Novelist Anne Rice, author of numerous, bestselling gothic novels such as the highly influential series that started with Interview with a Vampire (and some oversexed romances under a pseudonym), has returned to the church after an absence of many years. (She left at age 18 and is now 64.)
According to Newsweek, Rice said that she "will publish Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, a novel about the 7-year-old Jesus, narrated by Christ himself. 'I promised,' she says, 'that from now on I would write only for the Lord.' It's the most startling public turnaround since Bob Dylan's Slow Train Coming announced that he'd been born again."
It certainly is an interesting event, but as in Dylan's case, each author's earlier work provides hints of the change that would ultimately come. The Newsweek article notes that Rice "sees a continuity with her old books, whose compulsive, conscience-stricken evildoers reflect her long spiritual unease. 'I mean, I was in despair.' In that afterword she calls Christ 'the ultimate supernatural hero . . . the ultimate immortal of them all.'"
It will be interesting to see whether the novel is any good. Newsweek quotes Rice as acknowledging the risk: "Rice knows Out of Egypt and its projected sequels—three, she thinks—could alienate her following; as she writes in the afterword, 'I was ready to do violence to my career.'"
That is probably the best sign of all.