Author's Note: For some time, I've been hanging unto this unpublished article from my Journalism class. For some reason, many newspapers never showed any inkling of interest within this article. Since, I don't think it deserves to remain hidden after all the effort put into it; I've decided to publish it here on my blog. For people who have not visited Anne Rice's page before, click the picture of Anne Rice above to access her infamous Facebook page!
Anne Rice’s Facebook Social ClubAuthors are often depicted as disheveled hermits who are homebound and withdrawn. They are stereotypically aloof. Best-selling authors rarely converse with common people.
Anne Rice is different. The author of the legendary hit “Interview with the Vampire,” loves interacting with her legion of mere mortals who adore her work. By nature, Anne Rice is an audacious figure.
Perhaps it should be no surprise than that Anne Rice publicly criticized the casting of Tom Cruise as the vampire Lestat. When doing this, she took space out in a newspaper to describe her dislike for the casting choice. After seeing a rough cut of the film, directed by Neil Jordan, Anne Rice changed her original feelings after being “thoroughly impressed with Tom Cruise’s wonderful performance.”
Recently, Anne Rice has found herself back in the media’s spot light after leaving Catholicism, her childhood religion. This news came two years after the publication of her memoir Called Out of Darkness where she sentimentally described her return to Catholicism.
Before this news reached popular news outlets, the message that announced this decision was posted as a status on her Facebook page. Anne Rice then had no idea that this Facebook status would spawn the attention it earned. Newspapers from all reaches of the globe were printing the story a little time after Anne Rice posted the status.
Her openness with fans though has been a large part of her appeal. In the nineties, it was not altogether abnormal for her to hold huge celebrations upon the release of a recent novel.
For example, when “Menmoch the Devil,” was published, Anne Rice transformed a small part of New Orleans into a mini Mardi gras celebration. She titled this celebration “Menmoch Ball,” after the demon that Lestat, the vampire, encounters within the novel.
Before Anne Rice entered the venue, she was carried in a casket and followed by a jazz band. The whole shebang celebrated the omnipresent New Orleans atmosphere of her novels and the macabre elements as well.
Now Anne Rice has grown weary of these celebrations due to diabetes. Therefore, she greatly limits her travels. Facebook though has allowed her to maintain that contact without the strain of traveling.
On Facebook, Anne Rice can easily communicate with fans without worries of travel restrictions. Easily, a person from some far-away country like Greece could interact with her in seconds.
Upon her page, fans commonly sprinkle her wall with general questions about her books, movie or novel suggestions, and interesting news articles. Anne Rice often will respond to some of these posts in a matter of minutes. Sometimes, she even shares these links or recommendations.
Mainly Anne Rice posts her thoughts or opinions on the Facebook page. Sometimes these thoughts have film or book suggestions. Or, she includes her opinion on a recent news article that particularly resonated with her.
“I’ve always been an obsessive person with a need to talk about my obsessions. I can go on my page and ask about the definition of conscience, and find myself in a fabulous discussion of what this means to others,” Rice commented
Similarly to the way Anne Rice treated her fans as friends within the past. Anne Rice identifies her Facebook fans as “people of the page.” With nearly every post, she tries to persuade all of these individuals to participate.
Within the past year, this receptiveness with her fans has caused the number of page fans to reach nearly 176,000 members. Not all of these members are fans of her novel. They are fans of both her honesty and authenticity.
“She is very honest with who she is, what she stands for, and what she will not stand for,” said Glenn Wood, a “person of the page.”
This brutal honesty may appear unexpected. But, this older Anne Rice is the same individual who had no reservations about responding to negative opinions of her book, “Blood Canticle.”
Back in 2004, Anne Rice wrote a lengthy response to fans who wrote scathing reviews ofthe final installment of her series, the Vampire Chronicles. She did not necessarily respond to their dislike. Instead, she was responding to unsubstantiated opinions. In her belief, all reviews should be substantive to some extent.
Recently, these unsubstantiated remarks about her have sprung up on Facebook. Her audacity often provokes some of her critics to respond either on blogs or on her page.
Christopher Rice, Anne Rice’s son and fellow writer, sometimes worries about his mother’s safety due to her forthrightness. “I've always been concerned about someone unstable trying to do her harm. It's something that's pained me my entire life,” said Christopher Rice.
Even with this familial concern, Christopher Rice does believe that the atmosphere on his mother’s page is very civil.
Anne Rice does not feel inhibited by the presence of these negative opinions. “I’m close to 70 years old. I trust myself. Some people are much more tentative and cautious. They aren’t willing to expose themselves and perhaps they shouldn’t,” said Rice.
At this point in time, Anne Rice is busy working on a new novel about immortals who will not kill in order to survive. She hopes to involve some of her new thoughts and questions about Christianity within the novel.
As to whether the Facebook page deprives her of time to write, her son feels that his mother could become Margaret Mitchell, the author of Gone with the Wind, who never wrote another novel due to trying to answer every piece of fan mail.
Anne Rice does not feel troubled by this concern. Instead, she feels that her interaction with fans on Facebook has been very inspiring. “I can share reviews of books, good and bad, and learn from the comments. One perspective will be balanced by another,” said Rice.