AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTOPHER RICE

As part of my initiative to rebuild this blog, one post at a time, here is a delightful repost from October of 2014. I was honored beyond belief to have the opportunity to interview the one and only Christopher Rice, NY Times Best-Selling author and son of Anne Rice. Enjoy!

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1. What was the inspiration for your latest novel THE VINES?

I was originally inspired by a vision I had of a ruined California mission covered in these great tangles of vines, and I kept having this sense that a shaman of some sort had driven the vines to rise up and kill all the missionaries. But the idea wasn't working and I put it aside. After I published The Heavens Rise, it felt like my next novel should be set in Louisiana as well. And then the whole thing just began to unfurl.

2. How would you say that this particular new tale differentiates from your past work and what can readers expect?

This book is lean and mean and designed to be read in one or two sittings. THE HEAVENS RISE, my previous novel and my first supernatural thriller, had a slow build when it came to the otherworldly elements of the plot. In THE VINES, the supernatural makes an appearance in the second chapter and we roll out from there.

3. Can you tell us about your own progression as a writer? When did you first realize you wanted to be a storyteller and how has your approach to your craft changed over the years?

Being a writer is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder that might earn you some money. The lucky ones earn money from it, I should say. The best piece of writing advice my mother ever gave me was, "Write the book you want to read." Over the years, that's changed for me. I read different books today than I read when I was 21 years old and on the verge of publishing my first novel, A DENSITY OF SOULS....

4. What was it like growing up with such a famous literary mother, Anne Rice? How did her influence affect your approach to writing?

I mentioned that my mother gave me the writing advice to “write the book you want to read.” THE VINES is the type of book I love to read. It’s scary without being excessively gory, it’s lean, and it’s got a very strong sense of atmosphere, which is something I love in novels. And despite the intrusion of supernatural horrors, the journey of the characters takes precedence over everything else.

5. What would you say was the secret behind achieving so many accolades by the time you were just 30?

Gracious interviewers like yourself.

6. What is different in how you approach your journalism work as opposed to your work as a novelist?

I haven't done real investigative journalism. For The Dinner Party Show, we sometimes report on news events and publishing industry headlines, but we do so from an opinion/editorial point of view. Because it's talk radio, we aren't able to remove ourselves from the story the way a newspaper journalist would. We lead with our own thoughts and feelings.

7. For fun, what was it like being declared one of People’s “Sexiest Men Alive”?

At the time it happened, I had absolutely no confidence in my physical appearance whatsoever, so it was a strange, dizzying thing. I was a three pack a day smoker, a heavy drinker, and I had the physique of Jack Skellington from A NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. So it was odd, but I was very pleased.

8. For people who are unfamiliar with your work in podcasting, can you tell us about your show with Eric Shaw Quinn, “The Dinner Party Show”? How did the idea come about and what inspired you to pursue podcasting entertainment as a media?

I’ve wanted to put my best friend Eric Shaw Quinn on the radio ever since I met him, so that’s what we did. We produce new episodes every week, most of which debut live on Sunday night at 8 PM ET/ 5 PM PT, and then we repeat them continuously. We have our own dedicated stream at TheDinnerPartyShow.com. It’s a sketch comedy show with celebrity interviews. We’ve created our own special correspondents, satirical characters like Jordan Ampersand, our idiot critic-at-large, and Miss JoNell Samms, the relationship expert from the deep South who appears to have no idea she’s been married to a closeted gay man for thirty-three years. And we’ve interviewed folks like Patricia Cornwell, Kristen Johnston, Dan Savage, Chaz Bono and of course, my mother, Anne Rice.

9. How did you become involved in the West Hollywood Library Fund? Can you tell us about the work you have done alongside them for the community?

West Hollywood is the city I call home and the library is beautiful. People said strange things to us when we started building it. Why do we need a library when everyone has an iPad now? Well, for starters, everyone does not have an iPad and libraries are how communities guarantee free computer access to their residents. The average income in West Hollywood is actually $20K a year, despite the fact that Hollywood Hills mansions stare down at us from on high. The library is a vital community resource and part of West Hollywood's beautiful evolution into a 21st Century city.

10. What is most important to you and how do you incorporate these aspects into your life?

Gosh, that's a tough one. The older I get, the less interested I am in trying to force a single romantic relationship to work. I've spent so much time in my life fretting over whether or not "the one" is ever going to show up, going on endless successions of dates and then trying to force it to work with someone who clearly isn't a good fit. I'm not sure there is a "one." The concept seems adolescent to me. My best friend and co-host Eric Shaw Quinn is all about hobbies. Get a hobby to fill the time you usually spend in worry. Something that isn't results oriented. That isn't about winning a game or competition, but which occupies your mind and your hands. Being present is the great challenge. Showing up for what's right in front of you and giving it your best. It's incredibly difficult, but there are times when just the effort you expend doing so transforms your life in the best possible way.

11. Oh, that dreaded question that all interviewers ask of writers… What advice do you have for aspiring, or even established authors, trying to make a name for themselves?

Again, I think writing the kind of book you would want to read, and reading a lot are key.

12. What can your fans expect next from you?

In early November I’ll publish my first erotic romance, THE FLAME, and in early 2015 I’ll follow that with another erotic romance, THE SURRENDER GATE, set in the same paranormal universe, which is called The Desire Exchange. These books are have much more sex and romance than my previous works, and I hope that my readers will be as excited about them as I am.

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For more information on Christopher Rice and his work visit http://www.christopherricebooks.com/.

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