Anne Rice Clarifies Her Stance on the Twilight Saga

Back in early November, Anne Rice made some commentary surrounding the Twilight Saga. The reaction wasn’t quite as bad as when Stephen King commented. At the time it seemed like Anne basically wants her vampires darker.

Here’s the part we quoted from an interview in New Jersey’s Star Ledger:

“Q. It is complicated, which is why I have such mixed feelings about “Twilight.” It’s so sanitized.

A. It’s based on a really silly premise: that immortals would go to high school. It’s a failure of imagination, but at the same time, that silly premise has provided Stephenie Meyer with huge success. It’s almost like a stroke of genius to put vampires in high school. They just graduate over and over again.

Q. I hated high school.

A. Doesn’t everyone? The idea that if you are immortal you would go to high school instead of Katmandu or Paris or Venice, it’s the vampire dumbed down for kids. But it’s worked. It’s successful. It makes kids really happy.

Q. It seems those books are sanitized whereas in the rest of pop culture, you’ll see very young girls dressed in an overtly sexual manner. The vampires are wholesome compared with the rest of what’s out there.

A. I don’t think vampires are very wholesome. They’re fantasy characters, and we have to keep reminding ourselves of this. They don’t exist. I get e-mails from people who are outraged that I watch “True Blood.” They say, “How can you condone the evil of ‘True Blood.’” I say, “Are you kidding? Vampires aren’t real. Keep that in mind.”

Links to full interview here.

Well now it seems that Anne had a Skype chat with students from St. Gertrude High School in VA(which if you’re up on Anne’s love/hate relationship with the Catholic church kind of ironic) Anyway, here’s a video of that Skype chat with thoughts on movies, Jane Eyre, the immortals in high school, and Stephenie’s writing.

Via Twilight Examiner

Comments

  1. What’s funny is that Anne Rice kind of contradicts herself by stating that “we have to remind ourselves that vampires are fantasy”, and then knocks at SM by saying she dumbs down her vamps for children and makes them wholesome (like that’s outrageous or something). Twilight is Stephanie Meyer’s fantasy. It’s not supposed to be the same as Anne Rice’s characters and stories! Anne Rice does not “own” vampires! That’s why so many of us LOVE SM’s Twilight world because it is a completely original take on vampires!!! God forbid every fantasy author write the same thing about vampires in their books! The Cullen’s are more wholesome vampires becasause they are all from a different time! It’s exasperating when other authors in the fantasy genre harp on Twilight. It is what it IS, and what it is exactly meant to be!

    • I caught that too. I love Anne Rices books also. I think she is covering for some of the things she has said. Your are right about one thing! she does not own vampires or books about immortals. In fact there are alot of books about immortals that go to highschool. Just look at Claudia Grays books. lol We have to look past what some writers are saying…could there be a little jelousy about attention and that Stephenies books are selling and maybe thiers are not???

      • Yep, I agree with Regina. Besides the things that others have mentioned, she also stated that it is silly that an immortal would choose to go to high school instead of China or another exotic location, and this is the same thing that got me irritated with her comments the first time. Anne Rice does not realize that there are no rules for writing about vampires or any other subject for that matter. Is she the vampire police or something?

        Also, when she mentioned Jane Eyre & how SM may have used that “formula” when she wrote the Twilight Saga, and how genius of her to do so, I felt like inside she was kicking herself in the tush for not maybe using that “formula” herself to become a phenomenon. It’s obvious that she’s curious about the books & I think she checked them out to see what SM got right that she just couldn’t. I mean I know Ms. Rice is a famous author but I don’t think she’s reached the kind of monetary fame that SM has found with Twilight. I truly think Ms. Rice is jealous more than anything else.

        • I absolutely think Ann Rice is jealous, and I think that her “formula” comment came off as more of a jab than anything, implying that SM’s idea is unoriginal. Twilight is not Jane Eyre. And this “formula” is not as simple as she seems to think. Anyone can use a formula that simple, but it’s SM’s character development that makes her so special.

          • I think you nailed it in this post! Stephenie is great not only because of the story itself (which don’t get me wrong, I LOVE and is spectacular) but also because of her wonderful character development and the interesting way she presents ideas. She uses words in an way that captivates. The same books could have been written by a different author and been completely ordinary and not special at all. I heart SM! I have read each book at least 14 times and still find interesting new things each time I read. She is very talented, a natural story teller! Also the host showcases those talents beautifully.

