You Asked, Anne Answered


UPDATED MAY 20, 1997. New entries (since the last update on May 12) are noted with amooncrescent moon graphic.

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Questions: Personal

"As a Christian, how are you so knowledgeable on religious matters?"

"You are a great role model and that quality obviously carried over to your son, Christopher. I was very impressed with his response to The Wall Street Journal article. It takes someone very special to stand up like that, and especially for someone our age. I, too, am eighteen."

"Do you consider yourself a 'strong' woman?"

"We were impressed by how much you allow your fans to see of your personal life. It's nice to see someone who always dreamed of fame and fortune, who got it and never let it go to her head!"

"Your taste in clothing is wonderful. I would like to have a head covering of chain mail...will it be included in your merchandise catalog?"

"Do you have any assistants? How many?"

"Is Stan jealous of your success?"

"Have you ever visited Scotland?"

"Do you believe in clairvoyance?"

"How does it feel to be incredibly wealthy?"

"I am the antique dealer that sold you the bronze bust of Beethoven...I have always wondered if you were pleased with your purchase...I have been in the antique business for over 40 years and every once in a while you sell a piece that you have a special connection to...the Beethoven bust was one of those pieces."

"I know that for a long time, you did not believe in God. But now you do. What changed your mind?"

"Do you mind having people hang out in front of your house?"

"Who is your favorite composer, Ms. Rice?"

"Love the fact that you look like your books. Most authors don't look anything at all like the subject topics of their books. You do."

"How is it that your birth name was Howard Allen?"

Erica would love to know the names of Anne's sweet dogs.

"If someone ever offered you the gift of immortality, would you accept it?"

"Which ending of GREAT EXPECTATIONS did you prefer?"

"Is it true that you invite college writers to stay at your house sometimes?"

"Mrs. Rice, I know a guy that says he knows you and says that he's in one of your books. His name is Brian Robertson. Can you confirm this?"

"What made you name your dog "Mojo"?"

"Is it true that you hold events at your beautiful home in New Orleans?"

"I truly believe that you are a practitioner of mitakuye oyasin. It is Native American and it means that you are one with God, with all people and all things."

"You write about all these witches and spells, but do you ever use spells or rituals yourself? Would you consider yourself a witch?"

"My question deals with your background in Kabbalistic mythology. As your novels seem rather well researched and as a woman who is in great touch with her inner sensuality, I was overcome with the thought of what your interpretation of the myth of Lilith would be."

"I thought of you today as I played Poulenc's organ concerto for our public radio listeners (Radio Kansas). When you were in Hutchinson for your book signing at Hastings, I mentioned the organ concerto to you, and I hope you've had an opportunity to hear it...I would love to hear your opinion!"

"I am the girl who asked you to sign two boxes of books in New Orleans at the SERVANT tour...and attended the Vampire Lestat Halloween Party. Mary, on your staff, personally helped to get us our tickets, and when we introduced to her, she hugged me as though I were an old friend. How lucky you are to have nice people like that around you."

"How do you deal with the responsibilities of everyday life, like dishes (hahaha) when you are writing?"

"Many times you've mentioned St. Louis in your stories. I wonder if you have any connections with the town."

"What type of books do you pick up on a whim?"

"I recently viewed a documentary about you, and your life before you became a writer...they showed a scene of a large room in a house (presumably yours) which was filled with porcelain dolls...do you have such a collection?"

"I've enjoyed your books and hearing stories of some of your adventures from Sue Quiroz (my son Eric is married to Sue's daughter, Terry)."

"How will you celebrate the year 2000 (or 2001)?"

"How are you doing with growing out your hair?"

"I work in Congress and sometimes it gets really rough around here. We need good people of power to speak up. Defect the resultant heat...please, never give up or give in. Again, thank you."

"Do you believe in the moral relation of good and evil, and if so, how do you justify it in the presence of a universe much too vast for comprehension?"

"I feel something about you, like a different energy. I felt that for the first time when I walked near you in Rio de Janeiro when you came for a visit. It is strange."

"Hi! I come from Japan. It sounds from your books that you do not believe religion but believe and love a god and your own self. Japanese is so...we revere our family ancestor's soul, believe [in] their spirit."

