2/27/2008

Lestat Lives, says Anne Rice!

Posted by Sue Dent in Cyn's account because her stinkin' account keeps transliterating.

Lestat Lives, says Anne Rice!
(Here's an a blog I put up at shoutlife. I'll post it then change the emphasis. You'll see.)

Since I'll be taking things out of context, I've posted a link to the article and now some thoughts from me!
www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1716849,00.html?cnn=yes

---"One more book." Those are the words Anne Rice fans have been dying to hear about the Vampire Chronicles ever since her shocking and dismaying to many of his followers turn to religious writing.---

---While Rice justifies her decision by saying the book will have a definite Christian framework and a focus on the theme of redemption, she admits that the future chronicle will once again involve the character Lestat and a fictional organization known as the Talamaska that is responsible for investigating the supernatural.---

Two very significant things to point out about this and how it affects the Christian Publishing Industry.

1. Anne Rice is published by Knopf Publishing Group a branch of Random House. This publisher is not affiliated with CBA or ECPA. This means despite Mrs. Rice's claims of being a Christian and Catholic, you won't find her books in most Christian Bookstores because most Christian Bookstores are CBA/ECPA affiliated and primarily stock books published by CBA/ECPA published authors.

:0 *gasp* What a shame!

2. There's no reason to believe that Mrs. Rice will be seeking representation from a CBA/ECPA publishing house since Knopf actually published some of her older vampire work. Therefore, threre's no reason to believe that Mrs. Rice's work won't be the best dang Christian vampire story done to date.

Yes!!!! Anne brings it back around. It can be done. It has been done. And now, it will be done again--by the only one who can reeeeeeaaaly do it!!
Unrestricted, unrestrained grand Christian fiction/horror by a Christian author!
______________________________________________________________
Now for the emphasis change. When I posted this on shoulife the one thing that struck me as odd was that no one got the gist of the blog. They were all hung up on the fact that Anne Rice was a Christian and writing as a Christian.

What?

Anne Rice has been writing as a Christian (Catholic) for quite some time now. It had to be one of the most talked about conversions of the decade. Her following was huge and they made quite a bit of noise themselves. How could one not know?

And why wouldn’t her work be celebrated?! Where was everybody? God brings someone like Anne into the fold and two years later not one Christian knows. This isn’t even a genre issue. But it is an issue. IMO

Anne Rice’s publisher is Knopf. I’m not sure how they’re connected with Random House but they are. I do know how they’re not connected with Random House. As far as I can tell, they aren’t Random House’s Christian branch. They actually published some of Mrs. Rice’s vampire novels.

Okay. Since Mrs. Rice isn’t published by a CBA/ECPA affiliated publisher her Christian work most likely won’t see the inside of a CBA/ECPA affiliated bookstore. Her books still sell well though because she is who she is, a very talented lady!

I saw Mrs. Rice’s first book being talked about on a blog hosted by a CBA affiliated author. They spoke of her as though she were just someone who happened to write an interesting book they might consider reading.

This woman, as talented as she is, (you don’t get the following she got just writing vampire novels. She’s that good, on the level of Tolkien, Lewis, King.) is being tossed about as though she just walked in off the street and wrote a fine book.

I’m sickened. Anne has such a testimony and God has absolutely worked wonders to bring her to the point she is now. How sad it is that the Christian community has barely even heard of her and her turn around—even two years later.

How sad indeed.

Now she’s going to write a vampire novel with a Christian world view. I hope I don’t see CBA/ECPA affiliated houses seeing that meal ticket and jumping on board. I’m pretty sure I won’t.

Anne Rice, writing Christian Horror with a traditional publisher.

Yeah buddy!!!

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I saw Mrs. Rice’s first book being talked about on a blog hosted by a CBA affiliated author. They spoke of her as though she were just someone who happened to write an interesting book they might consider reading.

This woman... is being tossed about as though she just walked in off the street and wrote a fine book.

I’m sickened. ...How sad it is that the Christian community has barely even heard of her and her turn around—even two years later.


Why should they have heard of her? She's outside the CBA/ECPA/"Just Like Fill-in-the-Blank, Except CHRISTIAN!" event horizon, where nothing can possibly exist.

If a tree falls outside the four walls of Christian Bizarro World, does it make a Christian (TM) sound?

Sue Dent said...

Well, anonymous, the entire post was sort of tongue in cheek.

What you said just means you got it. :)

That's good. Maybe it's actually coming around. CBA/ECPA represents a niche market and just because your Christian book doesn't sit on their shelve doesn't mean it's any less Christian. All it means is that you didn't write for a niche market. :)

UtM, SherryT said...

anonymous wrote: Why should they have heard of her? She's outside the CBA/ECPA/"...event horizon, where nothing can possibly exist.

Ignorance of the world outside The Niche can run deeper. CBA readers may have only a passing familiarity with the name of a well-known non-CBA author & consequently know nothing of that author's conversion. Or, they may know nothing of the premise for the author's books.

I'm on a regional list whose members are almost exclusively readers or authors in the CBA niche market.

