The vampire world is in crisis – their kind have been proliferating out of control and, thanks to technologies undreamed of in previous centuries, they can communicate as never before. Roused from their earth-bound slumber, ancient ones are in thrall to the Voice: which commands that they burn fledgling vampires in cities from Paris to Mumbai, Hong Kong to Kyoto and San Francisco. Immolations, huge massacres, have commenced all over the world.
Who – or what – is the Voice? What does it desire, and why?
There is only one vampire, only one blood drinker, truly known to the entire world of the Undead. Will the dazzling hero-wanderer, the dangerous rebel-outlaw Lestat heed the call to unite the Children of Darkness as they face this new twilight?
On October 30th, Anne Rice is back with Prince Lestat, her first Vampire Chronicles book in fifteen years. I've somehow never read any books in this series, but I've been meaning to for a long time - I think it's about time I sorted that out and read Interview With the Vampire!
To celebrate the upcoming publication of Prince Lestat, Random House have provided me with part of a Q+A with Anne, which I can share with you all here. I think you'll agree it's quite fascinating to hear about Anne Rice and her Vampire Chronicles series!
Q+A With Anne Rice
What was the experience of writing/publishing Interview with the Vampire?
Writing the novel was intense. I sensed I'd made some sort of personal breakthrough in talking about my deepest concerns, but it was quite unexpected. I'd been trying to write pedestrian realism like so many other struggling writers, and then when I tried fantasy – a vampire telling his story – my entire emotional world and spiritual world were suddenly available to me. The publication was marvelously exciting, of course. This was a ‘first novel’ yet it made headlines. The hardcover – as it turned out – was not a great success, but the paperback launched the novel on a never-ending journey. I was grateful for all of it. The novel was controversial, as no one had seen anything quite like ‘an interview with a vampire’ before, and that added to the excitement.
What inspired you to return to Lestat after more than a decade?
New ideas. New visions. New possibilities. At the time I retired from the Chronicles (2003) I really had no more to say with Lestat. I associated the Chronicles with some of the most painful parts of my life. But as the years passed, I kept thinking of Lestat, wondering what he would think about this or that cultural development, what he might have to say about this or that new film or book. He was alive for me, out there, in exile. Finally I went back and reread all of the books, and he was talking to me again, coming out of exile, out of his ‘depression’, wanting to live again. It was glorious.
Why do you think vampires continue to be such a popular phenomenon? What has changed in the genre while you’ve been writing?
I'm not surprised at all at the popularity of the vampire. The concept is so rich – the vampire is a metaphor for the outsider, the outcast, the artist, the addict, the alienated one. So of course writers would come along and do new and interesting things with such a rich concept. The vampire craze today is author driven. But the movement amongst some very popular authors is towards domesticating the vampire – the very opposite of my approach. We're seeing the vampire as the boy next door, the guy next to you in biology class in high school, or the handsome man you meet at the nearby tavern or bar. It's quite interesting. My vampires are mythic, tragic, larger than life. I'm kind of delighted by all the variations.
What’s next for you, and for Lestat?
Blood Paradise is the tentative title of the next book, in which the story of Prince Lestat continues. There are unresolved issues, things that must be dealt with. And new surprises. I see Prince Lestat as the first volume of a reboot for the Chronicles. I'm deeply immersed in writing the next book already. Lestat is a character deeply rooted in my heart and mind. He cannot be consciously coerced by me to speak. And once he does start speaking, well, I cannot shut him up. He's in control again. He has a lot to say. And then my imagination is aflame with stories about all those who love and expect things of Lestat. He's much in demand amongst the world's immortals.
Here's Anne talking about Prince Lestat:
Random House are kindly offering one (1) signed copy of Prince Lestat and one (1) unsigned copy of Memnoch the Devil to one lucky reader. Please read the rules below before filling in the form, and good luck!
Rules and info:
- Open to UK residents only.
- Closing date: October 31st, 2014.
- One entry per person.
- The books will be sent by the publisher, not by me.
Prince Lestat, Anne Rice’s new novel in the Vampire Chronicles series, will be published on 30th October (Chatto & Windus). The Wolves of Midwinter will be published simultaneously in paperback (Arrow), eBooks also available. Visit annerice.com for more information.