On Monday, February 13, Toronto was graced with author royalty as Anne Rice made her first visit to Toronto in about 10 years.
I met up with Wendy (A Cupcake and a Latte), Christa (Hooked on Books) and Andrea (Cozy Up With a Good Read) for the event – and saw Lindsey (from Random House), Gwenyth (Rants ‘n Scribbles) and Jen (Rayment’s Readings, Rants & Ramblings) while there as well. We got there just before 5:30, and there was already about 20 people in line, and a large (steadily-growing) separate line for rush seats since the event was sold out. As we were let into the auditorium, there was quite a line-up behind us. Being early paid off, as we managed to get 4th row seats!
There was a cash bar reception from 6-7pm, and a side table where attendees could purchase a copy of her new book. I debated on it, at a whopping $31, but I just had to buy a copy to get signed! (There was also confusion as to the signing protocol, as the sign said Anne Rice would be signing The Wolf Gift + 2 backlist books – many were unsure if she would sign the other books if we didn’t have the new one).
Chatting with CBC’s Mary Hynes at the Appel Salon (located in the Toronto Reference Library), Anne spoke about her new book, as well as discussed many other topics ranging from her being the “Queen of Facebook” to other political, philosophical, & personal observations and thoughts. She discussed how she quit Christianity, after growing up in that faith for so long. A poignant, well-said quote that stirred up a lot of controversy and support alike.
In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.
She spoke about how she loves the show White Collar, and insists that we all must watch it. That the main character in The Wolf Gift, Reuben, is inspired by Matt Bomer of White Collar. (Side note: If Reuben looks like Matt Bomer in that IMDB picture? Yum!) She’s the “Queen of Facebook” because of how open and honest her Facebook page is – welcoming all kinds of dialogue and discussion (except for trolls). Addressing the online world, Anne said how before we had the internet writing was a very isolated thing. If you get a good or bad review in certain cities, it’s localized in those areas. Now, all the different voices on the internet are able to be heard and an author can choose whether to seek out all the good/bad reviews or not.
One of the funniest moments was when Mary asks Anne’s take on the vampires that sparkle. After the laughter quieted, and Anne had a good chuckle, she wryly says (something to the effect of) “My vampires are jealous of the ones that can sparkle and walk around in the day.” (which was met with more laughter) “”Yes, because if I was a vampire, what I would want to do is go back to high school.” She discussed books like Twilight or The Vampire Diaries that it’s what readers wanted to read. There was a market for it, the idea that the boy in your class was a vampire. She chose to set her Vampire Chronicles in a different time period, with her vampires more old-world & debonair.
Bah. I can’t re-tell it properly. Thank goodness Wendy taped it!
(Youtube video courtesy of Wendy)
There were then a smattering of people lined up to ask her questions, and when asked about her late sister Alice Borchardt, also a noted author who penned a series of werewolf books, Anne said she never read them because their writing styles were quite similar and she didn’t want to be influenced by Alice’s writing – which was why she stayed away from writing about wolves until now.
Shortly after 8:30, the interview and Q&A concluded and the long line-up began for the book signing that was taking place at the back of the room. Anne wasn’t posing for individual pictures, but we were free to take pictures while in line. Surprisingly, with all the books and all the people (and us being about 1/3 of the way back), it really didn’t take too long to get to the front… only about 20 minutes.
Mary Hynes was a fantastic interviewer, very candid and engaging with such a welcoming air about her. I really enjoyed her interview with Anne Rice, which felt more like a casual conversation than any type of formal interview.
One quote (among many) that Anne said at one point during her interview stuck with me:
“Write the book of your dreams.
Write the book you want to read.”
I will sign off on my recap with some of the pictures I took!