Interview with the Vampire – by Anne Rice

Interview with the Vampire is the ground-breaking first novel by Anne Rice that launched her Vampire Chronicles series and influenced the portrayal of VampireS in other fiction, film, and entertainment media.

Interview with the Vampire began as a 30-page short story Rice wrote in 1969. The inspiration came one day when she wondered what it would be like to interview a vampire. As she started to write, Rice found herself taking the vampire’s point of view as he told his story to a reporter. The story was not published.

After the Rices’ daughter, Michele, died of leukemia in 1972 at age five, Rice began to write again as a way to heal her grief. She revised and expanded the story into a book, adding the character of Lestat de Lioncourt and a host of other vampires.

The main character, Louis, comes from southern Louisiana and New Orleans. In 1791, while grieving over the death of his brother, Louis is made a reluctant vampire by the vampire Lestat. Yet Louis is no COUNT Dracula; instead, he—like Lestat—is an androgynous character, smooth and white-skinned, who succumbs to the desire for immortality yet finds it hard to bear.

Unlike traditional vampires, Rice’s immortals are beautiful, do not live in graves, do not avoid GARLIC, and can see their reflections in Mirrors. According to Rice, in Catholic theology, the inability so see one’s reflection means the soul is in hell, and she did not want her vampires to have any better assurance of a God than mortals.

Louis suffers tremendous guilt over his now-evil nature. In an interview with a reporter, he explains how he dealt with being a vampire, how he finally surrendered to his blood thirst by attacking a five-year-old girl, and how his mentor, Lestat, saved her by making her a vampire as well.

Young Claudia resembled Michele, Rice’s daughter who died of leukemia in 1972 at age five. The Rices had even once called Michele Claudia. In the first manuscript, Claudia joins a band of children terrorizing Paris, but lives forever—in other words, giving Michele immortality.

Lestat was inspired by Stan Rice. Louis and Claudia do not like Lestat and resent him for making them vampires. Claudia sets their house on fire and the two abandon him, thinking they have killed him. They go to Central Europe in search of other vampires who can tell them about their origins and roots. In Central Europe they find only vampire creatures, rather subhuman, who feed mindlessly.

Disgusted, they go to Paris, where they meet the vampire coven run by the beautiful Armand, which operates the decadent Theater of the Vampires. Louis falls in love with Armand. He creates a vampire for Claudia, Madeleine. Lestat tracks them down and informs the vampire coven of Claudia’s treachery. The coven destroys Claudia and Madeleine, and Louis retaliates by burning down their underground lair.

Louis rejects both Lestat and Armand and winds up alone in San Francisco, telling his story to the reporter. The journalist asks to be made a vampire. Like Rice’s novels that followed, Interview with the Vampire deals with lengthy philosophical and theological conversations and anguished introspections on the part of vampire protagonists as they struggle with the evil of their nature as blood predators.

Initially, publishers rejected the manuscript. It was sold to Alfred A. Knopf in 1974 for a $12,000 advance, about $8,000 more than the average advance of the times for a first novel. Interview was published in 1976 to mixed reviews, but it gained a following that eventually propelled Rice to best-sellerdom. Interview with the Vampire is the second-highest-selling vampire novel, bested only by Bram Stoker’s, Dracula.

Film rights to Interview with the Vampire passed through the hands of three studios—Paramount, Lorimar and, Warner Bros.—before landing at Geffen Pictures. In 1994 the film version of the novel was released. It stars Tom Cruise as Lestat, Brad Pitt as Louis, Kirsten Dunst as Claudia, and Antonio Banderas as Armand.

Initially, Rice did not approve of Cruise as the choice for Lestat and thought a better actor for the role was Rutger Hauer, who starred as the vampire in the film version of BUFFY THE Vampire SLAYER. But after seeing a preview of the film, Rice changed her mind and publicly supported it.

Further Reading:

Rice, Anne. Interview with the Vampire. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976.

[author image=”” ]Rosemary Guiley works full-time in the paranormal and metaphysical fields. She has written more than 50 books, including single-volume encyclopedias, on a variety of topics, A-Z, angels to zombies and everything in between. Source Amazon.[/author]
Taken from : The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters

Edited for the Web by Occult World

Interview with the Vampire,, by Anne Rice (Alfred A. Knopf, 1976): The book that brought vampires to the notice of the general public. Lengthy praise of Rice's “Vampire Chronicles” would display a naivete somewhat like that of an earnest dissertation on Shakespeare's merits as a dramatist.

Her richly textured portrait of antebellum New Orleans lends credibility to this first novelistic account of a transformation from human to inhuman as seen from the inside. Unlike King, who in 'Salem's Lot follows Stoker in presenting the vampire as the essence of evil, to be overcome by a dynamic faith in God (the trappings of Christianity work against King's Undead, but only if the wielder of the cross believes), Rice places her vampires in a secularized universe.

To the boy interviewer's questions about crucifixes, magical transformations, and the efficacy of a stake through the heart, the vampire Louis replies, “That is, how you would say today — bullshit?” (p. 25). Rice's vampires display abnormal strength, speed, and sensory acuity, along with a drastically altered appearance that makes it difficult for them to pass for human, but they have none of the traditional fictional vampire's powers of transformation.

Aside from sunlight (a detail adopted, of course, from movies such as Nosferatu, not from the nineteenth-century classic novels), they seem to have no vulnerabilities. In fact, they seem almost impossible to kill; in Rice's novels, supposedly destroyed vampires tend to reappear when least expected.

In The Vampire Lestat (Knopf, 1985), the reader who accepted Louis as a reliable narrator must undergo a wrenching reversal of perspective, for Lestat, portrayed as a villain in the earlier book, contradicts Louis' interpretation of events and presents himself as an admirable character — at least, within the limits of the inhuman, amoral nature of Rice's vampires.

Queen of the Damned (Knopf, 1988) abandons first-person narration for multiple points of view, both human and vampire. Rice is the first novelist successfully to attempt an explanation of the origin of vampires. Lestat's quest for the source of his own existence (begun in the second volume) leads him to the mythic Adam and Eve of the Undead, culminating in a battle between ancient vampires of unimaginable power in Queen of the Damned.

It would not be accurate to characterize this epic as a conflict between “good” and “evil” vampires; these creatures have their own values and goals, to which human standards of morality remain peripheral.


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