. It's strange the way the books are perceived. At some high schools, they are ragingly popular, and the teachers teach them in the classes. And I have English majors and honor students coming to me and telling me about the papers they wrote in school. In other schools, I'm almost unknown, and I think the teachers haven't caught up with me yet. Maybe you should take my book to your teachers, and ask them to assign it in the class, and then you'll be with the in crowd, although on the other hand, that just might be the kiss of death in high school, I don't know. I sympathize with anybody in high school. I think it's a terribly rough time!"

"Are you familiar with James Redfield's CELESTINE PROPHECY? You seem to understand the "Ten Insights" and to be participating in human evolution." -- Todd H. from Tennessee

Anne answered: "I haven't read James Redfield's CELESTINE PROPHECY. I am in awe of the popularity of the book, but I must confess I don't read other people's fiction. I am so involved in my own ideas, that I read mostly history, archaeology, the spiritualists of the 19th Century, the psychic detectives, works by Gailene Garrett's biography, the great medium, but I don't really read Mr. Redfield, and perhaps I am afraid that the expression of his ideas will come too close to the expression of my ideas, I don't know, but I am very happy to be compared to him, or mentioned in the same breath with him. Thank you very much."

"On a recent business trip, the landing gear on my plane malfunctioned and we went through an emergency landing...I was comforted by your words and by the company of Azriel...and was thankful that your familiar voice was with me to comfort me while I was still in the air." -- Brandy C. from Arkansas

Anne responsed: Well, I think that's wonderful that I comforted...anytime I comfort anybody, I am very happy, and I am particularly happy if I comfort you on a plane, because I know how hair-raising it is! I like to be deep into a book when we land so that I look up with astonishment and say "oh, we've touched down!"

"My partner and I attended your conversation at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco...we appreciated the chance to hear your unfiltered opinions and beliefs about your books and characters." -- Eric H. from San Francisco

Anne responded: "I appreciate that very much. I don't do commercial interviews anymore at all, only live shows like Charlie Rose, or Larry King, or THE TODAY SHOW. And as you know, when I was at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, I was with my friend, Mike Riley, and he and I had done this tape together, "INTERVIEW WITH ANNE RICE", and I love it because it's pure. There are no concessions to any producers, there are no concessions to any commercial breaks, there are no concessions to any supposed audience. We just talk to each other on the tape, and I recommend the tape very much. It's kind of a continuation of what you heard at the Herbst Theatre that night, with Michael."

"What do you think of Rosie O'Donnell?" -- Doris P. from Texas

Anne answered: "Doris, I absolutely adore Rosie O'Donnell, and she can be on my show anytime she wants. I absolutely love Rosie O'Donnell. Rosie O'Donnell is one of the most genuinely compassionate and truly witty people I've ever met. Her wit, her humor, all of it is generous in spirit and warmth. She is very much the opposite of David Letterman, who's very clever, but his humor is almost always at the expense of someone else, and that's the one sad thing about Letterman...that usually someone is the butt of the joke. But with Rosie, the opposite is true. She manages to be funny without hurting anyone's feelings. She is really quite a marvel. And I also think she is a wonderful self-made woman. She hasn't let weight stop her. She's an example of the attractive, beautiful, powerful "power babe", meaning a fairly hefty woman, who's a success on every level, and she's living proof that you don't have to be a 22" waist Barbie doll to get ahead. I think she's fabulous!"

"There's an episode of STAR TREK TNG wherein Beverly Crusher inherits a house from an aunt on a Scottish planet...she becomes sexually obsessed with this Lasher-like character. Did Anne have any input into this episode?" -- Jim M. from Arizona

Anne answered: "No, I've heard there was an episode of STAR TREK that did have a Scottish theme, but I never saw it, and I never had any input. We heard about it from people calling in and writing to us. "

"I'm curious, have you ever played any tabletop role-playing games? If so, which one?" -- Jesse S. from New Jersey

Anne answered: "Never. Never played any tabletop role-playing games."

"Have you ever heard of the legend of Byron Hughey?" -- Hugh Mark Thomas Hughey Warmack, Jr. from Georgia

Anne responded: "No, I've never heard of the legend of Byron Hughey, but you have to share it with us."

