Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tasty Vamp Blood

When I began this novel, I knew that there would be research. I just never realized how involved it could get. I’ve done crime scene investigation, area research, MIA protocol, wild game in particular area, house and land hunting, flight information. Mmm… Oh yeah, how much blood loss a person could sustain, what does chloroform smell like, how does it feel, how to do a make shift blood transfusion. Bet your wondering what in the world I write about huh? She must be twisted. MWA-HA-HA!!

I have taken future readers intelligence into consideration. I’m not saying that I was right 100% of the time, but I made a very conscious effort to be realistic. I like a little reality in my fantasy, so that’s how I wrote the book.

If by now you are not aware, there a few vampires in my story. They are a key part of the novel even though they remain in the shadow for a large portion of the book. It’s the knowledge of their existence that adds fear into Felicity’s life (among other things). But unlike some novels, their existence is to be kept secret.

But it was a simple question that led me to the most involved research. I had no idea that I would become a freaking chemist. Because all of the details will not be revealed in the book, I thought it would be cool to talk about it here.

GEEK ALERT! (You have been warned)

Towards the end of the novel, I had to answer the question of what vampire blood would taste like. I knew that I wanted it to be different from human blood. As it should be, or why would vamps not feed on other vamps. So first, I had to look at human blood. Its metallic scent comes from the large quantity of Iron in our hemoglobin. Let’s pause for a second…Now, do you get the title? Iron Obsession – vampires, blood, iron? Anyway.

So, I wanted to look at what metal or element would work well with Iron. Something that would transform it, possibly make it stronger. It took a while, but zinc came to mind. Zinc is an illustrious metal that is a very pale blue, almost white. Ahh, that works. Keep the vamps pale. It is already found in plants and animals. In fact, animals that are zinc deficient require 50% more sustenance than those that have adequate amounts. So that works with a very strict diet. Plating thin layers of zinc onto iron is known as galvanizing and helps protect iron from corrosion. My logic is blood is drained, and then the victim drinks the vamp blood. It makes the remaining iron in the victim’s blood stronger and protects it. Also drinking blood makes them stronger. Zinc plays a key role in sexual maturation. Vampires are sexy devils so they should be full of zinc and really sexually mature. Translation = HOT!

So, I decided to use zinc as the key element in vampire blood. I like the idea of having traces of mercury to help explain the decreased body temperature. Its poisonous nature was also key. Then, I started to look at what would be in their blood to cause the weakness in sunlight. I started playing with silver oxide and then thought of increasing the amount of collagen. Collagen works because it is what keeps your skin looking all young and sexy. Again = HOT!

After I had nearly had the composition makeup of vampire plasma, I remembered that my original question was- what does it taste like? Back to zinc. Smelled it, tasted it, and researched it more on the internet and came up with that it is very sour.

Then I needed to know what ingesting high quantities of vamp blood would do. You know like if one wanted to bring a human over. Well based on my made up version of vamp blood, I needed to know what a zinc overdose would feel like. And more research is born. The answer to that IS in the book.

And so on and so on. Any of you guys actual chemists? If so, I’d be interested in hearing any ideas and thoughts. I tried to read a peer reviewed paper on the reaction between mercury and zinc. It could have been in Swahili and made more sense.

Now, I am off to find a tiny body of water in the middle of nowhere. The answer to that… will also be in the book. J

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