Picks and Pans Review: On Tour With...
PLACE: Oklahoma City BOOK: Servant of the Bones COPIES SIGNED: 1,500 in seven hours
THESE WERE NOT JUST FANS, THESE were people who should be checked for fang marks. A throng of 1,160 utterly transfixed devotees filed through Bollinger’s Books and Espresso Cafe to meet Rice, Queen of the Occult, High Priestess of Horror, Registered Democrat (she wore a Clinton/Gore button along with her gold lamé cloak and chain mail headdress).
The bewitching author of Interview with the Vampire and other gothic bestsellers showed supernatural stamina: On the 25th stop of a 55-city book tour that will end Halloween night in a Miami cemetery, Rice, 55, signed for seven hours with only a single break (the night before, she had signed 1,800 books in a Tulsa store). “I love going to extremes,” Rice told giddy admirers like Amanda White, 14, who donned a scarlet antebellum dress, copped a $50 best costume prize and promptly bought more Rice books with her winnings.
Blood donors were whisked to the front of the line after giving a pint of Vampire Lestat’s precious liquid at a nearby station set up by the Oklahoma Blood Institute. Things got really weird when Russell Meredith, 29, briefly debated Clinton’s health-care package with Rice. Meredith, a Republican, didn’t sway his idol but remained a big fan. “I like the dark quality of her books,” he explained. “I like the immortality of the vampires, the idea of living forever.” (Imagine those medical bills.)
The last book was signed, and the ghoulish love fest ended at—when else?—the stroke of midnight.