Phone Message Transcript: April 19, 1999
[appearing on Anne's fan phone line]

"Hello Guys, I want to thank you for all your recent messages on the phone line and on the Internet.

A caller named Clare mentions that I might be working with Warner Bros. on films of QUEEN OF THE DAMNED and THE VAMPIRE LESTAT. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Sad to say, I have no official contact with Warner Bros. these days. My only news is no news. My experience with the execs there is that my influence is not something that is welcome. I have pretty much given up. I still dream of great films but don't know when they will be made.

Tracy in Montreal asks about the Mayfair Witches. Again, I have no Hollywood or Television news on them. The books are stalled at Warner Bros. along with the Vampire novels. As for my producing a fourth Mayfair novel, I will do this when I feel that I can. The Mayfairs are always around me, very palpable in my imagination and in my heart. They share this house at First and Chestnut in New Orleans with me. But I'm not quite ready to plunge into a fourth Mayfair novel yet.

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.

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.

Many thanks to Anna Lisa in Chicago, Michael in San Diego, Michael here in New Orleans, Gary in Knoxville, Jonathan in South Florida, and others who have called.

April in Los Angeles asks if a new movie or mini-series called THE MUMMY has anything to do with my book. No, April, it does not. My book has not yet been made into a film. The rights belong to mega-genius director James Cameron who created THE TITANIC, and Jim has yet to make the film. I admire Jim Cameron madly and I am waiting to see what he will do. Last I heard scripts were being written. As for this new MUMMY movie, I know nothing about it. There have been many mummy movies over the years.

Lilly from New Jersey asks if I believe in past lives. I honestly don't know what I believe on that score. As a Catholic, I don't see any conflict as to the matter. But I don't feel any deep innate sense that I have lived before. Past Life Therapy fascinates me however. We may indeed tap into past lives in this fashion, or we may tap into the past lives of our ancestors who have bequeathed to us biologically some memories. It's not inconceivable. I also believe that in Past Life Therapy we may construct stories or fantasies that help us to exorcised our demons. The whole subject is very rich and tantalizing. I hope to work into my novels some of my beliefs on this score.

Lisa from Slidell asks about the publication of Stan's next book. Actually, the book is coming out any day. It is called THE RADIANCE OF PIGS. It's absolutely beautiful. Stan has used one of his extraordinary paintings on the cover. Sad to say, Stan's brilliant editor, Harry Ford, a man of much fame in the poetry world who had published many great poets over the years, has recently died. This has caused us sorrow. Stan's book was completed before the loss of Mr. Ford. Stan's publisher is Knopf, and the book should be available in any bookstore very soon. It can always be ordered if it is not on the shelf. Regarding signings, Stan does not do them, but he will be reading his work in Southern California in the near future. The reading will be at BEYOND BAROQUE FOUNDATION in Venice, California. It's at 681 Venice Blvd. It's on April 30th, in the evening, at 7:30 p.m. Let me add here that Stan is a fantastic reader of his own work. He will give you an evening to remember. Don't think I'm biased. I'm not. If my husband wasn't a great poet and wasn't a great reader, I would simply not mention it. The fact is, he's terrific.

David in Utica, New York asks what is going on with my son, Christopher and his screen writing. Christopher is still working at white hot heat on his scripts and a new novel, and with considerable success. His script of my novel, BELINDA, is quite fantastic. I'm behind it all the way and hope to have some real production news about it soon. Chris's new novel is meeting with tremendous enthusiasm, but I don't have concrete details I can share. My happy belief is that I am finding myself in a true literary family. My sister Alice Borchardt's book THE SILVER WOLF was a marvelous success. Stan's volumes of poetry continue to give me great pride. And now Christopher is coming into his own right as a writer. Chris spends time in Los Angeles, New Orleans, and New York. It's all quite exciting. I think we all live and breathe our writing.

Let me close out now, guys, with a mention of a series of films on A&E that I have been loving. I'm referring to the HORATIO HORNBLOWER movies that have run all during April. I've seen three of these action packed and extremely romantic films, and the fourth will show this coming Sunday. It's very high level, high production value entertainment. I think anyone who enjoys my work is likely to enjoy these first rate productions. The actor who plays the hero, Horatio, is a marvelous talent and a marvelous presence.

That's all for now. Please continue to leave me your messages. I'll answer what questions I can, and I hope to have seen some films to recommend before I come on the line again.

Let's pray for all those in Yugoslavia. Let's pray for President Clinton and other people who have difficult decisions to make regarding life and death. In America, we have known peace for so long that we are truly blessed. Yugoslavia is suffering terribly.

Over and out. 04-19-99"