This is an updated version
It’s a little eerie to me that I just wrote about Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire and Vampire Chronicles as inspiration for Sting’s Moon over Bourbon Street. I’m not even sure what prompted me to write that post. It was just an idea that floated over the transom and sang those lyrics to me. There IS a quantum reality we aren’t fully cognizant of in our ordinary waking state. I received the inspiration to write about it the day before she died. This isn’t the first time that sort of “coincidence” has happened to me either. Not by a long shot. But I digress. Rice’s son Christopher announced her passing last night on Twitter. She died at age 80 from complications of a stroke.
Although millions of fans mourn her passing today, her legacy lives on in her best selling books and two new television series in development at AMC. The Interview adaptation is already well under way at AMC Studios. Then on December 1, 2021 the streamer announced green lighting Rice’s novel series Lives of the Mayfair Witches. Interestingly enough the latter series features a female neurosurgeon who learns she’s from a family of witches.
There is a lesser known aspect to Anne Rice that I wish to highlight in memory of her life. According to her 2008 memoir, Called out of Darkness, Rice was working out the demons in her own life through the writing of her dark gothic fiction. She was born in New Orleans to a Roman Catholic family but became disillusioned and lost her faith.
At age 57, Rice experienced a conversion and wrote Christ the Lord Out of Egypt (2005) which was adapted as a feature and released as The Young Messiah by Focus Features in 2016. The sequel to that book, Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana (2008), was published the same year as her memoir and examines the life of Jesus as the 30 year old Jewish teacher.
To me, Rice’s secret and very personal struggle with darkness and her finding her way back out is the surprise twist in the story of her life that deserves attention. Perhaps someone should consider developing the non-fiction tale of her return to faith while writing all those dark novels as counter programming. I know I would very much like to see that story adapted for the screen.
The mega selling author also wrote erotica in her later years. Rice wrote Exit to Eden under the pseudonym Ann Rampling, which was produced as an R-rated romantic comedy/thriller by Gary Marshall in 1994. It tanked at the box office but the book is raved about by fans. I just ordered a copy for myself!
Her 1986 historical fiction Feast of All Saints has nothing to do with vampires or witches. It is instead a serious examination into New Orleans’ mulatto/creole culture and the racial inequalities they’ve suffered. Feast was made into a TV movie in 2001. Rice returned to erotica via a reimagining of the fairytale Sleeping Beauty. Rice’s Sleeping Beauty Series was co-authored with A.N. Roquelaure and is made up of four books, the last of which published in 2016.
This morning Christopher Rice announced that the family will host a celebration of Anne’s life in New Orleans. It will be open to the public.
Rest in Peace Anne. May you dwell in the light with the angels.