Author Anne Rice revamped the vampire, arguably putting the creature back on the pop culture map with her debut novel “Interview with the Vampire.”
Forty years later, Rice has published the 13th installment of her Vampire Chronicles, “Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis.”
“I think it’s kind of irresistible to many writers to want to do their version of what the lost kingdom might have been,” Rice told AirTalk’s guest host, Patt Morrison.
Patt Morrison talked to Rice about the genesis of her latest work, as well as her cosmology and readers.
Click on the blue play button above to hear the full discussion, or read highlights below.
On writing about Atlantis
Rice: I’ve always been fascinated with the legend surrounding Atlantis, ever since I read Plato’s version of it all. And I had been working on a novel called “Born for Atlantis” and gathering ideas about what my Atlantis might’ve been like … and it just didn’t work, this novel. I had put it aside, kind of given up on it. And then it kind of occurred to me to combine it with Lestat and the vampires, to weave it into their story. And everything came alive when I did that.
R: Early on, I was a reader of H.P. Lovecraft, and one of the things that distinguished Lovecraft’s wonderful stories was that he had this great cosmology … for all the supernatural elements that he used. I wanted to evolve something like that for myself. I wanted to dig into my subconscious and organically develop a cosmological world for my vampires… and this [new book] is the umpteenth chapter of that backstory.
On incorporating technology in her work
R: That’s the tradition, really. If you go back to “Dracula” … it’s set in a very specific moment in the end of the 19th century. I believe there are phonograph records referenced in “Dracula,” and letters back and forth to England. It’s a novel that’s trying to engage the present of its time, technologically. And the vampires are very corporeal … So, in a way, I inherited all that.
On writing complex novels in the age of the tweet
R: I think fantasy readers, science fiction readers, supernatural readers, have always been very sophisticated. They’ve always liked philosophy and deep meaning in the works that that they read … Very early on in my career, when I did a signing at a science fiction bookstore, the most wonderful readers showed up who wanted to talk about the deeper meaning of the books...The genre is not just entertainment to science fiction buffs… It’s their preferred literature and they ask everything of it that maybe a professor is asking of Dickens in a college classroom.