Quite a while back, one member asked if someone on the list could describe vampires. The person thought that they might want to include a vampire in their next story but they weren't really sure what they were. From the manner in which they intended to use the character, they -really- hadn't a clue.

Dead silence on the list, with occasional murmurs along the lines of, Sorry. I don't know, do you? Well, they're demonic, aren't they? ...

After a couple of days, I wrote a gently-told account of the rise of the vampire tradition, and ended with a short list of popular culture representations of vampires. Everyone was stunned and appalled. Nothing could be as evil as all that! Actual authors & filmmakers had created such despicable horrors for others to read about & look at? Etc.

The person who had toyed with the idea of using a vampire as a character repudiated any intention of doing so. Ew! Yuck! Let's move on.

A subculture of Christianity had voluntarily chosen complete ignorance of a facet of popular culture, and they had every intention of standng by that decision.

You all know the premise of vampirism can serve as the basis for story which can edify or create a stumbling block. (like most everything) We aren't permitted self-inflicted blindness in these matters, no matter how high our motives. We are to be as innocent as children but we are also exhorted to be wise as serpents so that we can discern good from evil. (We wanted it. We got it. We'd better use it.)

Self-inflicted ignorance works both ways. A new member of our local writing group mentioned during a review that there's no such thing as an altruistic act--even Christians do good things to earn eternal life.

Sigh.

I guess we need to write so that "we're teaching in two different directions".

Sue Dent said...

All I know is I've written a vampire/werewolf novel as a Christian and didn't have the first worry that it might not be something a Christian could read. And I've had overwhelming support from ALL Christians.

Then I learned of CBA and thought I might go there because their very name infers they are publishers for ALL Chritians. They don't tell you otherwise until you submit.

And here you are saying they have guidelines and what not (don't worry I know they do) but they'll tell you differently thus inferring that if you didn't make the cut with them then you're work must not be Christian and you should go secular.

Mrs. Rice isn't in any CBA affiliated bookstores as far as I know and her recent work has nothing to do with vampires. There's no stigma for vampires/werewovles. There's just a stigma of what the gatekeepers at CBA can fit into their niche market that they deny exist until they reject someones work.

I had to go onto Amazon to say my publisher wasn't affiliated with a niche market but because CBA has such a hold, I had to go one step further to say why.

I don't worry about CBA/ECPA taking Mrs. Rice's vampire novel. Random House will never let that happen. What I worry about is Mrs. Rice having such a phenomanal story and those who proport to represent ALL Christian authors won't touch her.

If someone knows differently, I'd love to hear. Is she in CBA/ECPA affiliated bookstores?

Andrea Graham said...

Am I the only one concerned this could be a step in the wrong direction for Ms. Rice, as from all accounts she had been convicted to hang up her vampires? If she was steeped in the kind of stuff I think she was before she came back to Christ . . . well, this would not be spiritually wise for someone once mixed up in the occult. Not really my business, though, is it?

Sue Dent said...

You're not theo only one. There was someone on shoutlife who said the exact same thing. To which I ask, am I the only one who thinks that God has had in his plans all along to have her write about vampire FANTASY from a Chistian World View?

Sounds just like something God would do, if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's actually coming around. CBA/ECPA represents a niche market and just because your Christian book doesn't sit on their shelve doesn't mean it's any less Christian. All it means is that you didn't write for a niche market. -- Sue Dent

Same Anon who led off this comment thread. (Where did the nickname comment option go?)

On a Christian Genre Writers' YahooGroup, I've always been a very vocal advocate of mainstreaming as much as you can. Not only is the market bigger, you won't be preaching to a niche-market choir (and subject to niche-market censorship).

Even "mainstreaming" to a larger niche market is better than staying in a small one.

XDPaul said...

Sue,

About ten years ago, I remember going into a CBA bookseller to buy C.S. Lewis, and they were hard-pressed! I ended up going to Waldenbooks or whatever was at the mall at the time. They had plenty.

I can't confirm it, but I'm pretty sure I would have noticed if Rice's Christ the Lord was on the shelves at the local CBA store. On the other, the independent Christian bookstore does have Rice, including some of her pre-Christian fiction books.

It is very odd, though, that some Christian book stores don't better position themselves to be the first outlet for all Christian materials.

Good rant, Sue!

Austin said...

The thing that irks me about this is that I've had a vampiric WIP for quite some time now dealing with themes of redemption, carnality and fallenness – and now someone who not only writes better than I can, but also has a FAR wider fan base is going to get her work along these lines published before I've even finished a submissable draft!

>_<

What's worse, according to half the other spec-fic authors at ChristianWriters.com, they've all got vampiric WIPs somewhere in there, too!

This could lead to the establishment of a very interesting kind of CBA sub-genre, eventually, but it upsets me that all the originality I was hoping to lay claim to is now being snatched by so many others! Curses!

:-p

Anyway, good news for both her fans and Christian spec-fic writers. Let's see if this might perhaps broaden the horizons. That would definitely be strange to see Anne Rice novels in the local Family Bookstore...

