In late 2005, novelist Anne Rice stopped by BustedHalo’s® offices in New York to promote her book Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt, the first installment in her planned four-part “autobiography” of Jesus. What was supposed to be a brief interview with the legendary author—who has sold more than 100 million books worldwide—turned into a wide-ranging, hour-long discussion of her career and her re-discovered Catholic faith.
Her second book in the series Christ the Lord, The Road to Cana, picks up Jesus’ life in Nazareth at age 30 just before he begins his public ministry. Like its predecessor, The Road to Cana eschews the lush style that marked Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series for a far more spare prose. There is a simplicity to Rice’s Jesus that will beentirely recognizable to anyone familiar with the Gospels. This is, of course, Rice’s intention.
Though she has filled in details of Jesus’ life that aren’t found in any of the Gospels—including frustrations with his “brothers” in the family’s carpentry trade, and the pressure to take a young woman named Avigail as his wife—Rice’s Christ the Lord books are ultimately deeply devotional works that testify to the strength and scriptural orthodoxy of her faith.
Rice, who is 66 and suffers from diabetes, no longer does promotional book tours. So, with the March 4th release of The Road to Cana the author invited BustedHalo® editor-in-chief, Bill McGarvey to interview her at her home in the desert near Palm Springs, California.
The following video segments are excerpted from an hour-long interview in which Rice once again spoke on a wide variety of subjects ranging from sexuality and the Catholic imagination to the possibility of a Christian Vampire novel and her outspoken support of Hillary Clinton.
The interview is broken into 10 different pieces that BustedHalo® can be seen above.
(Special thanks to Sue Tebbe and Becket Ghioto for all their assistance.)
TOPICS DISCUSSED in Part 1: Discussion of research for the new book. Taking the Bible completely seriously as a writer. Jesus loneliness & love of Avigail. Taking on the DaVinci Code. Trying to write an exciting novel about a character who is sinless, celibate and didn’t marry. Is the US a Post-Christian nation?
[Originally published Sep 14, 2008.]
View other parts to this series:
Part 1: Jesus’ Loneliness & Love & The Da Vinci Code
TOPICS DISCUSSED: Discussion of research for the new book. Taking the Bible completely seriously as a writer. Jesus loneliness & love of Avigail. Taking on the DaVinci Code. Trying to write an exciting novel about a character who is sinless, celibate and didn’t marry. Is the US a Post-Christian nation?
Part 2: Religious Obsession & The Virgin Mary
TOPICS DISCUSSED: American religiosity, the struggle to write a novel about Jesus that is both compelling and Biblically faithful. The perpetual virginity of Mary. Her theological conservatism and her disagreements with some skeptical critics.
Part 3: Disagreement With & Dependence Upon Scholars
TOPICS DISCUSSED: Controversies surrounding John’s Gospel and her interactions with scripture scholars.
Part 4: Beauty, Artifice, Sensuality & Faith
TOPICS DISCUSSED: Connecting directly with her longtime readers via the web. The continuity between her Vampire books and her Christ the Lord series. Love of beauty, artifice and sensuality in the Vampire Chronicles and her Catholic faith. The Catholic artistic tradition. Being a Christ haunted writer. The Eucharistic symbol of blood in her Vampire books.
Part 5: The Christian Story of Lestat & The Role of Women & Gays
TOPICS DISCUSSED IN PART 5: On the possibility of revisiting Lestat and bringing her vampires into a Christian context. How is her life different since coming back to faith and the Catholic Church? Loving her enemies and neighbors. Christians persecuting other Christians. The role of women and gay people in the Church. Her son Christopher’s activism for gay rights. Homosexuality in Jesus’ day.
Part 6: A Memoir, a “Tragic Mistake,” & a Regret
TOPICS DISCUSSED IN PART 6: Her spiritual memoir “Called out of Darkness” to be published in the fall of 2008. The pain of looking back on her catholic upbringing. Losing her faith at 18. Advice to young seekers. How did her conversion happen? Her regrets. Talking to God.
Part 7: How Her Son Saved Her Life & Sobriety
TOPICS DISCUSSED IN PART 7: How her son saved her life and the difference between her public image and her day to day life.
Part 8: Catholic Imagination & Controversies
TOPICS DISCUSSED IN PART 8: The Catholic imagination. What is Christian art? Protestant resistance to a novel about Jesus. The long tradition of art and sensuality in Catholicism. The politics of organized religion.
Part 9: Supporting Hillary Clinton & Being a Pro-Life Catholic Democrat
TOPICS DISCUSSED IN PART 9: Her support of Hillary Clinton. On the issue of abortion and being a “committed, old-guard social justice Catholic Democrat” in 2008.
Part 10: Books & Collected Artwork
Author Anne Rice gives BustedHalo editor-in-chief Bill McGarvey a brief tour of some of the religious art in her home as well as paintings by her late husband Stan Rice.