Years ago, while raising my three children and taking numerous writing courses, my reading tastes were along the lines of works by A. S. Byatt, Anne Tyler, Anna Quindlen and John Irving, just to name a few, but I had friends who couldn't stop talking about Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire. They implored me to read the book, but all I imagined was a similar Bela Lugosi character constantly threatening, "I vant to drink your blood..." and kept dismissing them. But they didn't give up so I finally, begrudgingly, relented, especially after I had heard a rumor that Sting was interested in playing Lestat de Lioncourt in the movie, and since Sting wasn't hard on the eyes, I found mentally giving his image to this character would help me digest the story. However, a few pages in, I was sold and found Lestat didn't need the help of a famous musician's likeness. I then had to hear "I told you so" more times than I care to remember from my persistent friends. I then went on to read the rest in the author's series and Lestat always felt real to me to a somewhat discomforting degree, which means the author did a beautiful job in the writing. Apparently, he is real to Ms. Rice, too, because this suave, complex being is coming back to the page in Ms. Rice's latest novel, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis, to be published on November 29th.
I am always intrigued by characters who tend to stay with us over the years and, apparently, Lestat refuses to leave Anne, who just celebrated her 75th birthday, alone. I'm fortunate enough to have an advanced reader's copy of this novel and devouring it. The author manages to juggle many fully-developed characters, and not just vampires, with an air of mystery to keep me turning the pages. The vampires I'd been familiar with prior to being introduced to Lestat lurked in dark alleyways where cobblestone streets were lit by gas lamps, and the bloodthirsty vampire would hide waiting for his next victim. However, Lestat and his ilk have kept up with the times and know how to use cell phones, computers and have access to the latest fashions. In other words, they are more relatable than vampires of yore. And if anyone would have told me when I was first a fan of these novels that I would eventually get to host Anne Rice for an event all these years later, I'd tell them they were crazy. But how fortunate I will be to do so on the day her novel will be released.
I still read the aforementioned writers, along with so many others, but I will always be so grateful that Anne has given me another opportunity to follow the adventures of this very intriguing vampire, who is much more than just a one-dimensional caricature. For some reason, though, I think I'll play Sting's Moon Over Bourbon Street for old-time sake.