        • Same here. That comment about immortals in high school got me frustrated too. Anne makes it seem like high school is so bad and people don’t want to go back. I’m not saying I would like to go to high school over and over again but I enjoyed it and if I was immortal sometimes wonder what each generation is like, so it would be interesting to go to high school. She does seem a bit jealous or curious of the fame and fortune that Steph has received because of Twilight. But I also hate that every person is asked about their thoughts on Twilight and when they do give their opinions, people only get what they want to hear.

          • Joshua L. Roberts says:

            For the one hundred thousandth time, Anne Rice is NOT jealous of Stephenie Meyer. Stop hanging on every word she says, and realize that Twilight is not the freaking Holy Grail and just like any other written work of fiction people are allowed to have their own opinions about it, without being slammed for not basking in its, “glory”…

            One of the first things you learn in Author 101 is to accept criticism. It’s a part of our world. All writers get criticized, so why should Twilight and SM be any different. OMG…

          • do they also teach you in author criticism to accept criticism for your criticism? isn’t that part of the process?

    • i think anne rice needs to remind herself vampires are fantasy–completely made up beings where there are no rules. and her saying twilight vampires are sanitized is like saying s3x scenes in movies are bad unless they’re pornographic. this woman is all screwed up in the head anyway. she’s yesterday’s news.

  2. I don’t see what people are so upset about. I don’t think she said anything negative about Twilight at all. She didn’t say “I hate it because…” or “I think it’s rubbish because…” She simply explained her perspective of the story. I don’t think calling it dumbed down is a negative comment. The story of Twilight is very simple… it’s not a complex masterpiece, and yet it’s still absolutely brilliant… in fact that’s part of the brilliancy of it.

    • Sounded like she was dissing it from lots of angles, and like Steph dumbed it down for children, I am 51, I adore these books, and she says their fantasy, but she expects them to be ‘bad’ or it doesn’t fit? I loved her characters, but I love Stephs more…They can sprout missile launchers and it would still be ok…because they are whatever a writer wants them to be. Anne is entitled to her opinion of course like everyone but it sure sounded to me as if she were not being gracious.

    • I completely agree with you. There’s nothing to be so upset about!
      She was just asked a question and she answered it, simple as that! She has the right to say what she thinks about Twilight, you know, it’s called freedom of speech!
      Anyways, I found her comparison of Twilight to Jane Eyre quite interesting.

      • We all know that SM is a huge fan of the classics – Jane Eyre being one of her favorite – Romeo & Juliet too. It’s no secret these classics that she loves so much were sort of a theme for each book in the Saga. SM never hid that fact.

        • I for one never thought of the comparison between Jane Eyre and Twilight. It’s obvious that it’s similar to Romeo and Juliet and Wuthering Heights though

    • I agree. Everyone is completely missing the point! She is saying that it does not make sense for vampires to repeat high school over and over. She has a point…if you were immortal there would be a lot more meaningful things that you could do with your existence. For those of you are still in high school, life gets a lot better after it

  3. EverythingRemindsMeofTwilight says:

    Thanks for posting the Skype chat. I had previously read her interview that you had linked to as well. I’d say that this latest statement just reinforces the fact that Anne Rice does not know the books well, which she admits since she’s never really read them. The one point that bothers me so much is still how she’s focusing on the Cullens being in high school–she obviously does not know that they have all traveled throughout the world, but that they want “roots”–stability, happiness, a sense of normalcy and security–they want human relationships(as all people do), and this separates them from every other vampire. Breaking Dawn tells it best–the bonds of love and compassion are what unite this coven of vampires and separates them from all the other vampires who don’t value anything but their own thirst.

    I could go on forever in this same vein, but suffice to say that this chat does not lesson my irritation with Anne Rice in the least.

