Anne Rice (born Howard Allen O'Brien on October 4, 1941) is a best-selling American author of gothic, erotic, and religious-themed books from New Orleans, Louisiana. She was married to poet and painter Stan Rice for 41 years until his death from cancer in 2002. Her books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in modern history.
Rice spent most of her early life in New Orleans, Louisiana, which forms the background against which most of her stories take place. She was the second daughter in a Catholic Irish-American family; Rice's sister, the late Alice Borchardt, also became a noted genre author. About her unusual given name, Rice said: "My birth name is Howard Allen because apparently my mother thought it was a good idea to name me Howard. My father's name was Howard, she wanted to name me after Howard, and she thought it was a very interesting thing to do."
Rice became "Anne" on her first day of school, when a nun asked her what her name was. She told the nun "Anne," considering it a pretty name. Her mother, who was with her, let it go without correcting her, knowing how self-conscious her daughter was of her real name. From that day on, everyone she knew addressed her as "Anne."