Phone Message Transcript: June 25, 1999
[appearing on Anne's fan phone line]
As the summer progresses I get deeper and deeper into my work. Though the weather is hot, humid and beautiful, the spring flowers have died off somewhat and New Orleans is lushly green. I never really feel the heat here. I simply move from one chilly air conditioned environment to another, and I take my meals in ice cold restaurants that require sweaters. If you are coming south for a visit, remember to bring clothing for our arctic indoor temperatures.
I have been reading and writing at the same time, and it's too early for me to say what this new book is about. Lestat is still in his long sleep, as he was in PANDORA and in Armand, only waking to listen to music, and I don't think he will be the hero of this new work. I had planned otherwise, but he does indeed have a life of his own as a character and he does not want to rise to the occasion just now. I am getting very comfortable in the voice of David Talbot, a character who has become increasingly important to me.
Regarding incoming questions, let me answer the following:
Maddy asks: What do I mean when I say movie rights on my vampire novels and witching novels will revert in the year 2000? Okay, what I mean is this: in the movie contracts that I sign, I always have a time limit. If the studio has not commenced principal photography on a new vampire film, or on a witching film within a certain number of years, the rights to the property revert back to me. The studio loses its right at that reversion, and I am free to sell the rights again to another studio, or simply to hold onto the books. These reversion clauses prevent my books from ever being put into a vault in Hollywood, which does happen to certain books. The time limits differ based on the contract. As it stands right now, the year 2000 is the reversion year for the vampires and the witches.
DiMaggio in California asks: am I going to continue the wine program? At this point, no, I am not going to continue to have a wine using Lestat's name. We did very well with our Cuvee Lestat wine, but I myself do not drink wine, and now that we have sold everything, I am content to retire from the business.
Maya in Seattle asks will I ever have vampires of different races in my books. What limits me in terms of race is what I know. I can go only so far in my genuine understanding of other races. Fro example, regarding the Japanese, though I have tremendous respect for the culture and the art, I don't know enough about the Japanese heart and soul to create a Japanese character of depth in my work.
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.
A web question from Daphne: Regarding the comix based on my books. A few years back, INNOVATIONS and MILLENIUM, comic book companies did THE VAMPIRE LESTAT, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, THE WITCHING HOUR, and THE MUMMY. I believe that each novel was done in twelve issues, but I'm not certain. All are out of print to the best of my knowledge, and sell on the used comic market. You can find them in comic stores everywhere. They are not that high priced. I recently attended a comic convention here in New Orleans and found them selling for about $4.50 an issue. I don't know how hard it is to collect a whole set.
UPDATE ON NEW COMIX
But my big comic news is this. My assistant Ross Tafaro has founded a company named SICILIAN DRAGON to publish my comix exclusively. He is working hard on THE TALE OF THE BODY THIEF. I have total control of the adaptation, and of the art work. I look at every page and every panel before we make the final decision on it. I am striving, along with Ross, and the others involved to make this an absolutely stunning episodic graphic novel or series of comix. The first issue will appear in September.
Our Adapter is Faye Perozich, who worked on some of the older comix of my work. Our Art Director and Colorist is Scott Rockwell. Our Penciller is Travis Moore. Our Inker is Michael Halblieb and our Cover Art is done by Daerick Gross.
I'm very excited about this comic venture. I have always loved the idea of the graphic novel or comix because it reaches a huge rank and file audience, and that makes me feel as if I am emulating my hero, Charles Dickens whose wonderful novels, DAVID COPPERFIELD and GREAT EXPECTATIONS appeared in episodes in his monthly magazines.
Also, I love the idea of illustration all the way from its earliest beginning on cave walls, through the ancient world, through the centuries of the medieval monastery copyists, and on into the Renaissance and into the modern world. I think illustration can be as high a form of art as any other form. That is a pretty democratic view, but it's my view.
I look forward to SICILIAN DRAGON doing other novels of mine soon. We are thinking about MEMNOCH THE DEVIL as a second choice.
That's all for now. This message is going on my phone line as well as the Internet. Those of you who call, answer this question for me. Do my works have religious meaning for you?
Love to everybody,