  4. Claire Richard says:

    you’ve pretty much summed up what i wanted to say. anne rice doesn’t understand the unique and complex characteristics of the cullen family and what motivates them to make their choice to repeatedly attend high school. if you place that fact in the context of the vampires she has written, of course it’s ridiculous. her vampires are about the farthest thing away from the selfless, compassionate creatures the cullens are. this is all just her misunderstanding of the characters, i can see why she would jump to this conclusion. i think it’s interesting that she compared twilight to jane eyre, i never thought about it that way before. i don’t know why but something about the way she talks about stephenie’s writing bothers me, like she was looking for some formula to find the worldwide bestseller and once she did she used it for all it’s worth

  5. twilight dreamers says:

    Look diffrent authors, she’s trying to express what she knows about the saga, I don’t think what anne rice is saying as all bad just a tiny bit critical, like a critic. But remember how many of us have read multiple vampire books and groaned saying oh man, not this again! Its all the same! Diffrent authors are diffrent. I’m just happy there two wonderful authors like these women to put a dark or new (SM) on a wonderful story! Let’s just agree on one thing, we ALL love any kind of vampires. Remember, that why we’re here ;)

  6. I think Rice thinks she has a monopoly on vampires and she needs to be reminded of the definition of fiction.

  7. It seems to me, in a general, academic sense, that Anne Rice basically hails to the traditional horror meta-theme: Life is unpredictable, so horrifying things will occasionally come up, and you will have few (if any) options. Thus (at least in the book of hers that I read), her vampires seemed to revolve around a gay men vs. AIDS analogy, which makes sense since AIDS is certainly a horrible thing. So the key dramatic question is something along the lines of: Wow! After an illicit encounter, a horrifying infection occurs(!), and now what? Curb your desires (which Rice seems to think is essentially impossible) or cruelly infect others?

    I can see how that thematic structure would resonate with certain audiences. And that’s cool, whatever.

    Yet some folks enjoy the traditional horror meta-theme because they *want* the world to be a cruel and horrible place because then — as they suppose — it means that if/when they act cruel and horrible, well, they’re just fitting in, aren’t they?

    That is not cool, and is a key reason why many people do not find traditional horror appealing.

    However, Stephenie takes on quite a different meta-theme, the traditional romance/adventure theme: Through learning and choice, one can overcome all obstacles. She cleverly fools the reader into thinking that (1) this is a horror novel and (2) Edward must be the villain cause no one else who is remotely evil has shown up and it’s like halfway through the book (not counting Lauren). And then, (3) Bella is totally in love with Edward and he doesn’t seem to secretly want to harm her at all and… Surprise! You realize that the horror pretenses have been inverted and you’re actually reading a romance/adventure.

    So that makes Bella the hero, not just a bystander/narrator person. Which is unusual, cause typically the hero is the one being narrated about (along the lines of “Wow! She’s so heroic!”) and Bella doesn’t see anything remotely heroic about herself. Which is her internal obstacle that she must overcome.

    And that means the central analogy isn’t about sex and damnation (as is typical in vampire novels), it is inverted to be about Bella’s external obstacle: How can she remain with an immortal forever?

    Answer: To become immortal herself. Which she does, in a way that has fairly obvious symbolic meaning for her, and for us as readers. Can we finally see ourselves clearly, as Bella (eventually) does, as the immortals we were born to become?

    Thus, I think Stephenie is on a very different page than Rice. And, I’d say, a happier page as well. But if you don’t believe that such happiness is possible, well, you’re going to have some serious problems with the themes of Twilight, and I suppose Rice is a good example of that.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I love the Twilight series. But Ann is right about everything she said, in my opinion. A lot of it doesnt make sense but who cares. You just have fun with it and enjoy it.

  9. honestly i think she is lieing in this video. because she knows what she said to the person that interviewed her a few weeks ago. plus she is totally off topic and i think she knows. i know it because she is older than me. and she is a very smart women. i know that the twilight books are not telling stories about vampires in high school. if that was true then we would be having all types of vampires going into forks high school either learning or killing people. So i think ann rice needs to shut up, sorry if i hurt anyones feeeling but she is making me mad. she does not want to understand so she fakes an opinion on a video to cover what she really said in an interview magazine. i think that is just crap i believe that she is jealous because vampires back in the 90′s were not as pop clutrue as today. so she is just looking for something to complaine about

  10. I think that Ann Rice’s opinion is valid…I loved the Twilight books, but lets face it – They are Juvenile (and I don’t mean that in a bad way)…Ms Rice’s Vampire series is definitely for grownups and they are wonderful…After having read the Vampire Chronicles, I just can’t picture Ann Rice LOVING the Twilight Series…At least she’s being honest, folks…

    • I respect Ms. Rice’s opinion wholeheartedly but she can at least be honest about it & stop contradicting herself. My take: She’s just jealous, and that’s OK. If I were her, after writing about vampires for more than half my life & barely getting half the notoriety that SM (an ordinary mother of 3 who had NEVER written a book) has gotten just by writing down a dream that she had, I’d be jealous too.

