The Wolf Gift, the newest novel from Anne Rice, the queen of supernatural stories (remember Interview with a Vampire?), hits shelves today. We spoke with the author about her influences, characters and her thoughts on the future of book publishing.
You were raised in a very strict Catholic upbringing. What influence did that have on you and your writing?
I think it influenced everything. I grew up in the ’40s and ’50s in New Orleans, which is a Catholic city.
I was in a Catholic parish, going to a Catholic school, in a world where everybody went to a Catholic school, and we had beautiful churches all over New Orleans, and all of that ended up influencing my work tremendously.
I had lots of church, of course, before I wrote Interview with the Vampire, but Interview with the Vampire was a lot of that, grieving for that, grieving for that lost sense of being involved in a meaningful community.
It’s kind of natural, I think, for someone who grew up like that to write about European-American characters, like Louis was a French plantation owner living in Louisiana.
Did your background influence The Wolf Gift?
I think it’s a synthesis of where I’ve just been and what I’ve gone back to. For 12 years, I attempted to be a Christian again – I went back to the church and for 12 years I really lived it, breathed it, wrote two books about Jesus that provided me with one of the greatest experiences in my career. And I’ve
left that, I’ve publically left religion, and I’m back again with the classic monsters of horror, but I think the work is really synthesizing.
It’s really pulling together a lot of what I’ve learned during those Christian years and it feels to me different from the older vampire novels.
First of all, it’s very contemporary: Reuben is young and living in San Francisco right now and I had confidence to present him in this contemporary world that I kind of lacked years ago.
I heard you got the idea for this book from the producer of the TV show White Collar.
That is true.
I emailed Jeff Eastin because I’m a big fan of the show. I just think it’s one of the most fresh and clever shows on TV.
We have an email friendship going and he said something about it in an email. He said that he’d watched a documentary on werewolves and something about if I ever wanted to do a werewolf novel, he would buy buckets of it, and it was just a casual thing and I got to thinking, Wow.
Most of the time when people mention werewolves, I would always say: “No, I’m not going to do that. My sister’s done that and I don’t want to crowd her.”
Then I got to thinking, “Well, Alice has been gone since 2007, I miss her terribly, but maybe it’s OK now, five years later, to write about werewolves. Maybe it’s alright; I wouldn’t encroach on anything she’s done.”
And I read that you based the main character of this book on the star of White Collar, Matt Bomer. Have you ever met him?
Does he know he’s inspired a character in your book?
I don’t know. I should send him a copy! Jeff knows; he’s read The Wolf Gift. I just acknowledge Matt as the physical model. You know, Matt’s voice, Matt’s eyes.
He is a beautiful man.
Well, yeah, he is. You know, I didn’t even plan it. I just kept seeing and hearing Reuben as Matt Bomer. If they were to make a movie and Matt Bomer were to step into that role, I would be absolutely thrilled.