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Prism of The Night

PRISM OF THE NIGHT - A BIOGRAPHY OF ANNE RICE. New York: Dutton, 1991. First Edition. 6 X 9. Hard Cover. Remainder. Fine / Fine. ISBN: 0525933700. Why I Wrote a Biography of Anne Rice by Katherine Ramsland (Published in The Overlook Connection Catalog #15, 1991) First, I'd like to say that I was rather naive when I decided to approach Anne about writing her biography. I figured that someone ought to write it, so why not me? I'd already written one book and had credentials in psychology and literary interpretation. Only after I had committed myself to writing it within a year did I find out that most biographers spend five to ten years working on their books. So the question really was, how hard can it be to squeeze five years of work into one? the answer should be obvious. Nevertheless, I'd do it again. I first approached Anne after reading her third Vampire Chronicle, The Queen of the Damned. I was impressed by how she had addressed philosophical themes in a way that echoed Camus, Conrad, and Sartre. I wondered what her background was, and whether she had consciously constructed her fiction around literary writers or had developed the themes in her own way in synchronicity with them. I knew it would enhance my own reading pleasure to find out. I also noticed that everywhere I went with the novel, people approached and expressed interest not only in how far I'd read or who my favorite character was, but also in Anne, herself. I thought that was unusual. Oftentimes, people read a novel and can't even recall the author's name. The interest in Anne was clear. So I decided to give her a call. She was friendly and flattered, but reserved. I told her I'd write a proposal for her to see. Just as I finished it, she called to say that people had advised her not to cooperate, that her time was valuable and no one had ever heard of me. I said, 'Okay, but I do have the proposal written. How about just taking a look at it?" She agreed, and the result was my book about her life and work, Prism of the Night. As I had suspected, the more I found out about Anne, the more eager I was to go back to her fiction again and again to see how the metaphors blossomed. Her inner life was a rich panorama of experiences and images that infused her novels with psychological and literary depth. I began teaching the Vampire Chronicles in my philosophy courses and watched students grow more and more enthused about the ideas and the style of Anne's writing. At no time did I ever doubt my vision for this biography. In fact, the finished product went well beyond the original proposal, thanks to the complementary vision of my editor at NAL, John Silbersack. There were people who predicted to Anne that I'd never write it. Fortunately, she decided to take a wait-and-see attitude, and was willing to answer questions and write a general letter of introduction to her friends. There were people who told me she was too young or not famous enough. Some editors even said she had to be dead before they'd be interested in a biography (which became a joke in Anne's family). I ignored all but those who encouraged me. And now I have an elegantly-packaged hardcover book that has been critically-received and is selling very well. Even better, I have a friend, Anne Rice. She is thrilled with what I've done, and has called several times to tell me. So the moral is, if you have a vision, go for it.

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