This particular obsession began, for me, with The Vampire Lestat. I picked up some magazine I wish I still had—I kept it for a couple of years and then lost track of it—and read an excerpt from the novel, which was either soon to be released or just had been. The character yanked me in, as did the story of this young man in 18th Century France being turned into a vampire, which was not as common a story in the eighties. But that swaggering voice, and his assertion that he’d only ever wanted to be good caught me and held me. I had to have more.
So I began with book two, backed up and read Interview with the Vampire, and gobbled up every new chronicle in hardcover, purchased the day of its release. I fell madly for Armand. And then Antonio Banderas played him in the first film. Slurp. But Anne Rice’s vampires were more philosophical and passionate than later vampires, and her prose was more romantic, her worlds richer, her histories deeper.
As with most love affairs, mine with the vampires cooled, somewhere around Merrick. But I read all ten books, choking up as I read the final words of the series, ending with Blood Canticle in 2003.
Like many fans, when Ms. Rice sold her house in the Garden District of New Orleans and announced she would no longer write about vampires and witches but would dedicate her craft to God, I actually felt a little nauseated. It seemed like she’d been sucked into a cult. Eventually, I got a grip. But as I predicted years ago—with fingers crossed—she reneged. A new Vampire Chronicle is promised in October, and I’ll be there to buy my copy. I will forget to eat and refuse to sleep as I read it. Perhaps I should take a couple of days off work…
Of course it will be good. It has to be.
We sometimes outgrow authors, as we outgrow music, styles, almost everything. Have I outgrown the vampires? We shall see. Beginning September first, I will spend my autumn immersed once more in the dark and dangerous, romantic and indulgent world of Lestat, Armand, and you know, the other ones. My plan is to remain in the world of these creatures until I read the final words in the new chronicle, Prince Lestat, due out on October 28.
It’s true that I also said I would re-read all of Stephen King, and I have yet to re-conquer The Stand. But I still say I will get there. I want to rejoin with what made these stories and their worlds so real to me, what made them work for me and millions of others. And what didn’t work.
Perhaps I will find that none of it works for me anymore. If so, so be it.
If you need me, I’ll be in the shadows.