The Writing Life

On the Passing of Anne Rice

Anne Rice, who wrote gothic novels such as Interview with a Vampire among other Vampire Chronicles books (and in addition to many other wonderful works), passed away on December 11 due to complications from a stroke. She was 80.

I’ve been trying over these last few days to process this loss. I didn’t know Anne Rice in any personal way. I had never gotten the chance to meet her. I do, however, have a lovely memory from around 15 years ago, and rather than try to find the words for how much her work has meant to me, I think I’d like to talk a bit about that memory.

The summer of 2006 was right around the time when I had really gotten back into writing and had switched my college major from political science to English. I had been working on a story for a few weeks and had also been reading Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice. I had remembered seeing an article about the fact that she had released a new novel the previous year called Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, which interested me, since it was her first of this nature. I went to her website to learn more about it, and that’s where I saw that her email address was public and that she welcomed messages from fans.

I sent a brief email, explaining how much I admired her work and simply asking if she had any advice for aspiring writers. To my surprise, she wrote back by the end of the day. Her response was this:

“Thank you for your kind words, Kerri. I’m so glad you enjoy Lestat and friends. He means much to me, too. As for writing advice, I’d like to say this: Don’t give up. Write about the things you love, the things that interest you, and never stop. Sometimes, even in the darkest hours on the darkest days, our words are all we have. Use them.”

It’s that last bit that I’ve never forgotten, especially over these last few years. I keep those words near my desk and think of them often.

“Sometimes, even in the darkest hours on the darkest days, our words are all we have.”

Anne Rice

Rest well, Anne Rice. Rest well.