Phone Message Transcript: March 8, 1999
[appearing on Anne's fan phone line, expanded for the web site]

"Hello guys,

I haven't been able to keep up with my resolve of creating a new message each week. A little bout of insignificant illness set me back somewhat. It was probably related to the awful flu that is the present scourge of the country.

Your messages to me through the reader line and the web site have been a huge comfort and encouragement. I love hearing your responses to new films, books you are reading, and of course I am always eager to hear your responses to the books.

I am not going to be able to do any signings, or do any touring this year. It's necessary that I take a year off, as much for my writing, as for my health. However, I will miss terribly the personal contact with readers that I have while on tour. Nothing takes the place of actually seeing people, embracing them, listening to them, that takes place when we do bookstore signings. Maybe the year 2000 will be different. I sincerely hope so.

Meantime, I am too far away from things that interest my readers in order to leave relevant message here. I'm confined to TV watching, and laser disk watching.

I'm also reading when I can, and my reading has taken me back to Charles Dickens as so often happens, only this time I'm reading MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT, which is full of Dickens' brilliant humour. The language of Dickens, the rich vocabulary, the beautiful phrasing - - this is a constant goad to me to write.

Regarding Monica Lewinsky and the national scandal, I appreciate your sentiments.The interview that Lewinsky did with Walters was embarassing. Lewinsky dug such a deep hole for herself with her giggling and silliness. In the days after, I read enough in the newspapers and heard enough on TV to be fairly certain that the interview only underscored the peoples' minds that Lewinsky went after the President pretty aggressively, and was foolish enough to gossip about the affair while it was going on. Before this crisis, I did not know we had young people that stupid working in the White House. I thought anybody who made it to the White House in any capacity would display loyalty to the institution of the Presidency itself and to the entire staff, especially in small private matters that involved sex. The dignity of the place, the constant pressure from the world press - - all this seemed to spell out a requirement for intelligent and loyal people in White House positions. Boy, was I wrong.

As for Linda Tripp, "Leave her to Heaven."

But for Kenneth Starr, what can we do except go after him. The man did things that are a disgrace to the Constitution. I don't see what choice we have but to investigate him thoroughly. I wonder if the ACLU has any appropriate way in which to investigate Starr and his terror tactics.

Enough on such negative subjects. It's moist and beautiful here in New Orleans. Our tulips have come up; the azaleas are blooming everywhere, with gorgeous displays of red, pink, and white blossoms, and even our more tropical plants are opening up to increasing warmth.

Lestat's dog, Mojo, is doing fine. The beautiful beast, who often sleeps on the flagstones just inside my front gate, is now nine years old. His long coat is vigorous and thick, and he is as gentle as ever. I wonder how many of you remember him from THE TALE OF THE BODY THIEF.

I'll close now. A malaise has caught up with me. Thanks again for your ardent messages - - Terry, Jonathan, Mike in San Diego, Gary in Knoxville, Anna Lise in Chicago - - and many others - - your messages mean a lot.

Take care and love.

Anne Rice"