Anne Rice's novels include Interview With the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, The Queen of the Damned, and the forthcoming werewolf novel The Wolf Gift.
From her Q & A with Marlow Stern at The Daily Beast:
How did you develop your set of vampire “rules,” so to speak?--Marshal Zeringue
I went along with what I inherited from Hollywood—that vampires burn up in the sun. I didn’t know that wasn’t part of the original Dracula. And the rest I sort of made up. I thought if they responded hysterically to garlic or crucifixes, that was not as interesting as their being nihilistic and atheistic, and not having a “magical” response to something but having definite limitations and rules.
So what’s your take on the Twilight series? It really does seem to go against the grain in its depiction of vampires.
I think the concept is so rich in itself. It’s like the concept of the cowboy or the detective. Vampires have become almost like a genre, like the Western. What I see happening, with writers like Charlaine Harris and Stephenie Meyer, is the domestication of the vampire. I was more interested in a powerful, Old World figure that had a lot of knowledge, experience, and was surrounded by a lot of glamour and mystery. I wanted to keep the romance. I loved the idea of these people gaining wisdom as they aged, and how that might cause them to be ever more tormented by the fact that they don’t really belong in the world and they prey on human beings, who they’ve really come to appreciate. Charlaine Harris is doing something different by imagining what it’s like if vampires are legal and you have them living in your Southern town, and I think she gets a tremendous amount of energy out of that. She’s very witty—there’s a lot of satire there—and on the HBO show True Blood, there’s even a romance with Vampire Bill.
True Blood is set in your native Louisiana, and it really uses vampirism as a metaphor for outsiders, including the gay community. What are your thoughts on using vampirism as a metaphor for the disenfranchised?