"Always thirsty for literature similar to yours, I recently picked up BEGUILED, your sister's book. It is quite wonderful, albeit incredibly full of characters. I am looking forward to reading her first book, DEVOTED." -- Linda A. from California

Anne answered:"Thank you for your comments on BEGUILED. I do think Alice and I come from the same root, basically. we're both genuine romantics, and we have a deep love of history, and it doesn't surprise me that you would respond well to her book. I'm very happy to hear that, I'm very happy for Alice."

"As a high school teacher of English, I would like to know what Anne would suggest to students who do not like to read. What can we do with this I don't like to read generation?" -- David B. from Illinois

Anne answered:Well, I think the first thing you can do is give them comic books. Give them old classic comic books, give them a lot of comic books. Get them interested in reading that way. As a child, I was a very poor reader, I had a very poor attention span, probably an attention span deficit, and I think comic books were a big help to me. Not the usual kind. I would read the classic comics, and I would read LITTLE LULU, and TALES OF THE CRYPT. And I think all of that helped me with my reading, perhaps more than I'd like to admit. It was only as an older child that I found myself able to penetrate real books. But one of the most important things is to let people read what they want to read, and I think this is why so many teachers today let kids read Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and other popular writers, because it's important to get the kids into reading for pleasure. Once you discover the pleasure of reading, nothing takes the place of it, and nothing will ever, ever be as loyal to you, and as faithful to you as reading. It will stick with you through illness and through convalescence, and through loneliness and isolation you will always have reading, to it's a great gift to have. So, I think it's worth trying to get kids to read, no matter what you have to do."

"I saw you on POLITICALLY INCORRECT and thought you were absolutely magnificent...would love to know if you have any future appearances scheduled that I might be able to catch." -- Grace S. from New York

Anne answered:"POLITICALLY INCORRECT has invited us back several times, and we're looking forward to going. What keeps us off POLITICALLY INCORRECT is strictly distance. They are in Los Angeles, and we are in New Orleans. If we were in Los Angeles, I think we would be on POLITICALLY INCORRECT as often as they would let us, which would be quite often. We loved being on the show we thought it was a lot of fun!"

"How is the reunion of the Lizzy Girls going?" -- Adele W. from Louisiana

Anne answered: "Well, Adele, I don't know what is happening with that right now. I would imagine that's in the hands of Mary Sutton, and the St. Elizabeth's Guild, but whenever they do want to have the reunion, they will get the word out. It's really something that they are doing, and we are happy to have them at any time."

"What I'd like to know is if you really wrote the letter on your homepage." -- Daleth D. from British Columbia

Anne answered: "Oh, definitely! Anything that is said that I wrote, I wrote. There is no question. I would never let somebody else write something for me."

"I am a high school English teacher and find your books very appealing to my students. It is easy to get them to read when it is one of your books. Do you have any special projects involving interaction with high school students?" -- Leila B. from California

Anne responded: "My only interaction is really my published phone number. I do change the message about once a week. You can call the number, and I leave a lengthy message, and there's time for a one minute response. I no longer can answer the calls personally or respond to them personally, but we do have a dialog of sorts, we really do. I'll frequently pose a question and the callers will give me the answer to that question."

"Did you know that THE VAMPIRE LESTAT has been taught at the University of Alabama at Huntsville in a women writers course? Your literature is as classic as Kate Chopin's and Charlotte Bronte's." -- Kristina F. from Alabama

Anne answered: "Oh, thank you so much for comparing me to Kate Chopin and Charlotte Bronte. I deeply, deeply appreciate it. I'm very glad to hear that the books are being taught in universities. I've received this from several different places, and a number of people have sent us Xeroxed copies of the papers they have written on the books. If you want to send us a Xerox copy, we would be delighted to see that, and to say that of course we would respect all of your rights, and we would never duplicate it, or circulate it without your permission, but we would love to see it. We have dissertations from people on the Vampire Chronicles, and we have papers from kids in grammar school."

