To Write Her Latest Thriller, Anne Rice Got Into the Character of Assassin

The author, who helped define the vampire genre, has a new supernatural tale.

October 26, 2009, 2:22 PM

Oct. 27, 2009— -- Anne Rice's journey from New Orleans to California has been both personal and literary.

A vampire chronicler for many years, Rice practically created a whole genre of books. She has also written biographies about Jesus Christ and her spiritual exploration.

Her latest novel, "Angel Time: The Songs of the Seraphim," centers on assassin Toby O'Dare, who has a life-changing experience after meeting an angel.

"I'm very excited right now about 'Angel Time' and the sequels to 'Angel Time' and Toby O'Dare," Rice told "Good Morning America's" special correspondent Cameron Mathison. "I really want to put Toby on my personal map and the map of my readers."

Rice's return to this type of fiction has become a production, and the book has its own movie trailer online.

Ultimately, Rice's decision to revisit the supernatural was fueled by a desire "to prove that the good guys can be as interesting as bad guys … that angels can be as mysterious and compelling as vampires, if not more so," she said. "I'm tired of the idea that the devil is the interesting one. That's not true. The devil is boring and he's lost. And I want to be on the side of the angels this time."

While Rice has stopped writing about vampires, there's been a bloody resurgence of them in pop culture, from HBO's "True Blood" to the "Twilight" series of books and movies.

"We're probably going to be living with vampire stories now the way we live with westerns and detective novels," Rice said. "It's just not going to go away."

Even for Mathison, the fascination with vampires hits close to home. An actor onthe ABC soap opera "All My Children," Mathison dressed up as a vampire for the show's Halloween episode.

For her part, Rice is not territorial over the part she may have played in the vampire craze. "I don't think we can copyright vampires," she said jokingly.

Rice's personal story is equally compelling. For years, she was an icon of New Orleans, and her home was a tourist attraction. But she hasn't returned to the Crescent City since Hurricane Katrina hit.

Anne Rice Reveals What She's Afraid Of

"I left right before the storm ... and have never come back," she said. "I'm going to go back at some point, but I don't know when. It's so painful. It's excruciating. I'm there in my heart."

Nowadays, to get her fill of New Orleans, Rice, who lives in the Palm Springs area, heads to the Mission Inn in nearby Riverside, Calif., known for its European and gothic-style architecture. This setting plays an important role in Rice's new book.

As she fleshed out the story, she often walked around in the persona of her lead character, the hired assassin.

"I'm sitting out there on the patio at the iron table outside the door of the Amistad suite, and I'm Toby O'Dare. Of course, everybody passing doesn't know that," she said. "They don't know what's really going on ... that I'm talking to the angels out there. It was a lot of fun."

As for what scares Rice, she confessed, "I'm kind of sacred of the dark. .... I've never seen a ghost. I've never seen an angel. I've never seen a vision of any kind. And I think I'm a little bit scared that I might."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events