#SDCC14 Exclusive: Anne Rice Talks Prince Lestat, Future Vampire Chronicles, Updates on Her Werewolves, Witches, and More!
With vampires and witches descending on SDCC today, we squeezed in a few moments with someone who knows a thing or two (or 20) about both types of creatures: author Anne Rice, in town to promote Prince Lestat.
Since “True Blood,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Salem,” and “American Horror Story: Coven” were all in town, Saturday was the perfect time to head over to the Hyatt for a quiet one-on-one with Ms. Rice, one of the forerunners when it comes to stories about these two uber popular supernatural beings.
We dug right in to find out all we could about Prince Lestat. With so much time having passed since her last entry in The Vampire Chronicles and considering all the various incarnations of vampires over those years, we first wanted to hear from Anne about what excited her most about reconnecting with her muse, Lestat. What was her favorite reaction to revisiting this familiar character in her new novel?
“Exploding with a whole bunch of new ideas,” she answered. “I didn’t know whether I could. I wanted to get back, I wanted to talk about him again, and I started reading all the books. Right away I thought, ‘Of course, of course. I want to do this, I want to do that. I want to take this further, I want to go there.’ All this came to me, and that’s [why] taking ten years off from the Chronicles has worked out well for me because Prince Lestat couldn’t have been written ten years ago. I didn’t have it in me at the time. I hadn’t gone to those places yet.”
“In the book he is coming out of his depression. He’s coming out of his exile so I’m accommodating that long delay. Nobody’s heard from him in a long time.”
We mentioned that she’s said before Lestat simply wasn’t talking to her anymore, and she agreed, “He wasn’t. In a way, he really wasn’t. And I associated him with some of the most painful and dark periods in my life. He was very much associated with that, and what I had to do was go and ask him, ‘Can you talk about something else besides pain and darkness?’”
“And the novel shaped up with the vampires all turning to him and saying, ‘Come back. We need you. We need you as the leader. We have to have some kind of new faith in what’s going on.’ And that’s really what the novel is about; it’s about how he becomes ‘Prince Lestat.’ How he lives up to that title, what that title means.”
What sort of surprises might there be for the fans along the way during Lestat’s new journey? Rice was pragmatic. “I can tell you this: From the very beginning the audience has always been polarized on every book from the start.”
She has no illusions of pleasing everyone. “There were people that hated the second novel [The Vampire Lestat] and felt it was not as good as the first. There were people that read the second one first and thought the first was not as good as the second when they read it. There were people who hated the Queen of the Damned and people who loved it… Every single book that happens.”
“Some people are very disappointed, and they say it’s not what they wanted. That’s one of the first, loudest things you hear. And I think that’s inevitable, that’s going to happen. But I certainly put everything into it that I wanted to be in it, and I certainly have found it very satisfying to take Lestat into new areas and to revisit old characters and bring in new characters. Some people, again, it’s not going to be for them, and that’s inevitable.”
Anne’s next remarks were music to my ears as she compared Prince Lestat to my most favorite chapter of The Vampire Chronicles, the aforementioned Queen of the Damned. “It’s definitely the most like Queen of the Damned. It’s the only one other than Queen of the Damned that really talks about the whole tribe being in a crisis, more or less – several crises actually – and demands from the young ones for the Old Ones to please come forward, come out of hiding, and take over and lead.”
“The young are very dissatisfied that Mekare and Maharet, the eldest of the tribe, are in hiding, in exile, unreachable. They summon people to themselves every now and then. It’s Maharet really; Mekare is not doing anything except holding the Sacred Core inside her. It’s about the proliferation of the young vampires in 2013 all over the planet needing somebody to be a leader. They are a leaderless tribe, a leaderless people. The threats they are mainly facing are from one another. They are battling over territory in the cities, they’re squabbling. Different things happen and they don’t know whether it’s the Old Ones targeting them or other young ones. There’s a lot of chaos. They want somebody to step up; they want somebody to be a leader. And that’s what it’s really about. It’s whether or not Lestat will come forward and whether any other of the ancients is willing to come forward and give up their sort of sublime solitude and their sublime exile to come into the fray, more or less, and be seen and be heard and so forth.”
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