Fiction writer Anne Rice, renowned for her tales of vampires and witches, has decided to dedicate her creative talent from now on to writing fictional books “only for God.”
According to the Oct. 31 issue of Newsweek, the 64-year-old author of 25 books lived a conversion in 1998 and returned to the Catholic faith, which she had left at 18. Her last book in her 10-volume best-selling vampire series, "Blood Chronicle," hit the bookstores in 2003.
"I promised," she says, "that from now on I would write only for the Lord."
Since then, Rice has not published but has been working steadily on "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt," a novel about the 7-year-old Jesus, narrated by the Christ character. The book will be released in two weeks, under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure.
Rice projects her new writing project will have three sequels. She told Newsweek that she recognizes her new style could alienate her following, but she says she sees a continuity with her old books, “whose compulsive, conscience-stricken evildoers reflect her long spiritual unease,” said Newsweek.
In preparing to write the book, Rice said, she immersed herself in Scripture, first-century history and New Testament scholarship, and watched every Biblical movie she could find.
As fiction, Rice allows herself certain liberties, giving Jesus a birth date of 11B.C., making James, his disciple, the son of Joseph by a previous marriage, situating Jesus and his family in Alexandria, and making the young Jesus study with the historian Philo of Alexandria. She has also incorporated material from the noncanonical Apocrypha.
"If I really complete the life of Christ the way I want to do it," she was quoted as saying, "then I might go on and write a new type of fiction. It won't be like the other. It'll be in a world that includes redemption."