Anne Rice was born Howard Allen O'Brien on 4 October 1941 in New Orleans. Her parents gave her this unusual name as her father's name was Howard and her mother's maiden name Allen. However, she hated the name and it was legally changed to Anne when she started school.

Rice attended Catholic school from an early age. In 1958 her family moved to Texas where she attended University. At around the age of 18, she drifted away from the Catholic Church. She married Stan Rice, her childhood sweetheart, a talented painter. They lived together in San Francisco, where they both attended University.

In 1972, they lost their four-year-old daughter Michele to adult leukemia. This tragedy may be reflected in Claudia, the child who can never grow up, and in Madeleine, the troubled doll-maker who creates endless incarnations of her lost child. Rice wrote Interview with the Vampire during the grief-stricken period following Michele's death. It was published in 1976. She has since written 28 novels, many of them about vampires and including characters from her first book.

In 1978, the Rices had a son named Christopher. He inherited his mother's love of writing and to date has published four novels.

Rice returned to Catholicism in 1998, and in 2002 famously consecrated her writing to Christ, vowing to write only for Him. Since then she has published a number of books with religious themes, and is outspoken about her return to faith. In an interview with Mary deTurris Poust published in Our Sunday Visitor she described Interview with the Vampire as:

"a meditation on misery, on the misery of being separated from God. [...] It's only years later that I realised the book is about the loss of my Catholic faith."

After 38 years as an Atheist, Rice refuses to renounce her earlier work, and it is rumoured that there is one vampire novel left to come.

In 2002, her husband Stan died of brain cancer. Rice now lives in the California desert, where she continues to write.