Answers: Personal


"As a Christian, how are you so knowledgeable on religious matters?" --Wendy/Grimsby from England

Anne answered:

"You ask me how I'm so knowledgeable on religious matters. It's really a two part answer. First of all, I was brought up as a very strict Roman Catholic, and I was fascinated and in love with Catholicism as a child, and so I went to daily Mass and studied Catechism every day and Bible history, and paid close attention to all of the legends of the saints that we talked about, and all the Bible stories we spoke about. But the second way I've become educated is by endless research. I really enjoy Biblical and Scriptural research. My library is just filled with books on Scripture, on the origins of Scripture, on the Dead Sea Scrolls, on the Apocryphal Gospels, the gospels that were not included in the Canon by the Church, but nevertheless went on to become legends of the Catholic faith, like the infancy stories of the Baby Jesus...things of this kind. It's just as natural to me as eating ice cream to read this material, and I know it's been very influential in my books. It will be very influential when I do finally write the autobiography of Jesus Christ which I am hoping to do sometime this year."

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"You are a great role model and that quality obviously carried over to your son, Christopher. I was very impressed with his response to The Wall Street Journal article. It takes someone very special to stand up like that, and especially for someone our age. I, too, am eighteen." -- Laura S.

Anne answered:

"I want to thank the eighteen year old on-line person who complimented Christopher for his letter in my defense to The Wall Street Journal. I very much appreciated Christopher's letter too, and I was quite impressed that The Wall Street Journal. published it. I was a very proud mother. I felt I needed, at that point, a little defense, and I was feeling pretty low, and Christopher defended me. As I recall...I can't remember what I was being accused of at that point...I think it was of buying property that other people didn't want me to buy, but had...I buy a great deal of property in New Orleans for restoration, and I have a great deal of interest in preserving the ambience and the romance of our city. I had bought an old building that I wanted desperately to save, and I believe that's what the controversy stemmed from. In any event, believe me, I was very, very impressed by Chris' letter in The Wall Street Journal., and he wrote it all on his own, too. Chris doesn't consult with me before he writes letters like that."

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"Do you consider yourself a 'strong' woman?" -- Quest- O from New York

Anne answered:

"Do I consider myself a strong woman, asks one person. Yeah, I consider myself an extremely strong woman. I would say that you have to be a strong woman to achieve something in this world, and women are gifted with a very special kind of strength anyway, no matter who they are, just as men have their own strengths. But I am a particularly strong woman, I would say...almost frighteningly strong. I frighten even myself."

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"We were impressed by how much you allow your fans to see of your personal life. It's nice to see someone who always dreamed of fame and fortune, who got it and never let it go to her head!" -- Kimberly S. from Texas

Anne responded:

"Oh, thank you for your remarks about fame and fortune, and it not going to my head. I hope it doesn't go to my head. I tell you, I...at the rate I spend my money, there isn't time for it to go to my head! But I enjoy, really, sharing as much as I can of my life with my readers. I mean...I don't want to live a secretive life. I do live a terribly private life, though. I very seldom go out of the house, and I very seldom see the readers, except at signings, but thank you for your compliments about fame and about...I can't claim to have modesty, but thank you for your comments about it not going to my head."

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"Your taste in clothing is wonderful. I would like to have a head covering of chain mail...will it be included in your merchandise catalog?" -- Darla P. from California

Anne answered:

"You ask about our chain mail head coverings. Actually, they are made by someone here in New Orleans, Cindy Ridgeway. She makes our wonderful headpieces, and her phone number is 504-948-7371 at Cearweddwen's Creations. But we will not ever be selling the headdresses, they are not something that we, ourselves, make. We bought them from Cindy, and they were all Cindy's idea."

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"Do you have any assistants? How many?" -- Jennifer S. from North Carolina

Anne answered:

"Oh, you ask if I have assistants, and how many. I have so many assistants...I have altogether...I really don't know how many. I call them my 'angels'. I really don't know. But I have at least five secretaries who are all absolutely indispensable angels. I have two personal assistants who travel with me wherever I go, one of whom is a bodyguard and also the commander of the entire staff, and the other of whom is an absolute angel, without whom I could do nothing, and that's Susie Q, and I know you've probably heard her name if you're connected with the fan club. Susie Q receives a lot of my mail and handles a lot of my personal things. Plus, there are a whole lot of other angels that staff our houses in New Orleans. We actually own three different houses, all of them built in the 19th Century, and we have angels galore on all different levels, flying from room to room, doing various things. So, I would say I have about 50 assistants, basically."

