Anne Rice is a New Orleans native but she has plenty of love for Los Angeles. “For me a capital is a place where ideas originate, and Los Angeles is a capital like Paris, London, or New York,” she says. “It’s a city with immense resources, but it’s low key about what it offers: fabulous restaurants, theaters, opera, museums. I see my romance with Los Angeles as an ongoing thing.” Maybe that’s because the 73-year-old now commutes between her two Southern California residences, Palm Desert and West Hollywood.
Rice has written 30 novels since 1976 and has several more in the works. Her latest, Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles, came out on October 28. On November 19, she’ll returns to Live Talks Los Angeles with her son Christopher Rice to discuss the writing life.
You’ve been invited to speak again at Live Talks L.A. What is the experience like for you?
I’m very passive when it comes to these things, but I do like to be interviewed on the stage. I find that a more comfortable situation. And I love taking questions from the audience. I love having the audience shape the content of what they’re going to hear. I especially enjoy appearing with my son Christopher. He’s very at ease with the public. He makes it fun to appear in front of the audience.
How do you come up with so many diverse ideas?
I was born with it. I can’t stop the ideas. It’s like having an affliction; it’s a wonderful affliction, but it’s an affliction. I don’t go out and seek ideas; they just come to me. If I’m stuck in a waiting room I’ll get ideas, I’ll start making stories. If I’m watching TV in the evening, I have trouble concentrating on what I’m watching because so many ideas are coming to me. I usually watch with my hand-written diary in my hand. I jot down ideas and I note what sparks them. I just think in terms of stories and characters and dramas.
Describe your writing process.
I write through in chronological order but because of the greatness of the computer, which we now take for granted, you can flash back and forth in your work making minor corrections and tuning things up. It was very different back in the typewriter days. I don’t go on to the next page until I think the page is finished. I like to work that way. I don’t go onto the next sentence until the last sentence is where I want it. I don’t work in rough draft. I pretend that the material is going to go out that night. So I only work in finished draft, but that works for me.