Anne Rice, the prolific and beloved author of gothic novels, most famous for her 1976 debut Interview with the Vampire and its sequels, died on Sunday in Rancho Mirage, California, from complications from a stroke. She was 80. Rice’s son, the author Christopher Rice, posted the news on her Facebook page.
“As my mother, her support for me was unconditional,” he wrote. “[S]he taught me to embrace my dreams, reject conformity and challenge the dark voices of fear and self-doubt. As a writer, she taught me to defy genre boundaries and surrender to my obsessive passions. . . . Let us take comfort in the shared hope that Anne is now experiencing firsthand the glorious answers to many great spiritual and cosmic questions, the quest for which defined her life and career.”
Though best known for The Vampire Chronicles—which are often credited with revitalizing the entire vampire genre, and spurring its ongoing cultural popularity—Rice also wrote historical novels, Christian literature, and erotic literature, including, as A.N. Roquelaure, the popular Sleeping Beauty novels.
“What matters to me is that people know that my books are serious and that they are meant to make a difference and that they are meant to be literature,” she told the New York Times in 1990. “Whether that’s stupid or pretentious-sounding, I don’t care. They are meant to be in those backpacks on the Berkeley campus, along with Castaneda and Tolstoy and anybody else. When I get dismissed as a ‘pop’ writer I go crazy.”
It’s safe to say that her legacy will be large enough to include both.