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"Is Stan jealous of your success?" -- Jennifer S. from North Carolina

Anne answered:

"You ask if Stan is jealous of my success. Now, my dear, if Stan were truly jealous of my success, how would I know? Do you think he would tell me? Let me assure you that he is not in any way jealous. Stan lives in a world that has to do with his painting and his poetry, and the only person he is in competition with is himself. And it's really that way for most of us who write, or most of us who are artists. We are in competition not with someone else--there's no question of jealousy. We're in total competition with ourselves. We are trying always to make the next painting, or the next poem, or the next story better than the one before it. Stan seems absolutely to be cooled out and totally adjusted to my success. I think sometimes my buying old properties and renovating them rattles Stan's nerves a bit, because when I buy an enormous building, like 47,000 square feet, it's a little bit over Stan's head, and he can only shake his head and say, 'Well, Anne, I hope you know what you're doing.' But, as for my success, he's perfectly cooled out with it. He is doing absolutely spectacularly well with his paintings. We'll have his paintings gathered together in a hardbound book by the end of 1997, and I don't want him to sell any of his paintings. I want him only to distribute postcards or posters or matted copies, but I want to keep all the paintings together, in a collection, in New Orleans called 'The Rice Collection.' Nobody, to my knowledge, has ever built an artist's career this way before, but I am determined to do it with Stan. I cannot bear the thought of simply selling paintings, and having sales to individuals as these paintings disappear be a measure of their success."

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"Have you ever visited Scotland?" -- Sharon M. from Canton

Anne answered:

"No, I have not really been to Scotland, Sharon. I have been in England a great deal. I have been in England twice, and am going again soon in connection with the musical of CRY TO HEAVEN, but I have not been to Scotland. I have been to Scotland only in my imagination, and that includes an enormous amount of reading and meditating and thinking, and maybe even some version of astral projection."

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"Do you believe in clairvoyance?" -- Michele L. from Louisiana

Anne answered:

"I do believe in clairvoyance, I really do. I believe that people can pick up messages telepathically from other people. I think there is clear evidence of this, that you can sit with certain people and as they look at you and talk to you, they can pick up things from your mind that are clearly thoughts, but I don't have any real proof of it, and I don't have any idea what the parameters are of the power. I just think that it's true, and I think some very good tarot card readers, in particular, are very, very skilled at this. That they can pick up things from your mind and they are reading the cards, but they are also receiving messages from you while they read the cards. Again, in my family, it's very common for people to be telepathically connnected...to be thinking about a person right at the time that that person, say, calls on the phone, or to be thinking about a person and then get a message that that person has died. In fact, it is a little frightening sometimes, but most of the time it's positive, very seldom does it have to do with death. But I do believe in it, yes. And I believe as we evolve, we'll learn more and more about the power."

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"How does it feel to be incredibly wealthy?" -- Karen C. from Tennessee

Anne answered:

"I don't know how it feels to be incredibly wealthy, Karen. What I have is cash flow. I have wild cash flow, rather like the Mississippi River, cresting at Baton Rouge, and then going slack during the dry months. So, I haven't reached the point of incredible wealth. God has been very good to me, and so have my readers, and because the readers do buy thousands of copies of the books, we do have a lot of income coming in. But I have many dreams and many plans. I've spent a great deal of my earnings tyring to see that some of my nieces and nephews go to college, and also trying to spread it around a little bit among some of my beloved aunts, and also restoring old houses. I pumped a great deal of my energy and perhaps too much money into the restoration of St. Elizabeth's Orphanage, and a lovely old house on Amelia and St. Charles which I wrote about in the novel LASHER, and I guess what I am trying to say is I spend money very fast. I don't keep it long enough to be wealthy. I don't. And the greatest pleasure, of course, is that money does allow you to let your dreams come true. It must be very sad if you have no dreams...if you have no craving to buy and orphanage and restore it...it must be very sad. My most recent small...little dream reward was buying a 1976 Cadillac, the last one ever made by Cadillac when they were still making big V-8 engines, and I got to ride in the convertible in the Mardi Gras parade 'Orpheus,' and I just love that car. I consider it the best of all my cars, I don't care if it's 20 years old, it makes no difference. Anyway, that's what money gives to you, it gives you the power to go out and do something insane like buy a 1976 convertible and spend a fortune restoring it. And it also gives you the power to help other people. To be able to turn to somebody who's in need and say 'Sure, I'll be glad to lend you whatever you need.' It's very, very nice. I love it. And of course, writers have written very eloquently about how money gives you access to art. It allows you to travel, it allows you to go to the great museums that you want to see. It allows you to go to Venice and stand in St. Mark's Square. So, it's really, in every respect, wonderful, but again, I don't consider myself wealthy. Wealthy will be when somehow some of this is stockpiled, and the flow stops, but that day may never come. I'll probably be spending with my last breath! I'll be ordering from a catalog, or sending someone a gift of silver for a newborn baby, or trying to buy a building downtown that can be converted into a museum!"

