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Anne Rice (born October 4, 1941, New Orleans, Louisiana) is a best-selling American author of horror/dark fantasy books. Best known for her Vampire Chronicles, Rice has published a number of works with SM themes. She was married to poet Stan Rice for 41 years until his death in 2002. Her books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in history.
- Writing career
Anne and her husband Stan had a daughter Michele, who was born in 1966, but who died of leukemia in 1972. Rice has said that in the novel, The Vampire Chronicles: Claudia, the young girl was inspired by her late daughter. Their son Christopher Rice, now a novelist, was born in 1978.
Rice has also published adult-oriented fiction under the pen names Anne Rampling.
She also wrote the explicit, sado-masochistic Beauty Trilogy (The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, The Punishment of Beauty & Beauties Release) The trilogy was written as a 'bet'. At a meeting in San Francisco, someone said that only men knew how to write erotica. To prove him wrong, she wrote under the nom de'plume A. N. Roquelare, a tongue-in-cheek reference since the name was made up from 'A. N.' (Anne) and 'Roquelare' (a French coachmans' cloak).
Return to Catholicism
In 1998, after spending most of her adult life as a self-described atheist, Rice returned to her Catholic faith, which she had not practiced since she was 18. In 2005, as she reaffirmed her Catholic faith, Rice announced in a Newsweek article that she would "write only for the Lord."
In an interview with Christianity Today, headlined "Interview with a Penitent", Rice declared that she will never again write another vampire novel, saying; "I would never go back, not even if they say, 'You will be financially ruined; you've got to write another vampire book.' I would say no. I have no choice. I would be a fool for all eternity to turn my back on God like that."
Many of her fans reacted with shock to the news of her religious and literary conversion, admonishing her in magazine articles, internet weblogs and reader reviews found on the web. Rice responded in a post on Amazon.com that stated: "And yes, the Chronicles are no more! Thank God!"
Whether Rice would continue to be a supporter of liberal causes like gay rights (her son Christopher is openly gay) and a critic of George W. Bush was much debated; she has said that Christianity's stance on homosexuality was something she wrestled with as she considered converting. She remains a passionate supporter of the rights of Jewish and Christian gays and their right to participate in religious worship. Her pattern of political contributions since 1998 suggests that she continues to identify with the Democratic Party.
Leaving New Orleans
Rice discovered she had Type 1 diabetes when she went into a diabetic coma in December 1998.
In 2002, Stan Rice died after a long illness. In her subsequent depression, Rice's weight rose to 254 pounds. In response to sleep apnea and other weight-related problems, Rice had gastric bypass surgery in 2003.
On January 30, 2004, having already put the largest of her three homes up for sale, Rice announced her plans to leave New Orleans. She cited living alone since the death of her husband and her son's moving out of state as the reasons. "Simplifying my life, not owning so much, that's the chief goal," said Rice. "I'll no longer be a citizen of New Orleans in the true sense." Her decision saved her and her property from the wrath of Hurricane Katrina which ravaged New Orleans in August of 2005.
Rice may also have wished for more privacy from the constant attentions of her fans, who were known to camp out in front of her house; up to 200 or more would gather to see her leave for church on Sundays.
In spring 2005 Anne Rice moved to La Jolla, California, to be nearer her son, Christopher. She moved less than a year later to Rancho Mirage for a warmer climate and a "simpler life."
In 1994, Neil Jordan directed a relatively faithful motion picture adaptation of Interview with the Vampire, from Rice's own screenplay. The movie starred Tom Cruise as Lestat, Brad Pitt as the morbid Louis and was a breakout role for young Kirsten Dunst as the deceitful little Claudia.
A second film adaptation of the Vampire Chronicles came out in 2002. Starring Stuart Townsend as the infamous Lestat, the movie combined incidents from the second and third books in the series but released under the title of the third book, The Queen of the Damned. The plot was substantially altered from that of the book, and the film was poorly received by fans and critics alike.
A 1994 film titled Exit to Eden, based loosely on the book Rice published as Anne Rampling, starred Rosie O'Donnell and Dan Aykroyd. The work transformed from a love story into a police comedy, possibly due to the explicit S&M themes of the book.
In 2001, The Feast of All Saints was made into a miniseries by director Peter Medak and renamed Feast of All Saints.
On April 25, 2006, the musical Lestat, based on Rice's Vampire Chronicles books, opened at the Palace Theatre on Broadway after having its world premiere in San Francisco, California in December, 2005. With music by Elton John and lyrics by Bernie Taupin, it was the inaugural production of the newly established Warner Brothers Theatre Ventures.
Despite Rice's own overwhelming approval and praise, the show received mostly poor reviews by critics and disappointing attendance. Lestat closed a month later on May 28, 2006, after just 33 previews and 39 regular performances.
Rice has an adamant stance against fan fiction based on her work, releasing a statement on April 7, 2000 that prohibits all such efforts.