Happy Birthday to Anne Rice!
The first time I read one of her books, I was 12. It was the Vampire Lestat and I was hooked after only a few pages. It was also my first vampire book. (that was 1986 and at that time most of the book went over my head)
She is the first author to make me cry while reading a book, and the only celebrity to make me cry while watching her do interviews on tv. (I have no idea what it is but there is something compelling about her that always makes me choke up when I see an interview with her)
As a writer, she changed the way certain topics were looked at. She created these worlds that expanded beyond the pages, letting you almost touch and smell with her detailed descriptions.
Of her non-mystical stories, Feasts of All Saints became my favourite. (I still can't keep up with her book releases. Just when I think I have bought the latest I find out I'm wrong and there are two more)