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"I am the antique dealer that sold you the bronze bust of Beethoven...I have always wondered if you were pleased with your purchase...I have been in the antique business for over 40 years and every once in a while you sell a piece that you have a special connection to...the Beethoven bust was one of those pieces." -- Roy Elmer from St. Albans

Anne answered:

"Roy, the bust is sitting right on my desk! It's only inches from my computer, and I make sure that Beethoven stares right into my face, telling me at every minute to do my best and offer my very highest efforts to God. I want to be a heroic artist in the model of Beethoven. I couldn't be happier with that bust! Please tell me if you have a bust like that of Mozart, because Mozart is my other guardian angel, and though Mozart died young, and was much less serious than Beethoven, he was, as we know, gifted with an ethereal genius, and he wrote in his own truly heroic style, as well as Beethoven. So, let me know...bring on more busts!"

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"I know that for a long time, you did not believe in God. But now you do. What changed your mind?" -- Stephanie E. from Arkansas

Anne answered:

"I don't know what changed my mind about believing in God. It was a slow thing. I gradually evolved into a person who felt that there must be a God, that there must be something beyond the universe. When I was very young, I think rebellion from conventional religion was terribly important to me, and atheism was the channel of that rebellion. To say that there was no God meant really to say that there was no established religion that had a formula for living that I had to abide by. That seemed a necessary step in my intellectual freedom, my intellectual liberation. But now, now that all the battle with religion is over, and that battle with the voices of childhood is over, I feel very strongly that there is a God, and I can't attribute it to anything except the accumulation of all that I have read, and the accumulation of all that I thought about for the last 30 years or more. I believe in God, there is no question of it. But I'm not sure any of us mean the same thing by the word God."

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"Do you mind having people hang out in front of your house?" -- Glen A. from Maryland

Anne answered:

"I never mind having people hang out in front of my house. I think the Garden District is so beautiful. When I was a child, I walked in it as if it were a park, and I think everybody is entitled to do that. People should be able to walk through beautiful neighborhoods and leisurely admire the houses, and I never object to it. People are very respectful of our privacy, they really don't disturb us. There have been many times I've plunged out the front door, right into the thick of a whole tourist group, and just climbed in my car and just driven away with a few waves and "hellos", and maybe a few snapshots, but people, in the main, are very, very warm and friendly."

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"Who is your favorite composer, Ms. Rice?" -- Jeffrey A. from Connecticut

Anne answered:

"It varies from time to time. My favorite composers, without question, are Mozart and Beethoven, but who's up is a matter of mood. Mozart is sort of my angel, and always fills me with joy. I could listen to "Cosi Fan Tutte" over and over again. On the other hand, Beethoven, I don't think I could live without Beethoven. I have been listening...in the book I am writing now, on Armand, Beethoven's piano sonatas play a large role. And, of course, the 9th Symphony was very key in the book VIOLIN that will be published in 1997. I guess Beethoven. Hands down, Beethoven and Mozart. I can't decide between the two--God forbid, what a thought!"

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"Love the fact that you look like your books. Most authors don't look anything at all like the subject topics of their books. You do." -- Brian W.

