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The Secret Power of Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches

By Lori Perkins

I discovered Anne Rice and Stephen King at the exact same moment – at 14 on a trip to my local library where I was bulking up for summer reading and took out Interview with a Vampire and Salem’s Lot simultaneously. My life has never been the same.

Needless to say that a large part of my adolescence and young adulthood was spent reading about Louis and Lestat, Castle Rock and the Mayfair Witches. Hardcovers by these two authors were probably the only full price titles I bought as a younger person living on a budget.

As an adult, and a literary agent, I represented Dr. Katherine Ramsland, who wrote Anne Rice’s authorized biography, as well as put together The Vampire Chronicles, which was a guide to Rice’s universe, and through that connection I had the extreme pleasure of staying over Rice’s New Orleans’ house when we attended a reading. My most cherished memory from that experience was staying up until 4:00 a.m. telling ghost stories with Rice (I also represented ghost busters Ed and Lorraine Warren at the time) who shared that the ghosts in her recent Mayfair novels were real to her.

So I was excited to see what AMC did with Mayfair Witches series.

So far, I have been disappointed because the seduction of a family connected to a haunted place just doesn’t come through yet. But I am hopeful.

As a young woman, I didn’t realize how powerfully I connected to the sexual longing in Rice’s work – vampire Louis’ unrequited passion for Lestat and the Mayfair witches enthrallment to Lasher – but those threads were always what held me when the paranormal plot was weak. I am hoping that this comes through in this current series because it was definitely successful in the new incarnation of Interview with a Vampire, actually more so than the movie starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. It was a powerful and feminist statement for its time, and I still really haven’t seen anything quite like it.

Most “feminist” horror published today features women who get revenge on men but the power of Anne Rice’s supernatural books has always been the intensifying pulsing of desire that makes her characters reach their plot climax. To feature women empowered by obviously sexual desire is still rare for a horror novel series.

Read the books!


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