In the past month, two of my favorite authors had birthdays. Stephen King turned 68 on September 21st, and Anne Rice turned 74 (74!!!) on October 4th. This makes me feel tragically old.
Stephen King was the first author to get me into reading horror, and the reason I started writing. When I was young and naive I decided I wanted to be the next Stephen King and that’s why I started writing spooky/scary stuff. Or writing at all, really. I didn’t even KNOW I wanted to be a writer until I started imitating him. Well, all these years later, I can safely say I’ll probably never be Stephen King Pt. 2–largely because we don’t write the same genres but also because no one else can be Stephen King. He also got his big break at a much younger age than me (I’m still waiting for said big break at nearly twice the age he was when Carrie was published).
Still, Mr. King will always be one of my favorite authors. He recently received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama for his contributions to literature. How cool is that?
As for Anne Rice, she was the first horror author to strike a chord so deep in my young, impressionable heart I still feel it today. I picked up The Vampire Lestat, tattered and worn, at a rummage sale for 25 cents when I was 15 years old. I had never heard of Anne Rice or The Vampire Chronicles before that, but I was a dark and morbid teenager and the book had the word ‘vampire’ in the title. That book changed my life. I know 15 seems like a young age to absorb such intense material, but amusingly enough if she released the book today it would probably be lumped in the New Adult category. Lestat was 20 and struggling with the same sense of suffocating isolation and immobilization as I was at the time and it lit up my soul to read about a character facing the same struggle. His story of escape and accomplishment was my fondest fantasy and fever dream. I read the book slowly so it wouldn’t end and cried when it did.
I must say I was happy I found that book first, and didn’t read Interview With the Vampire (which is the first book in the series) before it, because they’re told from different character viewpoints and Lestat is painted in two very different lights in each book.
Anyway, the point of this post is to say Happy (belated) Birthday to two of my favorite authors! And also to express the boundless anxiety I have over their aging. Anxiety because I desperately want to meet both of them and, well…we know what the inevitable result of aging is. I won’t even say it because it hurts to think it. I already know what I’m going to say to Mr. King someday if (when!) I meet him…I just have to think up something to say to Mrs. Rice.
How about you? Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? Are you hoping to someday?