The fan club was begun at the Queen of the Damned booksigning in New Orleans in Oct. 1988. My friends and I stood in line for several hours to get our books signed and when it was our turn, we told Anne we were thinking of starting a fan club for her so we could always be notified when she was doing a booksigning, or an article in a magazine would be coming out...this was pre-internet so we missed a lot of chances to get our books signed or read her articles. Melanie Scott, Susie Miller, Teresa Simmons and myself began with 35 names from the booksigning and it bloomed into thousands of members over 12 years. Our first gathering of the coven was in 1989 with Anne, Stan and Christopher Rice (age 10 who has gone on to be a sucessful author in his own right). Anne had given us her publisher's contact info so we invited some of her publishers to the Ball and they were thrilled to participate. They absolutely loved our bookcover cakes, the paperback editions!
As the internet became so popular the fan club's ability to break news to its members first became harder to produce so the fan club held it's last Ball in 2000 at the State Palace Theatre on Canal St. There was the year of no Ball in 2001 and I had heard all the complaints so I began organizing the parties again with my own funds. The first was held at the Howlin' Wolf in 2002. A stormy night did not stop the fans from coming and the cycle of growth began for a few years. Then Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, the city was nearly destroyed. No amount of tragedy can keep New Orleans down for long...and I restarted the fan club so I could afford to produce the huge costumed Balls.
Each year our theme celebrates another Anne Rice book such as the Queen of the Damned Ball and the Witching Hour Ball. In 2009, we combined Anne Rice with Charlaine Harris in the Tru Blood and Gold Ball. Charlaine had a great time as we crowned her the Queen of Louisiana and she was serenaded with a love song by her character from the Sookie Stackhouse Vampire novels "Bubba." This year our theme is the Theatre of the Vampire Ball which will include very theatrical acts.
I produced my first convention in 2010 on Halloween weekend, the Undead Con. I had two author panels, a seminar on the history of absinthe and one about the New Orleans Vampires...it was an eye opening experience and I am already planning Undead Con II.
The authors of the supernatural genre are so eager to participate in my con that they are already asking to be on the panels and I will have to add a third author's panel next year.
My goal is to bring together authors with their fans and to create an environment for networking with comic book publishers and movie producers, artists and related businesses that will encourage more movies being made in Louisiana, more graphic novels being produced with the new authors who have not yet had that opportunity. Plus it establishes not only a great costume Ball we can attend but a whole weekend of fun events centered around around the books we love to read.