    • You can’t be serious about Ann Rice being jealous of Stephanie Meyer?…. You’re joking, right???

    • Yes, SM’s vamps may be more ‘juvenile’ but these books are for the Young Adult genre. It’s definitely different from the genre Rice wrote her vampire novels in. It’s a case of apples and oranges. Also, vampires are fictional and vamp myth differs from author to author. I just finished JR Ward’s last Black Dagger Brotherhood book and her mythology differs from many typical vamp ‘laws.’ Her vamps can have children and they typically don’t feed off humans. Male and female vamps feed off of each other. That is just a small example. The good thing about writing about fantasy is that it is up to the author’s imagination.

  11. Oh, and by the way – the Vampire Chronicles were extremely popular in their day …It is not difficult to see Ann Rice’s influence on Stephanie’s books..People are entitled to their opinions and should not be critized if Twilight is not their cup of tea…

  12. i liked what she said, it was very professional. makes sense to me. not everyone needs to like twilight.

    i thought the bit about seeing the movies and thinking it was for a younger crowd (something like that) was interesting. i don’t see it that way. most people i know that like twilight are mid-20s to 40s. i’m 28. i was never much of a reader and yet for the past 2 years i have been reading the twilight books and anything twilight from fan fiction. –i mean like crazy. i read it all the time. i don’t know how it’s possible that i’m not tired of it. i’m talking addiction status here. it’s definitely my escape. i wouldn’t mind her asking me what is so intriguing to me. it doesn’t offend me.

  13. RockinRobbin says:

    Rice is entitled to her opinion, but I firmly believe that if SM modeled her vamps after Lestat or any of her characters, she would have had a hissy fit. She seems to be a bit wrapped up in something she keeps saying is ‘fantasy’ and not real. She’s made her millions, let someone else have a shot at it.

  14. Why everybody is ignoring that she said that she considers Stephenie a good writer and calls her genius? Recognizing that someone is a genius in something you wouldn’t do is not a way to be hipocrite or bashing, she is flatering Steph and comparing what she did with taking a classic and telling in on a new way. Sheeesh people not liking twilight =/= to hater or basher. People have diferent tastes. Don’t act like the ignorant haters that do hate on twilight and don’t recognize its appeal, those are indeed bad. Anne Rice rules and so Stephenie Meyer!

  15. I don’t really understand why everyone is making such a big deal out of this. Everyone has there own opinions on the books. Whether someone likes them or hates them shouldn’t matter to you. The only opinion that should truly count is your own. Not everyone has to like/ have the same opinion as you do. That’s the way the world is and certain people need to get over it if another writer/actor/anyone else doesn’t like Stephanie Meyer’s writing, because honestly there are a lot of people like that out there…

  16. I cannot comment on Anne or her books as I haven’t read them. I have seen “Interview with a Vampire” and found it to be a bit too cliched, but that was only my opinion! The reason I love Twilight is that the books were well written with a good gripping storyline and it throws out a lot of old fashioned cliches about Vampires. Even though the books are about Vampires in High School the story is actually about loyalty and finding true love against the odds. How is that “dumbed down” for anyone. I am a 39 year old Mensa member and I definately didn’t find anything dumb about these books. Stepenie is a master with words and insulting anything about her books without reading them is actually the silliest thing I have ever heard. Come on Ms. Rice I challenge you to read these books and then give an opinion! Isn’t that the MATURE way of doing things?

  17. As a few have already stated, and stated well, is the fact that Twi-hards have to realize that the Twilight Saga isn’t the Holy Bible. It isn’t their personal biography… It is a complete work of fiction and ergo… not real. If Anne Rice said she loathed the books, hated the premise, and thought the entire saga was ignorant beyond imagination, she have every single right to say that, and it shouldn’t “offend” anyone. She didn’t say that though… she merely questioned (OMG! QUESTIONED!) the saga based upon her own analysis as a writer, of whom has tapped the world of vampires/werewolves herself.

