A year before this photo was taken, I was on a panel at the LA Times Festival of Books. I only had time to see one author before my event and I chose Anne Rice. She was a natural speaker, talking from the heart, with the ability to make you feel like you were in her living room, just the two of you. She said she had originally tried to write what was in vogue at the time, during the 1970s: small family stories. But it didn’t work and she realized she was only doing it because it was big at the time. Once she started writing about the unusual, the strange, the monsters, it all opened up for her. And she said that other authors had told her the same thing. Once they found their genre, they were able to take their feelings and translate them into stories.
At the time, she remembered attending the large publishing convention called ABA, which later became BEA and finally Book Expo before folding. She went to see Star Wars in a theatre across the street. And she felt the strange mismatch, noting that the mainstream public wanted to see stories like this, about the fantastic, and yet the mainstream books in that convention were not fulfilling that. Science fiction had always been published, but as a smaller niche then. She believed it was possible to bring the fantastic into the mainstream. And she did.
We’ll miss you, Anne.