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Rice, Christopher (b. 1978)  
 
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Christopher Rice is the author of five popular, gay-themed suspense thrillers, each of which has appeared on the New York Times best sellers list. He has also been active in supporting glbtq causes, especially those affecting glbtq youth.

He was born into a family of writers. His parents are Anne Rice, the celebrated and prolific author of over twenty gothic, horror, erotica, mystery, and religious-themed novels (and who also publishes under the pseudonyms Anne Rampling and A. N. Roquelaure), and the late poet and painter Stan Rice (1942-2002). His aunt, Anne's older sister, Alice Borchardt (1939-2007), began writing historical romance and fantasy novels in her mid-50s after a 30-year career as a licensed vocational nurse.

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Rice was only 22 years old when he made his literary debut with A Density of Souls in 2000. The novel instantly became a media sensation and commercial success. However, the book's intrinsic merits were often eclipsed by derisive comments among the critical establishment and accusations of favoritism stemming from Rice's family connections.

In an interview with the Advocate given shortly after the novel's publication, Rice directly addressed such allegations. "The only thing that can dispel people's notions that I'm just a product of nepotism is the book," he told journalist David Bahr. "I can only write what I want and hope it gets out there, and that public appeal draws me out of [my mother's] shadow."

With the release of each successive novel, Rice has successfully overcome much critical skepticism and in the process has earned a measure of literary respect.

Christopher Travis Rice was born on March 11, 1978 in Berkeley, California. He was the second child born to Anne and Stan Rice. Their first child, Michele, died of leukemia in 1972 at the age of six. His parents withheld any information about his sister until Rice himself was six years old. He later admitted to being affected by his parent's reticence, but in turn has used it creatively in his novels to investigate the nature of secrets and the justifications for keeping them.

Rice lived in San Francisco's Castro district until he was 10 years old when his family moved to New Orleans, his mother's hometown. It was a difficult transition for Rice."Growing up in the Castro made me feel that being gay would always be an option," he revealed in an interview. "But then being dropped in New Orleans, it was completely different. I went from a school in San Francisco where we called our lesbian teachers by their first names to this uptown, private elementary school where we all had to go to chapel in the morning. I'm sure I suppressed a lot of gay feelings for a long time."

His sexuality also compounded his discomfort in high school, although he later found a degree of consolation in acting. "I was the class fag because I didn't play a sport," Rice explained. "Because I did plays and I was a little pretty boy and I was thin and wispy. That tapered off as high school progressed and people found their niche. I went from being the fag to being the more respected actor."

He graduated from New Orleans's prestigious Isidore Newman School in 1996. He has described his experience at the wealthy high school as one shaped by his homosexuality. "I didn't feel a threat to my physical well being, just my emotional well being. Growing up gay and knowing I was different, I was in an odd position. I had all the trappings that could have helped me to fit into the social hierarchy of the school. I had money, had a nice car, was white. I could have fit, but I knew I didn't belong. I knew I didn't share their dreams and ambitions and their values."

Although Rice had been going to gay bars and clubs while still a high school senior, it was not until he graduated and met his first boyfriend that he came out to his parents. Rice concedes that while his father had no difficulty accepting his son's sexuality, his mother had some trouble believing it.

It was not that Anne Rice reacted with anger or hatred to her son's coming out, Rice has stated; she merely thought that his homosexuality was a phase that would pass, as she had also seen her son in relationships with girls in high school.

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Christopher Rice on a research tour in Thailand. Photograph by Sue Tebbe.
  
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