Fans of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles have an all new reason to be excited today with a brand new companion book available in bookstores and from online retailers. Written by Rice’s longtime assistant, Becket, Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles: An Alphabettery is a repository of every name, every place, every vampiric gift, featured in the 15 novel (and growing) series.
Encyclopedic in scope, filled with details that even the most devout fans might have missed, and stunning illustrations by Mark Edward Geyer, the Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles: An Alphabettery is a masterpiece, and Becket sat down to speak with iHorror on just how it came to be.
“She [Anne] was talking to her agent right around the release of Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis and the agent told her that she loved the book but she was having trouble remembering details from the Chronicles,” Becket explained. “She suggested she needed some sort of encyclopedia to remember all the names and places and Anne turned to me and asked if I would write something like that and I said sure I’d love to.”
Outside of the author herself, Becket might have been the perfect choice for this project. He discovered Rice’s books while attending his Catholic high school and became a lifelong fan. Several years later, when he was living as monk in a Benedictine monastery in New Orleans, he had the chance to meet the author when she needed a harpsichord to decorate for a book signing at a local bookstore.
The two became friends, developing a relationship via email and when a few years later, he decided he wanted to leave the monastery, not having taken his solemn vows, he wrote to Rice asking if she had any jobs available.
He went to work in her library and soon began traveling with her to book signings and interviews, helping coordinate her calendar. Before long, he was her personal assistant and they’d known each other for 18 years.
However even knowing the author personally and having read the books numerous times, the task of compiling the information was a daunting one.
“My first draft was basically made up of the main characters,” Becket said. “I wrote down about 100 names and then wrote little entries for each of them based on my own memory. Then I went back through the books and re-read them. If I read a name, I wrote it down. If I read an ability, I wrote it down. I did the same with all of the places, the homes, and property.”
By the time the book had gone through its final edits, it had grown to an impressive 160,000 words. It was when we asked the author his favorite entry, that he gave us the rarest treat, a little Easter Egg hidden inside each of Rice’s novels that you might never have noticed before.
“In the “O” section, you’ll find an entry called One Fine Blow,” he said. “When Anne published her first book, she gave a copy to her father and among the things he commented on was the phrase “one fine blow”. He loved the phrase, and because of that, she included it in every single one of the books since then.”
Becket made sure, in the entry, to note where the phrase turns up in each book so that fans can search them out themselves.
In fact, one of the more interesting aspects of the 450 page Alphabettery is that each entry comes with annotations, pointing to other entries that relate to them, ultimately giving the reader three ways to use the book:
- One can simply sit down and read it cover to cover.
- You can use it as a reference so that when you encounter a name or place in the Chronicles that is vaguely familiar to you, the information can be looked up to refresh your memory.
- OR, and this is absolutely fascinating, you can actually choose a character, read their entry, then follow the references at the end of the entry. You can follow whole bloodlines this way. It’s a whole new way of discovering vampiric families, alliances, enemies, truces, etc. and I encourage you to spend at least a little time with the book in this way should you choose to pick it up.
Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles: An Alphabettery by Becket released today on Amazon and in bookstores nationwide!