In the novel Interview with the Vampire
, the first of the vampire chronicles written by Anne Rice, Louis tells his story to a reporter who records the interview. The son of a wealthy landowner in New Orleans in the 18th century, Louis was initiated into the world of the undead by Lestat, a powerful vampire who teaches him how to hunt for blood, sleep in coffin by day, and keep his true nature a secret. Louis creates another vampire – the child Claudia – who joins him and Lestat in their wanderings. Claudia and Louis do away with Lestat and flee to Europe. Here they come into contact with others of their kind, led by the boy Armand, a powerful vampire, who inhabit the Theatre of Vampires in Paris. Disguised as artist performers, their audience do not realize they are watching the performances of real vampires on stage. Louis creates another vampire, a woman, as company for Claudia, but she and the vampire-child perish in the sun, killed by the theater vampires when they discover their having murdered Lestat - a mortal sin. Louis is saved by Armand, but he exacts revenge by burning down the theatre and its vampire-inhabitants except Armand who lives with him for a time, and returns to New Orleans, where he feels the presence of Lestat. Rather than be horrified by his story, the reporter wants to be given the gift of immortality through the blood rite, but Louis refuses. The reporter persists and goes on to search for Lestat, ending the interview.
This novel brings the vampire genre to a new dimension. No longer are vampires the detestable creatures of folklore: they are intelligent, fashionable, sensitive beings capable of love and passion. Louis is exceptional: while others delight with their newfound powers, Louis has to deal with his inner conflicts, torn between his nature as destroyer of life and his good side as a human being . His having created the child Claudia - considered an abomination by the other vampires - brings him sorrow; the reporter is amazed to see a vampire shedding tears. Anne Rice brings new insights into her work - like their difficulties in coping with the consequencwes of immortality -making the vampire world tantalizingly close and real.