    I think many Twi-fans treat the books and its characters like they are their real best friends, and thus anyone who judges the books critically, gets attacked, as if they were judging a person’s best friend/family member, of which isn’t right. Even Nikki Reed in an interview, stated that a lot of people have a hard time separating her real self from Rose. She’s had fans even stop her and ask her, why is she so mean to “Belle” and while Nikki is always very sweet, she’s felt like saying, “I’m playing a character…they’re not real”.

    The Twilight Saga is a fictional book series. It is open for critical analysis just like any other work of literature. You don’t like what somebody says… fine. You think they’re wrong… fine. It’s life folks. Stephenie Meyer’s saga has had a phenominal success. She is going to be analysis, as she is on the pedistal right now. In case you didn’t realize it, writers are very opinionated, because they are writers. If ANYONE has a right to give a critical review of the Twilight Saga, it would be Anne Rice of whom is a critically acclaimed writer, of whom writes about the same subject matter and has been phenominally successful…at that. Give her a break.

    Many Twi-hards have proven themselves to be completely intolerant to anyone who doesn’t say SM is a goddess and her books are the greatest thing ever written. This is not only absurd, it could potentially destroy the saga itself. Don’t let the fandom ruin the saga for new fans. I’ve already seen fall out from the over obsession. Many of the fans that got me interested in the books, won’t even touch them now, nor the movies, because of some of the abrasive behavior from fellow fans.

    Twilight is “Entertainment Only”… It’s great fun, where everyone can have great fun… When it stops being that, that is when it stops being Twilight…

    • Thank you! I whole-heartedly agree with you!
      I’m almost not a fan of the series anymore because so many peaople are bat** over the whole thing, so much so that it makes me crazy. Twilight is fiction. It’s not real. The characters are not real.
      Sure, it’s fun to fantasize that one day you’ll have your own Edward or Jacob, but it’s never going to happen, and people need to realize this. There are real human beings out there, not a vampire or a werewolf waiting for you with open arms.
      Anne Rice is an amazing author, and I think it’s great that she even bothered with giving an opinion in the first place. I loved her books, I think she’s an amazing vampire writer, and I think she’s entitled to tell people what she thought of this new phenomenon.
      Stepenie Meyer is a great author too, and, in case no one noticed, Anne Rice complemented her in the vedio. Rice said she wouldn’t have done things the same way. She mentioned what she thought was a little off about the series and that’s that. No one needs to go crazy because she gave an opinion.
      Or are we all still in the 1800s where giving your opinion about something would end with you getting rocks thrown at you?

    • Um, Twilight fan have a right to criticize Anne Rice just as she has a right to criticize Twilight. Yes, we live in America and there is freedom of speech, which Ann Rice has, but she better be able to accept the “freedom of speech” backlash that comes when she bashes something a lot of people love.

    • I’m so glad that you said that. I only learned of the Twilight books some months before the first movie came out. My younger sister begged me to read them and I don’t really like giving into fandoms because of the very reason that people take it like if it is real rather than fiction. I still like the books and movies and my room still has posters on the walls but it’s embarrassing when people start thinking you are just like other fans that go to extremes for the fandom.

  18. For those belittling Anne’s career saying she’s just jealous of Steph…her Vampire Chronicles have sold 80,000 million to date compared to Steph’s 100,000 million for the Twilight Series. There’s not too big of a discrepancy there. I’d say Ms. Rice has had a very successful career and has no cause to be jealous. And when you add in the sales from her other books to the mix, well, Steph Meyer is no where near her number wise.
    I do wish that interviewers would stop asking authors who write/wrote vamp fiction their opinion of Twilight. It sets them up for this kind of backlash even though they should be able to state their opinion without being crucified.
    I love both series. Twilight is very simply written and Steph’s writing abilities are lacking, but she makes up for that with amazing characters that people bond with and have very real feelings for. I’ve only read one other series that has such beloved characters – LKH’s Anita Blake series.
    Anne’s writing is often times poetic and her characters very real. She also has substantial plot which is something the twilight series lacks (and for whatever reason doesn’t need. As I said, I am completely addicted to these books and still reread them compulsively.
    Both series are great for very different reasons and since they are directed toward very different audiences I see no reason they should constantly be compared.

