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Sundays 8pm to 11pm on Radio 2
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Take a look around you: vampires are everywhere, from 'True Blood' to 'Twilight'. And to whom do these pop-culture bloodsuckers owe their eternal lives? Anne Rice. The High Priestess of modern gothic fiction. With her bestselling novels, The Vampire Chronicles, Anne breathed new life into the genre: her vampires grappled with good and evil, suffered, felt desire, and seemed almost human.
But Anne's fantastic tales of love, loss and immortality were rooted in real tragedy: raised Catholic in New Orleans, Anne lost her mother to alcoholism when she was 14. When she was 20, she married her high-school sweetheart, poet and painter Stan Rice. When their five-year-old daughter Michele died from leukemia, Anne wrote her first novel, Interview with the Vampire, which included a young girl cursed by tainted blood. Since then Anne's written dozens of books under three different names - from novels about supernatural beings, to female erotica, to historical fiction - and sold well over 100 million copies.
In 2002, after Stan died from brain cancer, Anne returned to Catholicism and took her fiction in a new direction - writing about the modern history of Jesus and her own spiritual path in 'Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession'. But in 2010, Anne publicly renounced the Church, disgusted with what she sees as hypocrisy, intolerance and sexism. Now she's come back to her gothic roots with her novel 'The Wolf Gift' - a new take on the werewolf legend that raises questions about fate, redemption, the nature of good and evil.