The thing about getting older is the people who inspired you, that shaped your dreams start to pass away, and not only can you feel this on a personal level but it also makes you question what your own legacy will be.
On the 11th of December 2021 Anne Rice, the woman who taught me to create whole worlds in my head passed away. She wasn’t the first ‘grown up’ author I read, like so many of my generation Stephen King was the natural progression from teenage books and Tolkien, but Anne Rice took it to a whole new level for me.
When I first read Interview With a Vampire I feel in love with the characters but more than that I became totally immersed in the world. Anne had a gift for bringing history to life in a way which was visceral, you could close your eyes and smell the odour from the Mississippi, hear the sounds of New Orleans. She was the one who made me want to be a writer and to be able to create those same emotions in my readers.
Amongst my most treasured possessions are signed book plates that I sent off to receive from her, it was an example of her generosity to her fans. She knew there was no way that every person would ever get to meet her to get a book signed so she arranged for her fans to be able to send a SAE and in return each was supposed to get two signed book plates but I know many like myself received more.
It is hard to accept I will never get a chance to meet her, never get one of those books I love so much personalised. It is even harder to accept that there is a good chance I will never have that thrill of excitement knowing a new instalment of The Vampire Chronicles is on its way.
There is a slim chance that there may be books she has written, that her son Christopher may complete, but it will not be the same. And if there is a full book somewhere I think it will probably be a little like when Terry Pratchett passed, reading that final book makes it just that, final.
But that leads me to the final thought of what do I leave behind, while I am proud of the books I have written I have so many more in my head, so much more I want to share. I will probably never have to sort of following Anne had, in fact that will only ever happen in my dreams lol, but I do have the chance to leave behind a body of work that I can be proud of.
The only person holding me back right now is me, and ironically the loss of my first ever muse is the kick up the backside I need.