By ANNE RICE
I have always loved ghost stories, and had read many by the great English ghost story writers, Algenon Blackwood, M.J. James and others. I read so widely and so much—even for a non-reader.
The Bronte sisters—Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, two books that I read before I ever wrote Interview with the Vampire—had a terrific influence on me. I recently reread both of those books and I loved them, and I think they continue to have an influence on me. I am in love with Emily Bronte’s Heathcliff—I absolutely adore him. But I did a lot of reading when I was in college. I read Virginia Woolf, and Hemingway, and Shakespeare, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, and I read some very pure horror fiction from England that I really loved—in particular, J. Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, a vampire story that was written in the 1870s and is a very wonderfully sensuous vampire story. I think it’s influenced many movies. And I also read the stories of M.R. James, a very distinguished English gentleman. And I loved all that fiction—I absolutely loved it. So everything went into the mix. I’m definitely more influenced by European writers than I am by American writers, there’s no doubt about that. I lean toward English writers.
I use The Old Curiosity Shop by Dickens to fuel me and to set me on fire before I am writing. I am just enthralled with the story. I think Dickens was not only a genius, he was a madman. The amount of irresponsible invention in this book is dizzying. Dickens is like a feast. I love Great Expectations and David Copperfield. Those are both books written in the first person and are intimate. And in that voice, I think Dickens is more restrained. In The Old Curiosity Shop, because he is writing in the third person, he is able to really let loose with a lot of thoughts and feelings and descriptions and I am intrigued.
If I had to recommend only one book, it would be Great Expectations.
Anne Rice will be signing Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles on November 12 at 7:00 pm at Books Inc. in Opera Plaza. This event is a signing only. A Books Inc. receipt for Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles is required for a place in the siging line. Signing line positions will be on a first come, first served basis.