I met Anne in the early 2000’s, as a young, budding writer. I remember her first website, back when the internet was still new and the potential of what it would become had yet to be realized. I recall my childhood friend, Jenny, taking me to the cinema to see Interview With The Vampire. She was madly in love with Brad Pitt, and I more indifferent than I’d like to admit. I remember how Neil Jordan’s film took me by surprise, riveted me, enchanted me. Only afterward did I learn the film was based on a book by Anne Rice, part of a decades old series that had a big following. After seeing the film, I wanted to read the book that gave it life.
On her old website, one which played baroque music on opening, Anne had listed her personal email address. In retrospect, I’m surprised at how bold I had been to fire off an email to a complete stranger. At the time, I had no idea how famous Anne was. I could never have comprehended the scale on which she was known around the world over, beloved even.
My email reflected my age and innocence. I cringe when thinking back. I enthusiastically declared my admiration for her novel and the beauty of the film. I rattled on about my own dreams of being a writer, how I found her descriptive language captivating and powerfully vivid. Although I was probably about 18 years old at the time, I told her how I’d already written my first book and would have loved to hear what she thought.
I cringe when I reminisce on my childlike naivety. Not for a single moment did it cross my mind that I was writing to Anne Rice, an accomplished writer, a woman so highly regarded she was near royalty in the literary world.
She wrote me back the next day.
It wasn’t a simple “Thank for writing, cheers!” as most celebrities do, especially given the volume of communication Anne undoubtedly received every day. She celebrated my accomplishment, asked me questions about my characters, invited me to send a few pages and explained how proud she was of me that I had been disciplined enough at such a young age to find my calling, and to follow it wherever it lead me. She was impossibly generous with her words, beyond kind, and she spoke to me, not like a stranger who had sent an unsolicited email, but like a friend. She was warm, she was…