Anne Rice is a widely-read American author whose books have sold nearly 100 million copies. Her topics have ranged from the dark world of vampires, mummies and witches to the blinding brightness of the story of the Son of God as He walked the earth.
Anne claims that her books mirror the different stages of her own spiritual journey, and a remarkable journey it has been. Her extensive travels in the physical world are dwarfed by the extensive but contradictory spiritual realms she has attempted to portray. She relates the process of her journey in “Called Out of Darkness: a Spiritual Confession” (2008).
But let’s start at the beginning.
Howard Allen O’Brien was born into an Irish Roman Catholic family, on October 4th., 1941, in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was the second of three daughters, and her mother decided to name her after her father.
On her first day of school, the Sister asked her name. The little girl replied “Anne”, because she thought it sounded pretty, and it’s been Anne ever since. Her mother, who was with her, said nothing. Perhaps by that time, she regretted the unfortunate appellation she had given her daughter.
When Anne was fourteen, her mother died of alcoholism. Her father remarried and moved the family to Richardson, Texas, where Anne was enrolled in Richardson High School. It was here she met her future husband, Stan Rice, although years would pass before the mutual attraction blossomed into marriage.
Anne graduated from high school in 1959, and went on to Texas Woman’s University in Denton, and later to North Texas State College. She moved to San Francisco, where she worked as an insurance claims examiner for a year. Then she returned to Denton, Texas, where, in 1961, she married her high school sweetheart, Stan Rice.
The couple moved to San Francisco together. Stan became a professor at San Francisco State, and wrote poetry, and Anne wrote a short story, “Interview with a Vampire”, an project which would change her life forever. She continued with her education and received a master’s degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University in 1972.
Anne and her husband experienced first hand the hippie culture of the 1960s and lived in the fabled Haight-Ashbury district. It may be that some of the far-out notions prevalent at the time coloured some of the fiction she produced.
In September, 1966, Anne had given birth to a baby girl, Michele. Somehow, Anne managed to study and care for her daughter who had been diagnosed with leukaemia in 1970. Sadly, the child died in 1973, and the next few years were very difficult. The Rices’ depression was so great that many of their days were clouded in an alcoholic haze.
However, Anne continued to write. She expanded “Interview with a Vampire” into a novel, and Paramount paid her well to obtain film rights. With the money, the couple were able to travel to Europe and Egypt. With the birth of a son, Christopher, in 1977, they put their problems with alcohol behind them.
In 1989, Anne purchased the house in New Orleans that she had passed as a child on her way to church. The residence and surrounding area provided a setting for many of her novels. The final book of The Vampire Chronicles, “The Queen of the Damned” was published in 1989.
In 2002, Stan, Anne’s husband of 41 years, died after a brief battle with brain cancer. In 2005, Anne left New Orleans just months before Hurricane Katrina struck and returned to California, to be near to her son Christopher. He had become a novelist in his own right, though not as well-known as his mother.
After years of declaring herself an atheist, Anne returned to the faith of her childhood. In 2005, she announced in Newsweek magazine that she is now a Christian writer. In the afterward of one of her novels she calls Christ “… the ultimate supernatural hero, …the ultimate immortal of them all.”
“I was writing then about being away from God, about being lost. The vampire was the perfect metaphor for the lost soul who yet keeps hoping, looking for context, for some way to be part of things but never finds it. And what happened was I found what my characters were always looking for. They were looking for transcendence and a way out of the darkness and I found that.”
Her most recent books have been: “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt” (2005), and ” Christ the Lord: the Road to Cana” (2008). She is currently working on the third “Christ the Lord…” volume.
Reference: AnneRice.com: Anne Rice Biography
Accessed: June 24, 2009
Web site: http://www.annerice.com/Chamber-Biography.html