Interview with Anne Rice 2

This just added: Beliefnet has a discussion group about Anne Rice.

Recently I read Anne Rice’s new memoir, I reviewed it on this blog (part one, part two), and Beliefnet found a way for us to get in contact with Anne to interview her for this blog. Her memoir is called Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession
Here is the second set of questions I asked Anne:

The tell-tale sign of conversion is the re-working or re-imagining of one’s autobiography, or one’s personal story. You have all the marks of conversion – in fact, you have re-shaped your understanding of what your novels were ultimately seeking even though you admit you might not have known such things when you were writing them. Now my question: Why do you say your conversion is not being “born again”? Isn’t a theme of your rediscovery of your faith a new lease on life or a new life for you?

Catholics don’t tend to use the expression “born again.”  I
think that my return in 1998 was too unemotional to be called a “born
again” experience, though in 2002, when I decided to write only for
Christ, that was an intense emotional moment and a “born again” moment.
 I was certainly born again at that time as a Christian writer, and
only now some 6 years later am I realizing that I am born again to an
entirely new literary world.  Not only does my writing emcompass the
Christ the Lord series, of the utmost importance; but I am also writing
Songs of the Seraphim, a series of metaphysical thrillers about angels
and their activity with humans on Earth.  I see a whole spectrum of
Christian novel possibilities before me: Christmas novels, novels about
the early Christians, and other possibilities yet unimagined.  —- I
am born again. There seems no doubt of it.  The change after 2002 was
total and pervasive and dramatic.  Before that time, though I was going
to church, I was learning more and more every week about my religion
and what it was asking of me.  I was in an interim stage. I’d
returned, yes, but I did not know yet what Christ was asking of me
personally, and that came to be that I write for Him, and also that I
seek to understand His Gospels much more deeply and completely than
ever before, and that I seek to live by them. 

What are the day-to-day differences in your life now that you are writing exclusively for God?

Living by them. The day to day differences in my life now that
I am writing for the Lord are that I am consumed only with research and
other fiction that will be of help to me with this vocation.  I simply
give no time to other themes.  —-  I consecrate each day to Christ, I
try to remind myself to love each and every person I encounter, to hurt
no one, to embrace all, and to use my imagination for novels which
will reflect and even put forth my Christian principles and beliefs.
 —-  The Christ the Lord series has demanded intense and sustained
gospel study which has been a joy.  On planes, I’ve carried my small
leather bound bible everywhere, reading books in it over and over
again, and seeking to really learn how the Old Testament and the New
Testament connect.  —- And in Songs of the Seraphim I am facing the
challenge of making “an entertainment series” completely and wholly
Christian.  I’m using adventure, suspense, storytelling, historical
settings of different periods, all in shaping books that are
nevertheless completely dedicated to Christ and in their own way about
living for Christ. My hero, Toby O’Dare, has his own consecration and
it is part of the books.  Right now I have a secret subtitle for them,
“The Toby O’Dare mysteries.”  But Songs of the Seraphim is really the
name of the series.  The first, Angel Time, will be published in
October of 2009. —— VERY IMPORTANT PART OF THE ANSWER:  Another
important point about day to day life: to love one’s enemies, to really
put this into practice, I think, does turn one’s life around.  One
cannot be careless and unpleasant in speech; one can’t hate competitors
or reviewers; one can’t flash in anger as those around one.  One truly
has to live for Christ and seek to implement what He said in the Sermon
on the Mount.  It is a discipline but a lovely one, and a beautiful
one.  And I’m convinced that if we can all do it, we can bring the
Kingdom of God to Earth. I think Jesus gave us the blue print for the
Kingdom of Heaven on earth in the Gospel of Matthew. 
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  • Peggy

    Thanks for these two “interview” posts. Anne is such a gracious woman. I blogged about her Christ the Lord books and she was kind enough to leave me a lovely comment. She is really taking this discipline to every aspect of her life–humbly obedient. Would that this would catch on more, eh? “…if we can all do it” indeed!
    I look forward to reading more of her works…and I’ll have to try to pick up her memoir….

  • T

    Amen to the post and to Peggy’s comment; thanks to Scot and to Anne for having this graceful and challenging conversation with us.

  • M

    A fitting two posts for Advent.
    I never tire of hearing these conversion and life transformation stories. Thank you, Scot for posting these.

  • BeckyR

    I don’t know the content of Rice’s Christ books so I may be wrong in what I’m hearing her say. But it sounds like she has bought into the notion that to be a christian artist means to portray Jesus, or the good part of a christian life. I’m a visual artist and have learned for close to 30 yrs what it means to be a christian and an artist. At first I thought I had to portray the beautiful of the christian life, or push Jesus in my work. It was freeing when I learned I can portray all of a christian’s life – the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly etc. That meant I could, for example, draw pictures of plants just to draw pictures of plants, not to push a message through my art. And when I draw a person it’s not to show the grandeur of being an image bearer, I’m merely trying to draw a good picture of a person. I would like to see Rice write good entertaining books in their own right, not feel compelled to include christian virtues in thinking that’s what it means to be a christian writer. As I said, I don’t know her books so maybe I’m wrong in my assumptions here.

  • Your Name

    Thanks Scott. I “discovered” Anne the Christian writer in her Jesus trilogy, as I had not read any of her earlier work. I love what she does in those novels. They open the cultural context and make Jesus’ humanity so real and accessable without detracting from his divinity or contradicting the Biblical records. I’ll look forward to the “Songs” novels.
    Becky R. (#4). I’m speulating here, but I doubt that Anne is hung up in the way you’re thinking. I think she had a special epiphany, a special calling from God, to “write only for Christ” as she puts it. As you read in the interview she likens it to being born-again. I don’t think she would try to impose that on other Christian artists. In fact I will wager that her new “Christian” fiction will be very realistic and true to life with multi-deminsional and complex characters who reflect the sturggles that everyone experiences.