Anne Rice

One of my very favourite people on Facebook is Anne Rice. She really understands how to use technology to connect with her readers. Her status updates are full of warmth, wisdom, and curiosity, and they have also sent me to various clips of her speaking on YouTube. Whether she is explaining why she quit organised Christianity or talking about plotting or the process of outlining (or not-outlining), her observations contain great insight, generosity, and inspiration. E.g., when you get stuck, ‘the worst thing you can do is go off and think.’ She is a very instinctive writer. Elsewhere she also makes a very emphatic statement that she thinks her books have been successful because readers connect to the characters. (How might readers connect to your characters?)

Above is a warm, funny, and touching interview with ‘the high priestess of modern gothic fiction’.

It’s been a while since I first read Interview With the Vampire, which is surely one of the two greatest vampire novels (Salem’s Lot being the other, for me; though its vampire-monsters lack the complexity of Louis, Lestat, Claudia, et al., it will always scare the hell outta me, and that’s a fine achievement in any novel). Interview With the Vampire has such a simple idea: a vampire tells the story of his life in an interview with a journalist. But it opens up so much, and it touches on two (again, simple) things I often find myself emphasising when I am working with writers: faith in the natural speaking voice as the mode of writing, and by extension the telling of a story (tell me a story – a great mantra). Like many of the best bits of advice, these are really obvious principles, though sometimes they can get a bit lost in other conversations about technique and revision, or overshadowed by the desire to impress (something we can usually do without).

I think it’s time to reread Interview With the Vampire, and catch up on some of her other books.

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