Home » Prolific Novelist of Gothic and Christian Fiction Ann Rice Dies at 80

Prolific Novelist of Gothic and Christian Fiction Ann Rice Dies at 80

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Rice
Courtesy of Heather Paul (Flickr CC0)

Anne Rice, the author who brought vampires like Lestat de Lioncourt to life in her “Vampire Chronicles” 13-book series, passed away on Saturday from complications resulting from a stroke, according to her son, Christopher. She was 80 years old.

She had a fantastic way of taking the reader into the era in which the stories were based. Reading her books transports a person to a different time and place. Rice’s stories not only captivate fans of gothic romance but also appeal to those who enjoy the spiritual element they hold. Many readers identify with her characters’ sense of isolation and alienation.

Rice brought a new perspective to the adage “nothing new under the sun.” While her topics are old, her perspective and creativity captivate audiences across genres and demographics. She wrote about taboo subjects and transformed them into novels for adventurous adults.

During an interview with longtime fan Alice Cooper in 2016, Rice talked about growing up in New Orleans and how the city’s “dark past” influenced her writing. “Its history and legends have influenced every single thing I’ve written. I cannot imagine my novels or my career without the New Orleans influence.” Rice described herself as a “highly instinctive and spontaneous writer” who knew how to access her deepest obsessions. In doing so, she let her words flow without worrying how strange or bizarre the story became.

Rice
Courtesy of Cam Miller (Flickr CC0)

Rice might be best remembered for her 1976 book “Interview With the Vampire” which became a popular movie in 1994, but Rice’s extensive list of titles includes: “The Wolf Gift Chronicles;” “The Wolf Gift” (2012), and “The Wolves of Mid-Winter” (2013); a 3-book series about “The Lives of the Mayfair Witches;” “The Witching Hour” (1990), “Lasher” (1993), and Taltos,” (1994). In addition, she wrote stories that wove tales of characters from the “Mayfair Witches” into the world of those in the “Vampire Chronicles.”

After her return to Catholicism, Rice gave the world fictional tales with Christian themes. Two novels were about Jesus Christ; “Christ of Lord: Out of Egypt,” (2005) and “Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana” (2008). In 2009, her website indicated the third book in the series was underway, “Christ the Lord: Kingdom of Heaven,” however, it appears as though it has not been released.

Her interview with Cooper happened during a private screening of “The Young Messiah” for him and his wife, Sheryl. The film is based on the first book in Rice’s “Christ the Lord” series.” When she spoke with him about returning to the church of her childhood, she said:

I gave up pondering theological absurdities and doctrines, and decided to leave it all to a higher power. I sought to go back to the fold, to the church I knew best, to the Eucharist, and I truly believed that doctrine and theology simply did not matter. What mattered was faith in God and loving God.

The second Christian-themed “Songs of the Seraphim” series starts with “Angel Time” (2009) and “Of Love and Evil (2010). Kirkus Review hailed the first book as “marvelous reimaginings of the Gospels” that are”angelically inspiring” and “devilishly clever.”

Rice
Courtesy of Carlos Pacheco (Flickr CC0)

Under the pen name A.N. Roquelaure, this genre introduced the dark world of sexual practice characterized by both sadism and masochism (SM). In “The Sleeping Beauty Series,” the first three are commonly referred to as the Beauty Trilogy; “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty” (1983), “Beauty’s Punishment” (1984), and “Beauty’s Release” 1985. The fourth book, published in 2015, “Beauty’s Kingdom,” picks up where the trilogy ended.

In 1985, she published “Exit to Eden,” writing as Anne Rampling. The book was also written about the taboo subject of SM’s forbidden fantasies. Its premise became a film bearing the same name, but the 1994 movie is a comedy, unlike the book.

Her latest novel, “Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat” (2018), is the continuation of the “Vampire Chronicles.” The story brings back most of her unforgettable characters who “must cooperate in building a new vampire kingdom in the modern world.”

Rice co-authored a novel with her son, to be released on Feb. 1, 2022, entitled “Ramses The Damned: The Reign of Osiris.” Although this is the second novel co-written with Christopher, it is the third book of her “Ramses the Damned” series. “The Mummy or Ramses the Damned” (1989) and “Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra” (2017).

Rice was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Oct. 4, 1941, but spent more of her life in California. She has a Master of Arts Degree in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She and her husband, Stan Rice, had two children, Christopher and Michele “Mouse” Rice.  Sadly, the couple’s daughter died of leukemia when she was five.

Her husband passed away in 2002. Rice died “almost 19 years to the day,” as her beloved husband explains her son.

In a private ceremony, she will be interred at the family’s mausoleum in New Orleans. However, her family is planning to celebrate Rice’s life in New Orleans next year, which will be open to the public.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

The New York Times: Anne Rice, Who Spun Gothic Tales of Vampires, Dies at 80; by Neil Genzlinger
Billboard: Alice Cooper Interviews Anne Rice on Religion, Vampires, Tom Cruise & Pot
Variety: Anne Rice’s ‘Lives of the Mayfair Witches’ Series Gets Greenlight at AMC; by Joe Otterson
Anne Rice: Bookshelf (All Books, In Order); Biography

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Heather Paul’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image Courtesy of Cam Miller’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image Courtesy of Carlos Pacheco’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License