Queen of Goth, Mother of Vampires
I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Anne Rice on December 11. Her work was hugely influential to many, and to me personally.
When I first came across her novels in high school, I was immediately enraptured. I remember reading Interview With The Vampire while walking to school on 24th Street in Manhattan, managing to maneuver around rush hour foot traffic without losing my place. I didn’t stop when I walked into my school building, or went up the stairs to my first class. I’m not even sure I stopped during class. I just read it and read it and read it, and when I was done, I read it again.
I read the sequels, the spinoffs, the standalones. Watched the movies. If I came across a person who loved her work, that person became a friend and we would give each other her books as presents.
Her settings were lush and far reaching across space and time. Her characters lived and breathed and, above all, WANTED. They wanted to live, they wanted to die, to love and be loved, to have fun, to have power. Despite writing nominally about supernatural beings, her characters were deeply human. Children wanted, demanded a loving parent, lonely beings longed for companions, there was no end to desire of all kind.
Arriving in the United States as a child, I had a comically heavy Russian accent, which made me a shoo-in for the role of Dracula in my fourth grade production of I Love NY. In fact, that was my only line–I Love New York–but I got to dress like the Count, or my feeble approximation of an undead old guy on an elementary school stage.
However, that jump started my love affair with vampires, and Anne Rice was my guiding light:
And if you’re not into vampires, witches, or biblical personalities, do yourself a favor and read The Feast of All Saints, a beautifully written and painstakingly researched novel about the community of free people of color in 1840s New Orleans. Or Cry to Heaven if you’d like to visit eighteenth century Italy in the company of two very singular singers.
Post photo from Anne Rice’s Facebook Fan page.
Are you a fan? Which is your favorite?
Emilya Naymark is the author of the novels Hide in Place and Behind the Lie.
Her short stories appear in A Stranger Comes to Town, edited by Michael Koryta, Secrets in the Water, After Midnight: Tales from the Graveyard Shift, River River Journal, Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories 2017, and 1+30: THE BEST OF MYSTORY.
When not writing, Emilya works as a visual artist and reads massive quantities of psychological thrillers, suspense, and crime fiction. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family.