Anne Rice is a hugely popular New Orleans-based writer best known for her 'vampire chronicles', beginning with Interview with the Vampire (1975) and continuing through to the most recent novel to date, Blood Canticle (2003) - reportedly the last in the series. With other horror-romance novels such as 'The Lives of the Mayfair Witches' series (The Witching Hour , Lasher , Taltos ), the Egyptian romp The Mummy (1989) and the eighteenth century Venetian novel about male castrati opera singers, Cry to Heaven (1990), she has published 26 books so far - including two under the pseudonym of Anne Rampling and three 'Beauty' novels (her trilogy of literary S&M erotica) under the pseudonym of A.N. Roquelaure. Her 'vampire chronicles' introduced the character Lestat, a powerful, charismatic vampire with whom both Rice and her fans have a special, intimate relationship. This chapter looks at the behaviour - the cultural practices - of this popular writer in relation to the film of her first novel, her first movie adaptation: Interview with the Vampire was released as a film at the end of 1994, directed by Neil Jordan and starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. It will then examine Rice's profile as a writer who relates both endearingly and antagonistically with her fan communities, struggling with them in recent years in particular over the 'possession' of Lestat. I shall use Anne Rice as a case study of how the writer might function in 'the field of cultural production', since she operates, like so many writers of popular fiction, at a kind of cultural crossroads where her role as a novelist intersects with the world of film-makers and actors, her fans, and various interested media, as well as commercial interests.
Rice is a writer of popular fiction, but when her first novel was being filmed and when fans were laying claim to her vampire character Lestat, she responded by relating to that character as an author. Indeed, it is precisely when her work is claimed and adapted by others - at the moment when one might expect a writer to lose some of her authorial control - that Rice seemed to be more in possession of her fiction than ever. We might say