Tom Cruise as vampire Lestat

Tom Cruise portrayed Lestat in the film version of "Interview With the Vampire." Now, author Anne Rice is bringing the vampire back in a new book, "Prince Lestat." (Geffen Pictures)

A generation before "Twilight" stole teen girls' hearts, Anne Rice's "Interview With the Vampire" and its sequels explored the romance and eroticism of the vampire myth. No matter who was telling the stories of their loves and misdeeds, the vampire Lestat was at the center of the story, a magnetic, selfish antihero.

The undead Lestat, who was played by Tom Cruise in the 1994 film "Interview With the Vampire," will return in a new novel in October. Rice announced the upcoming publication of "Prince Lestat" on "The Dinner Party," an Internet show co-hosted by Christopher Rice, her son.

"It is a big vampire chronicle," she said. "It's all about Lestat and all about the vampires and what they're doing right now. How they're coming to terms with everything that's happened to them, and how Lestat is dealing with demands from all sides that he step forward and become some sort of leader of the tribe."

"It's a true sequel to 'The Queen of the Damned,' " Christopher prompted. "That's how you described it to me."

"The Queen of the Damned" was the third book in Rice's series the Vampire Chronicles. It followed "Interview With the Vampire" and "The Vampire Lestat," and was followed by seven additional novels in the series.

"It's a sequel to the first five," Rice corrected, meaning that it also follows "The Tale of the Body Thief" and "Memnoch the Devil."

She noted that the book has been finished since late last year but that she kept mum about it at the request of her publisher, Knopf. "Prince Lestat" will hit shelves Oct. 28.

"I don't want to be irritating, or how should I put it, pretentious, talking about a character as though he's a living being, but I really had to wrestle this guy to the ground and beat him up and say, 'Look, you've got to talk to me. I want to know what you've been doing,' " she said. "I can't really write novels about that character unless he wants to come through."

Rice went back and re-read her own books in the series before she began writing. Once she hit her stride, she wrote more material than could fit into "Prince Lestat."

"I feel like this is Novel 1 of a new incarnation of the Vampire Chronicles," she said.

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