Anne Rice is the iconic author of over 30 novels, including “Interview with the Vampire”, “The Vampire Lestat” and “Queen of the Damned” to name just a few of the novels in her “Vampire Chronicles”.
She is the Mother of the modern day vampire; young, hip and, in Lestat’s case, “out of the closet” when it comes to his being a vampire. Her books ooze with a sexiness and sensuality that has yet to be duplicated in any of the new vampire fiction to hit the market.
However, the desire that is apparent in her description of blood-drinking or the hunger for a life-time companion, has always been ambiguous when it comes to the male/female relationship of her vampires.
Lestat loves Louis, it is apparent in both word and deed. Louis, in his own way loves Lestat. Marius has always loved Armand and was drawn to his beauty and innocence from the moment he saw the young man.
Yet, we often see Lestat feeding off of young woman and articulating the virtues of beauty and femininity.
And, of course, there’s Gabrielle, Lestat’s Mother, though in name only. She was described by the author as cold and aloof. She loves to be by herself and doesn’t feel the way a Mother normally feels towards their children.
So, were these vampires meant to be sexually ambiguous? Did the author know she was writing what many felt were books about homosexual individuals or, at the very least, bisexual creatures?
We went to Anne Rice and asked her these questions. Here are her answers:
1). You recently discussed the fact that Louis and Lestat were the first same sex vampire couple with a child. Did you ever think of them that way before or did they just develop like that?
No I never thought of them that way. Some one asked me a question about this and I replied. I’d never go out of my way to describe them in this fashion. And I don’t see much importance to it, really.
2). A lot of people see Lestat’s Mother, Gabrielle as perhaps having to hide her real sexuality, since she was never truly Motherly and preferred being alone. What do you think?
She developed as a strong and independent character who had suffered greatly being a woman, and when she became a vampire, she emerged from the human cacoon with little or no gender identity, wanting the freedom that any male enjoyed in the 18th century, to wear simple men’s clothes and to walk through the world unmolested or unimpeded by the special laws and attitudes that circumscribed the behavior of women. She wanted a neutrality, an invisibility in a world in which women were inevitably more visible than men. She is truly not maternal and is rather cold. I have never really enjoyed writing about her. I enjoy writing about Lestat’s need for her, and his broken heart when she is cold to him and basically not particularly interested in him. I understand his great love of her, his appreciation of her strength, and his need for her which goes unmet.
3). Were any of your characters meant to be gay before you ever put them on paper?
I don’t think about gender or gender orientation when I write at all. I just write, and without my planning it, my characters often transcend gender entirely and behave as if they are bi sexual or indifferent to gender. It just happens. I don’t seek to control it or contain it. It’s a “given.” I think we writers, to be truly powerful and authentic, have to let our characters be themselves; and part of that is trusting to the subconscious and to the creative process, and letting those characters surprise us and even shock us. I almost never plan a character based on any issue; I get into the story and the characters are discovered.
4). We all know that homosexuality has been around as long as mankind, however morality has changed how we view homosexuals. How do you think Lestat and some of the other characters would feel about gay marriage, same sex adoption and the religious rights war on anyone different from themselves?
My characters don’t care about those things. They’re not concerned in the main with society or societal norms. They tend to be non conformists, rebels, people who don’t fit. They always stand up for individuality. The vampires are metaphors for the loner or outcast in each of us; Lestat is an unabashed rebel, revealing secrets, daring to covort as a vulgar rock star on a public stage; same in most of my books; my books really don’t concern societal norms.
I hope you enjoyed our little interview with Anne Rice about some of her most popular characters. If you did, please hit the subscribe button above to receive all my articles as soon as they are published.
And, for the latest book reviews, author interviews and publishing news, please visit me at the “Tampa Bay Books Examiner” page. Coming up my review of Dennis Lehane’s “Live By Night” and “Home” by Toni Morrison.
Also, look for some of my work at Vampire.com. But, more news and a link to that sight, the next time around.
Till we meet again!