Anne Rice: Surrender to Love
By Gorman Woodfin with Scott Ross
The 700 Club
When I met Anne Rice she took me into a place few people have been. She calls it her “inner sanctum” where she writes. I sat down to talk to her about her life, her journey and her transition from writing the darkest of vampire novels to bestselling Christian books.
Scott Ross: Angel Time took me to the Middle Ages and present day, of course. Then your own personal journey I found so fascinating, Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession.
Anne Rice: It was painful to write, but it was very satisfying to write. But it was painful, it was painful.
Ross: You were raised Catholic, but it wasn’t just the church. It was, as a child, a very intimate relationship with God, Jesus Christ, which held you in future years.
Rice: It did. It held me in ways I didn’t even think about for a long time. It made a big difference.
Ross: As you moved on through life and you went to college, you said that it was here your faith began to crack apart.
Rice: That’s right. I lost faith in my religion. I lost faith in my church and with that went the faith in God Himself. I moved away in search of the modern world. I was not a particularly wild person. It was not like I went off the deep end and did crazy things. Nothing like that really happened, but I convinced myself that it was realistic to be an atheist.
Ross: But you went through this for what, 38 years?
Rice: Thirty-eight years. I did. I wrote about it. I became a published writer, and I wrote about it in books called The Vampire Chronicles. I wrote about this very search for God on the part of these fantasy characters. I wrote about their misery in the darkness when they had no promise of God and no promise of salvation.
Ross: So that was behind all of these stories?
Rice: I think it was always there. Take my first novel, Interview with a Vampire. The vampire goes through the whole novel asking, “Does anyone have any knowledge of God or the devil? Does anyone have any real knowledge? Are we children of God? Are we children of Satan?” This soul is just searching. Well, that was me. That was Anne just asking the same questions. It’s in a strange context, but it was definitely there.
It was while doing research for a new vampire novel that she found her answer.
Ross: Twenty-one years later or so, you’re doing some study in history. I’m quoting you again, "If any one thing in all of my studies led me back to Christ, it was His people, the Jews."
Rice: It was studying the Jews and their survival in history from very ancient times to the modern age that really got me to thinking. This is something that I can’t explain sociologically or historically. This really does seem to be the hand of God. Then I began to study the origins of Christianity and there again was the mystery. How could this little Middle Eastern cult in this city become an international religion within 150 years that brought paganism to a complete downfall? What is this about? I thought, my gosh, this looks like maybe there is a God.
Ross: That turned into an obsession to know who Jesus Christ was.
Rice: Absolutely. Yeah.
Ross: In your pursuit of historical documentation and to discover Jesus Christ, He was pursuing you.
Rice: He was. He was.
Ross: What happened?
Rice: I was really searching. I was looking for a way to go back, and I was fighting it. I was fighting it tooth and nail. I was thinking I can’t go back to being a believer. I can’t go. This is impossible. What about the Second World War? What about evil in the world? What’s the explanation for all this? Then one day, in 1998, I’m sitting at my desk in my office, surrounded by all my books and my questions, and it hits me like a light pouring in. I don’t have to know the answers to these questions. All I know is I believe in God, and I love Him.
Ross: The little girl, her heart was open again to that Jesus.
Rice: It was like that. It was as if my heart completely opened. I felt that love, that love for the Lord who made everything I saw around me that was beautiful and meaningful. I understand exactly what people mean when they say faith is a gift. Because when something comes like that, it comes to you from without. The doors open. All your difficulties fall away in that moment. What you feel is a surrender, a complete surrender to that love that God is offering to you and the love that you feel in return. Well, it was a wonderful moment. In 2002, I’d had a moment of talking to the Lord in church and realizing that I wanted to write only for Him. I didn’t want to write books anymore that didn’t reflect my faith and my love of God. I really consecrated my work to Him. I said, "I want to give it all to You. I don’t want to write anything anymore that talks about the old atheistic despair, misery, searching and so forth and so on. I want to write it just for You." That was quite an incredible moment for me. It was very personal.
It is that commitment that led to her latest release, Angel Time.
Ross: This character, in the beginning, is a dark character.
Rice: He is. He is a dark character. He’s a boy to whom terrible things happened. He became a dark character. At a crucial moment in his life, he turned away from God.
Ross: Then redemption. It’s grace. It’s a gift comes to him.
Rice: Exactly. Well, he prays. He’s looking. The way I used to look. He’s walking around the California missions, stopping to light a candle in the chapel and praying sarcastically to God. But to his amazement, his prayer’s answered. An angel comes walking in and says, "Why don’t you repent? What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you repent right now and ask the Maker for forgiveness for everything you’ve done?"
Ross: The people who follow your writing. Have they made the transition from the darkness to the light? What kind of responses have you had?
Rice: It’s very interesting. My earlier books have brought a readership to me that’s very large. That large readership is now reading these newer books. That’s the paradox of what we do in life. I mean, we’re endlessly marveling at the way the Lord works. You know it’s quite amazing. I get wonderful, wonderful e-mails from Christians and from people searching. I tell them what happened. I try to tell them about that moment of surrender where you let it go, you let it go to the grace of God. He knows the number of the hairs on our head. He knows when we cry. He knows what we feel. He’s with us when we suffer. What an incredible thought. This was what I really knew was true for years and wouldn’t accept. I could feel the love of God. I could feel it. I could see it when I looked around me. That love of God permeates everything we are and everything we do. To me, to be able to finally throw up my hands and say, "I believe, I surrender, I love You," that was the most incredible moment of my life.
Watch Web Exclusive Videos:
The Extended Anne Rice Interview
In the Library with Anne Rice
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