Anne responded:

"I look like my books? I'm flattered and honored! I think I outweigh all my characters by at least 60 pounds! So, I am thrilled. I'm always writing about gaunt, thin people, and I'm really not gaunt and thin. And I remember once, one acid-tongued journalist pointed that out in great detail, and I never forgave her, but thank you so much! Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

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"How is it that your birth name was Howard Allen?" -- Julieann F. from Australia

Anne answered:

"Well, my birth name is Howard Allen because apparently my mother thought it was a good idea to name me Howard. My father's name was Howard, she wanted to name me after Howard, and she thought it was a very interesting thing to do. She was a bit of a Bohemian, a bit of mad woman, a bit of a genius, and a great deal of a great teacher. And she had the idea that naming a woman Howard was going to give that woman an unusual advantage in the world. "

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Erica would love to know the names of Anne's sweet dogs. -- Erica E. from New York

Anne responded:

"My wonderful dogs are named "Sunny", the Golden Retriever-that's S-U-N-N-Y, like sunshine; "Mojo" is the giant German Shepherd, and that's Lestat's dog. That dog is described to a "t" in THE TALE OF THE BODY THIEF. I mean, Mojo is truly almost a supernatural dog. A dog worthy of Lestat , a dog that Lestat would love, and a dog that would love Lestat in return. And lastly, we have an old English Mastiff named "Mike", who is probably one of the laziest, most contented beings on the face of the earth. I love big dogs, and I want to get a giant Pyranees yet. The staff is holding me off until the weather is warm!"

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"If someone ever offered you the gift of immortality, would you accept it?" -- Corieanne R. from Georgia

Anne answered:

"I don't think I could resist it."

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"Which ending of GREAT EXPECTATIONS did you prefer?" -- Nancy M. from Canada

Anne answered:

"Oh, I definitely prefer the second ending. I believe that Estella and Pip should get together at the end of great expectations, they really should. In fact, I wish they had come together, and there had been even a longer discussion of what they had learned, and what they knew, and what bound them together, and how they are suffering when Miss Havisham found them together. I am very angry with Dickens that he ended it the way that he did. And very thankful to Litton that he forced him to at least put them together instead of having the move apart. Let me add that GREAT EXPECTATIONS is one of my favorite books, but I always think that Dickens was much too hard on Pip. That Pip really was a lot more sympathetic than Dickens realized he was. And it was strange...Dickens just was too hard on Pip, what Pip wanted was too natural. It's too natural to want the fine things in life. It's too natural to want education and beauty. And he's simply too hard and to punitive with Pip, and Estella in the end really should have been together, and we should have had a full chapter of what bound them together. Maybe I'll write the sequel! The ghost of Dickens will kill me!"

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"Is it true that you invite college writers to stay at your house sometimes?" -- Adrienne B. from Missouri

Anne answered:

"No, I never actually invite college writers to stay at my house. I live a very reclusive life, and I live cutoff from people, and one reason is I have an extremely large extended family in new Orleans. Just keeping up with the family, with my sisters, with my cousins, with my aunts, with my godmother, with all of those who are related to us and connected to us, and all of the people who are sort of a part of our world, working for us at St. Elizabeth's and our homes, it fills up my cup. So I have never had college writers actually stay at my house. I don't think I have a lot to offer a college writer. What I have to offer are the books. "

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"Mrs. Rice, I know a guy that says he knows you and says that he's in one of your books. His name is Brian Robertson. Can you confirm this?" -- Chris C. from South Carolina

Anne answered:

"Yes, Brian Robertson is a very dear friend of mine, and in many ways Brian is in more than one book. Brian has had quite an influence on my work the last two years. Brian is really my contact with this age, and Brian is one of the most brilliant people I've ever met. I'm very devoted to Brian--I consider him my nephew!"

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"What made you name your dog "Mojo"?" -- Bill M. from Alabama

Anne answered:

"Well, as far as I know, mojo is a voodoo term, and it has to do with putting a powerful charm on somebody. If you put "mojo" on them, you're putting heavy magic, and usually for the good. It's not necessarily negative. so, that's why I named him Mojo. Also, I like the line "mojo rising" in Jim Morrison's song, "L.A. WOMAN"...where he sings mojo rising over and over again. I don't even know what old Jim's singing about, but I like it!"

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"Is it true that you hold events at your beautiful home in New Orleans?" -- Stephen T. from Florida

Anne answered:

"We used to hold events at our house in New Orleans, but we've lived a very reclusive life the last few years. We now hold events at St. Elizabeth's Orphanange at 1314 Napoleon Avenue, which is a second home, more or less. It's a convent we bought three years ago, and it's a private residence. Several members of the family live there, and we do have big parties there. We had our Memnoch Ball there in 1995 and hosted 8,000 people, but I think really, in the future, we are going to be more hermits than socialites."