"I'm a voracious reader and I can't find any other author that satisfies me. The closest I've come is your sister's books." -- Renee H. from Kansas

Anne responded: "Oh, I'm so delighted to hear you like Alice's books. She's written two, as you know, DEVOTED is the first, BEGUILED is the second, and both are doing very, very well. She loves history, and she has a beautiful style. She is a very, very marvelous writer. In fact, I don't read very much of Alice's work, because I think our work is similar in some ways, and I'm frightened of being influenced by Alice--I have suspicion that Alice is a better writer than I am!""If in any of your research you come across anything about the Celtic goddess Creyr (heron/stork), please let me know." -- Clarianna D.

Anne responded: "I probably have. I haven't done a great deal of delving into Celtic lore, and I'm not familiar with the gods and goddesses in particular. I want to do that. I'm just starting to do it. I know more about the history of the Celts, than about their religion."

"As a young boy I lived on the island of Hispaniola in the Dominican Republic...in your books you mention Saint Domingue, but it is always described as having a definite French flair, as if it is on the Haitian side of the island. Is Saint Domingue the city of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, or are you referring to a city on the French Haiti side of the island of Hispaniola?" -- Timothy V. from Tulsa

Anne answered: "Saint Domingue was the French side of the island, and Santo Domingo was the Spanish side. Most of my material takes place in Saint Domingue, which is the French part, which would now be Haiti. But I have also visited Santo Domingo, and I have stayed in a palace that was built for one of Christopher Columbus' cousins, so I'm familiar with the Spanish part of the island. But, really, my world, and the French influence in Louisiana, comes from Saint Domingue, which is the French part of the island. But those are both names for the same island, which we now call Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic would be Santo Domingo, and Haiti would be Saint Domingue."

"I just want to thank you for giving me the guide questions for my relationship with God. I feel that through my questions, I've somehow strengthened my relationship with him. I also want to say that your views on homosexuality have helped me to understand them somehow. Now, I no longer join in the laughs that others get from joking about gays." -- Karen from The Philippines

Anne responded: "I'm very happy to hear that, because I think that gays have had so much abuse heaped on them, and it's been so unjust. They are people, like anyone else, and sometimes they're even better people than most of us, because they've had to put themselves in a moral context very, very early, and they've had to make a moral stand for themselves, even though other people judge them to be completely beyond the pale. So, they are often very, very good hearted and very generous by nature. And of course, the creative arts is filled with homosexuals, and so is education, though no one wants to face the fact. Many, many, many of our best and gentlest teachers in grammar school and high school were homosexuals."

"I'm a Christian pastor living in Hong Kong and I've always found your books enriching and entertaining. Even in areas where we differ in theology, I always find myself intrigued with your writing." -- Stephen & Tammy H. from Hong Kong

Anne responded: "That's wonderful! I particularly appreciate anyone who responds to the theology in the books. I am obsessed with theology. I want to know why did god make us, who is god, and why did he do it. What's going on. I can be terrified by movies that remind me that we don't know the answers."

"Do you have any plans to conduct live chats on your site?" -- Inez H. from Louisiana

Anne answered: "Actually, no, I don't have plans to do that...chats on the web site. I have, however, done an interview with Mike Riley on tape which is an informal conversation that we did. It's called INTERVIEW WITH ANNE RICE, and that is the nearest thing to a sort of informal conversation that I've done. I'm very proud of it, because I feel it's very different from the kind of commercial interview that appears in the magazine. And I would like people to know about it, because I'm proud of it."

"I am a theology teacher at a Catholic high school...several of my students are fans and...your work certainly stimulates some interesting discussions of the nature of good and evil and the relationship between the two." -- Ruth P. from Mississippi

Anne responded: "That's marvelous. My work is obsessed with good and evil, and I think you'll find more of God and the Devil in my books than anywhere else on the bestseller list. But, I don't expect that everyone shares that passion, but in some ways I don't understand why everybody isn't concerned."

"I wanted to let you know I enjoyed Billy's very narrative and informative tour...while going through the rooms in which you keep your dolls, in the second room there was a particular doll that captivated me...I believe her name was Lucretia. If possible, I would love to contact the person that created her." -- Audrey W. from Washington

Anne responded:"Jan McLean ...she sells her dolls through many doll shops in America, and if you can contact Celia's Dolls in Florida, [phone number 305-458-0661] she can tell you how to get other dolls by Jan McLean."