  19. what a haughty, pretentious, single-minded woman.

    “I have looked through the books, I’ve read some of them…”

    Okay. Unless you have read each book cover to cover and actually given them the time of day they deserve, then, Ann Rice, you do not deserve to comment. When anyone says they have “looked through” the books it generally means they haven’t read them at all.

  20. I was always an Anne Rice fan, as a teenager. As I have grown up, I find her wishy washy fence jumping with religion kinda flaky. However, I respected her work.

    Having said that, she is coming across like a bitter has-been, full of envy. I hate to see adults act like bratty kids, it is not becoming.

    Why does she insist on going on and on, bad mouthing Twilight. Why can’t you just say, “hey, it’s not for me”, and move on?

    I am just sorry to see her act out this way….

    PS Stephenie Meyer has stayed true to her religious beliefs, through this whole writing and filming process. She also shows a HUGE amount and gratitude to her fans, and respect for other artist (authors, musicians, ect) Maybe old Anne could take a lesson in class from Steph….

    • Joshua L. Roberts says:

      Really…

      Many people struggle with aspects of Faith. Some of the greatest people on earth have questioned their own beliefs at time. I don’t see this as a degradation to character. Anne was a rebel, she rebelled against the constraints of her Roman Catholic upbringing and followed her husband’s faith, of which was Atheism. She couldn’t fine what she had wanted in that belief system, and as far as I gather returned to her roots. While I’m not a supporter of any “Christian” religion that doesn’t follow the Bible, I’m not going to fault Anne Rice for her decisions… In short, it just shows that she is human…nothing more, nothing less.

      Remember folks Twilight isn’t REAL. It is a work of fiction. If you want Twilight to last the test of time, you have to allow folks to have their opinions. You don’t have to like or agree with what they say, but you have to respect them as people. By consistantly trashing every critic, every author, or every individual who doesn’t get what you got out of the stories, then Twilight will fade to oblivion like all the other crazy fads in our world.

  21. I am a Twilight fan(obviously) and I think everything she said was fair. I think her point was that if you were immortal and you were basically lawless, had no restrictions humans had wouldn’t you travel the world…do whatever, whenever you want. I can see her point, if I think objectivly. If I had all the money, connections, and life expierence the Cullens did I WOULD not be living in some podunk town like Forks. I would live in Paris, or NYC or somewhere fabulous and travel…do the hell whatever I want. But as she says…them living in Forks, going to H.S. creates the conflict that’s so important to the premise of Twilight….

  22. I think Ms. Rice explained herself well. I also have read the Vampire chronicles and fell in love with Lestat and Louis. But those characters can’t really be compared to Twilight’s vampires. It’s like saying that they are from a vampire family but in the process of evolution has become completely different species. Although, I prefer my sparkly vamps!

  23. I do not want to seem like I’m fighting with anyone, but I find the statements calling Ann Rice jealous of Stephanie Meyer so completely ludicrous..I love the writing of BOTH women..If Ann Rice feels anything about Twilight other than respect for SM it’s probably flattery – without the Vampire Chronicles, there would NEVER have been a Twilight Series…Ann Rice has been a respected, successful writer for YEARS, she has nothing to be jealous about here…

  24. I think by not reading the books, Anne mistakenly believes the premise of the books is ‘vampires in high school”. In my opinion, that undervalues the true themes of Stephanie’s books; one of which is choice. The difference between Anne’s vampires and Stephanie’s vampires is the difference between choosing to live out your existence based on vampire rules or human rules. The Cullens choose the more courageous and difficult path of trying to live as human an existence as possible. To that end, the younger vampires attend high school because that is what humans do. One has to understand the reason behind them going to high school to really understand the themes in Stephanie’s books. And, in my opinion, the books aren’t about vampires. They are about a human teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire and the consequences and choices she has to face because of that love.

  25. Jennifer L. says:

    Jeez, people. i think Anne Rice has a point. Why would vampires go to high school again and again? Why not build a multi-billion empire and rule the world, or something like that. It’s not bashing Twilight, it’s just a little criticism. I mean, if you could live forever, would you go to highschool again AND AGAIN?! No. But we fell in love with her vampires, anyway.

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