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"I truly believe that you are a practitioner of mitakuye oyasin. It is Native American and it means that you are one with God, with all people and all things." -- Janice S. from New Jersey

Anne answered:

"Oh, thank you very much for your comment, I hope so--I actually hope my books are pleasing to God and I consciously pray this every day. By God...I don't know if my definition of god is the same as anyone else, but I strongly believe in a creative force and an embodiment of goodness that is God."

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"You write about all these witches and spells, but do you ever use spells or rituals yourself? Would you consider yourself a witch?" -- Sheri C. from Michigan

Anne answered:

"Sheri, I would be very afraid to use spells and charms myself. I would be very afraid to put a curse on someone. I can get ferociously angry and I can wish someone terrible ill will, and I wouldn't want to unleash some invisible force against that person. I have just enough belief in these things to respect them deeply, and not to want to play around with them."

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"My question deals with your background in Kabbalistic mythology. As your novels seem rather well researched and as a woman who is in great touch with her inner sensuality, I was overcome with the thought of what your interpretation of the myth of Lilith would be." -- Douglas R. from California

Anne answered:

"I hesitate to speak yet about Lilith. Lilith is a tantalizing myth that I want to get into. I'm so immersed right now in mythology that I'm still asking more questions than coming up with answers, and the name Lilith sends chills down my spine. I dare not say anything yet about Lilith."

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"I thought of you today as I played Poulenc's organ concerto for our public radio listeners (Radio Kansas). When you were in Hutchinson for your book signing at Hastings, I mentioned the organ concerto to you, and I hope you've had an opportunity to hear it...I would love to hear your opinion!" -- Mary Lee W. from Kansas

Anne answered:

"I haven't heard it yet, unfortunately, but again, I treasure all of the recommendations that come from various readers, and I'm going to catch up with everything. I have a huge file of CD'S that I haven't listened to yet of keyboard music of all kinds. I'm moving through it slowly, and it's a great joy to know there's more music there than I can ever listen to in my lifetime."

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"I am the girl who asked you to sign two boxes of books in New Orleans at the SERVANT tour...and attended the Vampire Lestat Halloween Party. Mary, on your staff, personally helped to get us our tickets, and when we introduced to her, she hugged me as though I were an old friend. How lucky you are to have nice people like that around you." -- Deborah S. from Florida

Anne responded:

"Yes, I'm very lucky to have an absolutely divine staff. We have something like 40 angels that work for us, and they are all angels, and I don't know what we would do without them. We are a very, very strange group of people, really. I think very unique!"

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"How do you deal with the responsibilities of everyday life, like dishes (hahaha) when you are writing?" -- Holly H. from Virginia

Anne answered:

"Well, actually, I don't deal with the dishes. Fortunately, an angel named Mary deals with the dishes. She actually washes them all for me and takes care of those things. One of the great advantages of being published and having a big readership is that you finally do get the income that you can devote all of your time to writing, and you can hire people to do the domestic tasks, but I have spent a great deal of my life both washing dishes and writing, and it is possible to do both. You just keep going back and forth between the kitchen and the typewriter. In fact, I know some women who write right at the kitchen table, and that way they watch the roast and potatoes!"

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"Many times you've mentioned St. Louis in your stories. I wonder if you have any connections with the town." -- Sarah B. from Missouri

Anne answered:

"I had wonderful visits to St. Louis early in my tour, and I saw wonderful parts of St. Louis. I visited the old streets that are called private places, and I saw the old houses there, I saw the West End, and I enjoyed all of that and as you know, put it into QUEEN OF THE DAMNED. I find myself irresistibly drawn back to those settings."

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"What type of books do you pick up on a whim?" -- Nadia J. from Florida

Anne answered:

"On a whim, I generally pick up books that have to do with history or archaeology. Archaeology is really irresistible to me, and if a new book comes out about a lost city in the jungle, I'll be the first one to grab it."