Sue Dent said...

(sorry Austin! YIKES I didn't mean to send this straight to you. I meant it to go here. :) Sorry.)

Ummmm . . . Austin might I suggest cooling it on being the first. It doesn't seem to matter who does it first. I've already written a vampire/werewolf novel with a redemption type theme, have been short-listed for a Bram Stoker award and voted book club choice of the month at the ACFW. And oddly enough, I wasn't the first!

Neither would you be even if you managed to get published before Mrs. Rice gets out there with hers, IF she gets out there with hers.

It could be the establishment of a very interesting kind of CBA sub-genre if the Christian Booksellers Association ever planned on going that way. As far as I know, they don't. They have a specific market and that's who they write for. Their content guidelines are geared toward that niche market not a sub-genre of anything else.

So I hate to break it to you, there are tons of vampire stories involving redemption written by a Christian already out there. You just won't hear CBA/ECPA talking about them because they don't serve that market.

My fingers are about to fall off from typing this same thing sooooo many times. There is no first!!!!! There's only good writing!! So write it and publish it and let's get on with it.

And oh my what a GRAND thing Mrs. Rice can do for Christian Fantasy!!!!!

Bring it Ann!!!!

XDPaul said...

Yeah, Austin, I'm pretty sure you, Sue and Anne aren't exactly going to glut the market with Christian Vampire stories!

Technically, all vampire stories are Christian ones. Some of them just have better theology than others.

Andrea Graham said...

Sue,

I'm viewing this stuff, for her, as a high place/idol she turned away from to serve Christ. You can't redeem an idol for Christ; you can only cast it down, tear it down, destroy it.

Forgive me, but I'm perceiving a spirit on this thread that is more concerned about validating their own genre choices (as if they needed validating) than the danger this *could* represent to our sister in Christ.

In Christ's Love,
Andrea Graham

Sue Dent said...

Well, everyone's entitled to their perception. I've read Anne's thoughts on the matter and am quite confident she understands exactly what she's getting into, should she get into it which she hasn't said she would yet!

If I were to make an assumption, I would say that Anne is looking for closure and I for one think she's quite capable of getting that on a very Christian level. She wants to say to all those she used to write for, "look, I can write this stuff as a Christian and it be just as good, I just choose not to."

But that's just an assumption. I don't worry one second for Anne no matter what she chooses to do. And I don't this thread is putting anyone in danger. Her conversion was an event that should've brought way more attention to the power of God than it did in the Christian community. That's what this thread is about.

As most threads, it's gone of course a little but I'll not defend validating a genre that's been squashed for far too long.

Anonymous said...

Her conversion was an event that should've brought way more attention to the power of God than it did in the Christian community. That's what this thread is about.

Which is actually an advantage for Ms Rice. This way, she's not going to burn out as The Latest Celebrity Convert.

lelia said...

World Magazine had a rather large front page article about Anne Rice somewhat over a year ago, I think, and then a smaller one a few weeks ago.

Sue Dent said...

Lelia, do you have a link. I'd love to read it! I got a response from Anne two years ago and have e-mailed her recently to wish her luck but I know Random House keeps her very busy. She was battling a cold and touring the last time I corrosponded with her.

Keith said...

So you people only really read sanitized books published by one publisher? Is you faith so weak you cannot wander into the wilderness of popular culture without fear? What good is your faith if all you read is stuff you believe in, what good is your life if not constantly examined?

BTW, I am an athiest who just wandered in here by mistake.

TWCP Authors said...

No, no, no, Keith!

That's just the point.

We who write/ publish/ read Christian speculative fiction are tired of the same-old sanitized stuff that comes from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Assoc. (ECPA) shelved in Christian Booksellers Assoc. (CBA) stores.

In fact, the kind of fiction we deal with will never end up on those shelves because it is too edgy, too gritty for the CBA demographic. If, by chance it did hit those stores, I'd be willing to bet that it wouldn't sit there for long before some customer complained about the content.

The big Christian publishers won't take a risk on the stuff these folks write. Many of them won't publish sci-fi, period.

Poor Anne Rice is shunned or just plain ignored by the Christian publishing community.

We say, good on her for getting a mainstream publisher and not sitting around bemoaning the fact that one of the big Christian houses won't take her.

Their loss.

However, it is true that the Lost Genre Guild do prefer to read speculative fiction that is respectful of the Christian worldview . . . but it is so difficult to find good stuff that the authors in the group write it themselves and are published by indie houses.

--cyn

Sue Dent said...

--So you people only really read sanitized books published by one publisher?

Thank God that's not the case. Or at least not in my case. :)

I enjoy reading about soooooo many different worldviews. I certainly don't appreciate the assumed protection that so many so called "Christian" publishers and affiliiations try to put on those of us who don't even subscribed to their worldview.

LMB said...

To the atheist...I read not 'sanitized' books, as you suggest, but books that help me keep my mind on what is good, and holy, and pure...like it says to in the Word of God.