Anne Rice, born in 1941, is the author of more than thirty novels, spanning subjects as diverse as gothic horror, Christian mythology and erotica. Her Vampire Chronicles have probably directly influenced more living authors than Bram Stoker, Edgar Allen Poe and H P Lovecraft combined, with a film adaptation of Interview with the Vampire that was so universally loved that nobody blamed her for the travesty that was Queen of the Damned. Almost 35 years after the publication of Interview with the Vampire Anne has taken time out of her prolific schedule to speak to Starburst Magazine about the new graphic novel adaptation, Interview with the Vampire: Claudia’s Story, and how she feels about the proliferation of Paranormal Romance.
Starburst: When it comes to adaptations of your stories, do you like to maintain control over the material or do you feel happy for other artists to develop their own interpretations?
Anne Rice: On adaptations, I don't try to maintain tight control. I seek to approve of the entity before I grant the right to adapt. But with Yen (Yen Press, the American publishers of Claudia’s Story and also the far-inferior Twilight manga!) and Claudia's Story, I did see the artwork and found it beautiful and found the adaptation faithful. I am happy for the adaptors to develop their own approach, but do very much want fidelity to the underlying work. Yen was very respectful of Interview with the Vampire in doing this.
Did it feel strange to return to Interview with the Vampire after all this time, or would you say that the Vampire Chronicles have kept you close to those characters?
I'm always close to the Vampire Chronicles, to the characters, and to the reader's responses. We talk about them all the time on my Facebook page, and we are always seeking to develop film rights. Interview with the Vampire is ever present in my mind. And lately, I've been re-reading the entire series.
How did you feel about Ashley Marie Witter's style of art in Claudia's Story?
I thought Ashley's style of art was breath-taking. She caught the sensuality of the book, the 19th century decor and costuming, the whole "style" and ambience of Interview with the Vampire. Her work is some of the best I've ever seen in the graphic novel field.
If this graphic novel is successful what other stories would you look to for similar adaptations? I adored Claudia's Story, but having read Interview with the Vampire so many times I'm now longing to read adaptations of tales in the Vampire Chronicles that I haven't got to yet.
I would love to see all the Vampire Chronicles adapted for graphic novels, and all my books, really. I particularly love the graphic novel form, and always have. I loved the old Sherlock Holmes stories in the Strand magazine with their famous ink drawings of Holmes in his deer stalker hat. I love the whole Dickensian idea of reaching the masses with new adaptations. I wish modern novels used lavish illustrations. I would love it if every single book of mine were illustrated.
Where do you stand on the proliferation of the Paranormal Romance genre and the many descendants of your early prose?
I'm not surprised that we've had a resurgence of paranormal romance. I think the audience was always underestimated and underserved. The hunger for good supernatural stories has always been there. And now the audience is being heard and respected. Also the concept of the vampire is so rich and deep that it is not surprising people are developing new vampire characters and new cosmologies. I think this is all good. I've always loved imaginative fiction and written highly speculative and imaginative fiction. I remember when pedestrian realism dominated the "serious" fiction market, and there was no room for people like me. I'm glad now that it is a whole new world.
Looking back on your career with hindsight, is there an area of writing that you wish you had devoted more time to? Or is it the case that you remedy feelings like that with the novels that you're currently writing?
Well, I usually write what obsesses me. So I've had many twists and turns, and I am always revisiting my old work, and looking for ways to add to what I've done. I might be writing more of the Christ the Lord series in the future; and certainly I will write more of the Songs of the Seraphim with Toby O'Dare. And I've just started with the Wolf Gift and the werewolves. I am an enthusiast and an excessive person, and I am always experimenting.
Interview with the Vampire: Claudia's Story is out now.