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"I recently viewed a documentary about you, and your life before you became a writer...they showed a scene of a large room in a house (presumably yours) which was filled with porcelain dolls...do you have such a collection?" -- Vivienne from Australia

Anne answered:

"Yes, I have a very, very large doll collection. In fact, it's probably one of the largest doll collections in the world. It's made up not only of contemporary dolls from countries all over the world, but also antique dolls, including Jumeau's and Bru's, and I'm very, very proud of it. It's on exhibit at St. Elizabeth's Orphanage at 1314 Napoleon Avenue, in New Orleans, which is a large residence that we own. It once was an orphanage, and now we've converted it into a gigantic private home. And people are welcome to see it. In fact, it gives us great pleasure to show it to people. It's a bit crowded, however. It's such a big collection that it could be in a building all by itself, really. It could fill room after room. We have big dolls, we have little dolls, we have dolls made of porcelain, we have dolls made of new synthetic materials, we have rag dolls, stuffed dolls, vinyl dolls...all different kinds. The very best that are manufactured, the very best of the one of a kind."

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"I've enjoyed your books and hearing stories of some of your adventures from Sue Quiroz (my son Eric is married to Sue's daughter, Terry)." -- C. Nick V. from Florida

Anne responded:

"Thank you very much, and I must tell you I think Eric is one of the great hunks of all time...that Terry is married to one of the handsomest men I have ever laid eyes on, and that baby is going to grow up to be absolutely gorgeous. And watching that baby climb all over Eric, as if he were a giant tree, is one of the joys of my life!"

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"How will you celebrate the year 2000 (or 2001)?" -- Doug R. from North Carolina

Anne answered:

"If I'm alive in the year 2000, I'll be thankful. I can hardly believe it. I don't know how I'll celebrate I don't know how any of us will celebrate it. I don't know what we'll do. Maybe we should all take a year off...the world should come to a halt for a year!"

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"How are you doing with growing out your hair?" -- Ina S. from Indiana

Anne answered:

"Oh, my hair is growing out. It's growing out. It's definitely going to be long again. It's growing out gray and black, salt and pepper, and I can feel lots of long hair today, down on my shoulders, and I'm very, very happy. It's also growing out very thick. I'm very grateful. I used to hate having two heads of hair on one head, but now I'm grateful."

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"I work in Congress and sometimes it gets really rough around here. We need good people of power to speak up. Defect the resultant heat...please, never give up or give in. Again, thank you." -- Tama from Maryland

Anne responded:

"Thank you very much. I've taken out several newspaper ads, you know, talking directly to President Clinton, and I really like doing it. And I've been criticized as a nut for doing this, but to me it seems very normal to do it, and I want the president to know how much I think he's doing a good job, and how tough I think the circumstances are that surround his presidency. The Clinton presidency is going to go down in history as absolutely unique...there's never been anything quite like it."

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"Do you believe in the moral relation of good and evil, and if so, how do you justify it in the presence of a universe much too vast for comprehension?" -- Christopher R. from Indiana

Anne answered:

"Well, I believe good and evil are very, very real, and I believe each human conscience has to deal with good and evil in its own way. I believe that we have to aspire toward good and evil has to do with destruction and suffering in the world, and the diminishing of life, and life's beauty and all of life's bounty. I really think this is inherent in the universe, because...it's not that it's inherent in the universe, it's inherent in our souls that we incline toward goodness. Maybe Wordsworth was right, that a child feels inclinations toward mortality just naturally."

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"I feel something about you, like a different energy. I felt that for the first time when I walked near you in Rio de Janeiro when you came for a visit. It is strange." -- Raphael P. from Brazil

Anne responded:

"Well, I definitely felt all kinds of energy in Rio de Janeiro. I felt it was a place where the spirits were very close to living people, and I've written about it in VIOLIN, which will be published there in the fall, I think, when they translate it. In fact, I tried to capture a lot of the feeling of Rio de Janeiro in that novel. I'd be interested to hear you how you react to it."

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"Hi! I come from Japan. It sounds from your books that you do not believe religion but believe and love a god and your own self. Japanese is so...we revere our family ancestor's soul, believe [in] their spirit." -- Akiko K. from Japan

Anne responded:

"I have great respect for the Japanese tradition, and I think Irish people, deep in their hearts, really also engage in actual ancestor worship. We talk to our loved ones who are gone, we talk to our grandparents, we talk to our parents, and we keep around pictures of them, and put flowers around those pictures, and believe that when something good happens, it's often the influence of Aunt Betty, or Aunt Pat, or Aunt Mary, or Aunt Josie, or Grandma, or something of that kind. It's a very, very active, very Irish way of looking at the world, and I think it's something we share with the Orient."

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