How acclaimed ‘Vampire’ novelist Anne Rice’s passion for writing began in North Texas
Much of the late Anne Rice’s literary successes occurred in her thirties, but her influences in writing began during her early years in New Orleans and during her teenage years in North Texas.
Rice, the Gothic novelist best known for Interview with the vampire and its after-effects, died Sunday of complications from a stroke. She was 80 years old.
Nineteen years before her bestseller, Rice arrived in Richardson from New Orleans in 1957, a year after the death of her mother, Katherine, and her father, Howard, took a job with the U.S. Postal Service. in Dallas.
Rice grew up in New Orleans, where many of her novels are set. She wrote plays about ghostly images, and she and her three sisters played them for each other.
At 15, his passion for writing continued in Texas.
Her stepmother, Dorothy Van Bever O’Brien, bought Rice a noisy black portable typewriter at a thrift store in Dallas. In Richardson High School, Rice began writing as an editor for the student newspaper. She then took writing classes at Texas Woman’s University in Denton.
Her work as a novelist flourished when she moved to San Francisco while in college. But she has mentioned several times that her experience in Texas was positive during a formative era.
In 1991, the old Dallas Morning News Senior editor Joyce Sáenz Harris traveled to the Garden District in New Orleans to interview Rice for a cover story on the Sunday arts.
Rice told Harris that she felt “a sense of rupture” when she left New Orleans.
“But I really enjoyed Richardson,” Rice said at the time. “Richardson was truly America; New Orleans is not. It was like stepping into the television set and being in the world of Father knows best. It was brand new and everyone lived in three bedroom brick houses with carpeted floors and trash cans.
Rice’s younger siblings attended Catholic School in St. Paul’s Parish in Richardson, “but it was high school and I was too old,” she said. The news in 2008. “To go to Catholic school, I would have had to go to Dallas, and it was beyond my family’s means.
Dallas left an impression on Rice, however.
“Dallas is so invented that it always feels like you’re in a theme park. It’s like something that has been created, ”she said. “He doesn’t have the same kind of character as Chicago or New York or even Milwaukee. I love it, however. It has always been good for me.
Harris, who is now a Dallas-based freelance writer, said Rice had talked a lot about her teenage years in Texas because it was there that she met her husband, the poet Stan Rice, who was the editor in head of the Richardson High newspaper.
“I don’t think she felt like she was fitting in well in Texas, and she had just lost her mother recently – but meeting Stan made up for a lot of other things,” Harris said Monday.
Rice said Stan was a year younger and “we didn’t really go out until the following summer. But we were very close and I was absolutely fascinated by him. I thought he was the cutest thing I had ever laid eyes on.
After Rice left for college, she and Stan went out with others. She was working and going to class, but couldn’t make ends meet as a waitress at 60 cents an hour in Denton. According to his memoirs of 2010, Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession, she recalled that her literary ambitions were not exactly encouraged at university. She wrote that an English teacher told the class that there was not much to expect beyond “decent sentences”.
“I hated the very idea of assuming mediocrity,” Rice wrote. “I barely got by. “
In a 2008 interview, Rice said she began to lose her Catholic faith as a student at Texas Woman’s University.
“I wanted to read all the existential writers, to find out what the big world was like, and I just fell in love,” she said. “I made the mistake of thinking that God couldn’t exist if there was this big world out there that I had to find out on my own that I hadn’t been told about.”
She moved to the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco to continue her education.
“Stan, meanwhile, came to see Denton, realized that I was gone and realized that I was very important to him – like a blinking light bulb – and started writing to me. And in the summer, we were madly in love and were planning to get married, ”she told Harris.
Anne and Stan were married in 1961 by a justice of the peace from Denton. They stayed a semester and headed to San Francisco to work and study. Rice received a political science degree from San Francisco State University.
“They were an extremely dedicated couple who went through a terrible trauma (in 1972) when their baby girl (5 years old) Michele passed away,” said Harris. Michèle Rose died of leukemia.
Harris still remembers Rice’s home in the Garden District and how it has been beautifully preserved, restored and maintained. Harris’ Rice Profile brought readers up to date with Rice’s cult following after Interview with the vampire makes her an instant celebrity.
“Anne spoke very intensely when you put her in conversation, but once the interview was over she retired to her usual privacy,” Harris said.
“I had seen the crowds of fans waiting for her to sign their books at Taylor’s Books here, and thought that as much as she loved and appreciated her readers deeply, she must surely be feeling a little emotionally drained after being in. public display. “