Lestat Book Coven Exclusive: Anne Rice answers: “How has your Irish heritage shaped your writing?”

A LESTAT BOOK COVEN EXCLUSIVE (Click to join the most active Lestat fan club on the internet):

As I continue working on the new Anne Rice biography, tentatively titled Beauty of the Dark, I thought that it might be fun to ask Anne Rice a few additional questions, especially given how many people greatly enjoyed our last exclusive about a hypothetical wedding between the characters of Louis and Lestat.

  Today’s question will no doubt be greeted with a little less fan-fare, which is perfectly fine, as I feel that was a question bound to incite that type of enthusiasm.

The question that I asked Anne involved something that I’ve always been interested or fascinated by, which has to do with the superstitions that comprise the Irish mindset. If you’ve read any of Anne’s works, you know that she has paid homage many times to her Irish heritage in very overt ways, like the creation of the hard-working Irish man, Michael, in the Mayfair Witch Trilogy, who is descended from a long-line of Irish immigrants to the city of New Orleans.

It is the superstitions, the proclivity to discern the fantastical set against the perfectly reasonable, or rational elements of a supposed rational world that greatly contributed to the following question I asked Anne:How has your Irish heritage inspired your viewpoint of the world, how you understand coincidences in life, or just general “strange” oddities?

Just remember, that this comes directly from Anne Rice herself, so please respect the words below, as being the sole property of Anne Rice herself:

“My Irish Catholic heritage involved a number of “ideas,” superstitions,  traditions.  I don’t quite know how distinctly Irish they are.

First off my Irish relatives are all storytellers.  They dramatize when they relate.  They are gifted in this way.  Nobody in the family dies without a story to it.

   I described this with Michael Curry’s family in The Witching Hour.  Irish people in my family go out to the cemetery to talk to “Mamma” and stand over the grave and tell “Mamma” or “Daddy” a lot of things.
    My relatives tend to believe that the dead are interceding for us.  No back pain for a cousin  since Aunt Pat died and went to Heaven and interceded for the cousin.  When something good happens, that’s your grandmother looking out for you, or your deceased daughter.  They believe firmly that success on earth is influenced by the dead.
They spoke of a ghost in the old country named “Petticoat Loose.”  She could appear on the road and stop your horses.  That’s all I remember.
     They loved to spontaneously sing and sang many songs….I remember only a couple. They are detail Catholics, rosary sayers, go daily to Holy Communion, live their Catholicism. Irish people are known for morbid tales, crepe hanging, as it is called…
   “Did you know she dropped dead this morning right in the middle of the beauty parlor, just stood up to go to the dryer, and dropped dead on the floor!”   “I had a dream of Aunt X in that robe, that blue robe, and it was the very same robe she burnt up in! (later on.).
 They’ll tell these tales at wakes and funerals, with wide dreamy eyes.
    They tell long stories about family legends and history that sometimes involve highly unlikely scenarios.  One cousin searched unendingly for his lost daughter.  Some one found her in a prostitution house in Storyville because he recognized the picture of her father on her mantel. (What prostitute keeps a picture of her father on her mantel in a brothel?)
       When a cousin later found out that a daughter had had an illegitimate child and sent it out for adoption, he spent his whole life looking for that child.  He discovered this when he opened her trunk after her death and found it filled with letters all involving the search for the child.   He became a post man so he could to door to door looking for that child.(How could this possibly work????).  It’s that kind of thing.   My writing is filled with ghosts, mysterious diaries or letters disappearing,right?
    Irish people speak poetically, and when they are vicious can think of great stinging condemnations of others…. I have always said that X was constitutionally stupid!  That kind of thing.  Only when I got away from my family did I realize normal people did not go around condemning acquaintances with long stinging invasive criticisms.”
(Anne Rice, July 7,2015;Coven Exclusive)

   **If you have any questions you wish to ask Anne as part of this continued feature, please email your questions to our coven-specific email address- lestatbookcoven@gmail.com.

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