Anne Rice’s debut novel, Interview with a Vampire, was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. She is also the author of many other best-sellers, including the hugely successful Vampire Chronicles, The Mummy or Ramses the Damned, Violin, Angel Time, and the Mayfair Witches series.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Anne now lives in Southern California. The Robertson Treatment talks with her about her latest book, Beauty’s Kingdom, an eagerly-anticipated extension of her popular, Sleeping Beauty trilogy.
Robertson Treatment: I really enjoyed Beauty’s Kingdom. What inspired you to extend the Sleeping Beauty trilogy after such a long hiatus?
Anne Rice: I had more to say. Many years have passed since I wrote the original trilogy. I felt a new book could refine and deepen the vision. Also, times have changed and, with them, attitudes towards erotica. It’s accepted today in a way it was not before, and I did find that inspiring.
RT: Did the appearance of Fifty Shades of Grey have any influence on your decision to continue the series?
AR: Yes, the success of Fifty Shades indicated that people were out of the closet about their appreciation of erotica. Erotica no longer need be an underground thing. I was inspired by this new acknowledgement of the significance of erotica.
RT: How do you make the writing psychological shift from Gothic fiction to Erotic fiction—or is there a lot of one in the other?
AR: For me erotic and gothic fiction have much in common. Both are imaginative realms that are talking about the meaning of life in metaphorical terms. I love that. I don’t have any problem writing in both genres.
RT: What are your thoughts about how your writing has been adapted to the screen and what you have learned from that process, for better or worse?
AR: I have good and bad experiences with screen adaptation. What I learned above all is that it is always a risk. However, I love film in all forms, and I think it’s worth the risk. So I keep agreeing to and encouraging adaptations. Of course, I feel those adaptations which are entirely faithful to the underlying work are the most successful. When producers and directors and screenwriters try to re-imagine and substantially change the underlying material, more often the end product fails.
RT: Do you have any favorite “monsters” that you have never written about? Is “monster” the right word to describe vampires, witches and Lasher? Is there a real-life Lestat that you patterned the character on?
AR: My favorite monster is the vampire without doubt. He is a metaphor for the outsider in all of us, the outcast, the lonely one, the lost one. I’ll be interrogating that metaphor for the rest of my life.
RT: What readers should expect from Beauty’s Kingdom if it becomes a movie one day, who’d you like to direct and star in it?
AR: Beauty’s Kingdom picks up the characters twenty years after the trilogy. Beauty and her beloved husband, King Laurent, are called upon to come back to the kingdom where they met as slaves and preserve the way of erotica slavery. Beauty declares that henceforth all slavery must be voluntary and open to applicants of all classes. The book explores, among other things, the outlook of those who volunteer to be slaves and how they love it and what they expect from their royal masters and mistresses. —- Right now, Beauty is being developed for cable television.
RT: I assume you encountered many naysayers prior to getting published. What kept you going and what advice do you have for aspiring authors?
AR: Writers have to have faith. They have to be stubborn. They have to endure lots of insults, contemptuous dismissal and criticism, and they have to keep going. I always believed this. I always believed the author has to fight for her vision, her story, her characters, her “right” to be a writer and to offer something fresh and interesting in a marketplace that will always be tough. I don’t know where I got my courage. I am a scrapper. It’s in my genes.
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