The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across the keyboard.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Well That Sucks - a Blood Primer for Vampire Lovers with Jennifer Hilt

A big ThrillWriting welcome to Jennifer Hilt. Jennifer will you tell us a bit about you?

Jennifer - 
I'm a USA Today Bestselling author. I write PNR and Urban Fantasy. I'm super excited about my upcoming series, "The Undead Detective" featuring a vampire medical examiner. I have undergraduate degrees in Linguistics and Nursing. I have a MA in English Literature. I've been in Indie publishing for a few years but writing fiction for many years.

Fiona -
So, I will fess up and tell you that I am not a huge reader of Vampire books, but when I read them I always think that there's not enough chatter about blood. I mean, I talk about my recipes, I post pictures of great food I've eaten. I'm sure there's a reason why you would have an instagram account about your newest "dish" if you were a vampire but isn't there a lot that one should know? Let's take for example, has anyone considered the flavoring? I know that mothers need to be careful what they eat when they breastfeed their child. Do you think that our diet would affect a Vampires diet?

Jennifer -
Most people are probably familiar with Charlaine Harris either through her Sookie Stackhouse books or "True Blood" TV show. Who doesn't love Pam and Erik as Vampires? Garlic is a common antidote to vampires in lore. Sookie Stackhouse only ate it when she was mad at her vampire boyfriend. 

Fiona - 
Your vampire is in the blood business - a medical examiner. 
Here you have a vampire who is a detective, and I'm assuming an expert when it comes to blood 

Let's start with the best place for a vampire to get their blood. Vein V. artery and why.

Jennifer -
This information I'm giving you is based on real medical facts. My favorite source is WebMD. 

Starting in facts is great but when creating your own fictional world please be free to make your own rules. As long as you explain them to the reader, they will go along with them. 

That said, blood's job is to provide nourishment and oxygen to cells and remove waste. The average human has a little more than a gallon of blood in his/her body. 

Blood is made up of three different types of cells. 

  • Red blood cells carry oxygen.
  • White blood cells fight off infection. 
  • Platelets create clots

A vein would be a more practical place to take blood because:

  1. Veins are closer to the surface than arteries. 
  2. Veins are easier to pierce than arteries 
  3. Veins have lower blood pressure (you don't want the volunteer to bleed out & lose all their blood). 
There are 2 types of blood vessels in our bodies: arteries and veins. Arteries carry oxygen rich blood away from heart to the rest of our body. Veins carry oxygen poor blood back to the heart. This is why the heart is really just a pump. 

Fiona - 
In several books I've read, a vampire's back up plan if they can't get to fresh blood is to go to a blood bank. How practical is this? Is blood already seperated into redblood cells and platelettes? 

How hard would it be for someone to slip a bag or two out of the common hospital supply?
Jennifer - 
A blood bank is a feasible option if you don't want your vampire chasing humans around all the time. For example, you could certainly have a blood bank employee selling blood on the side to vampires. 

In actuality, there are several reasons why it would be hard to do in the 'real' world. The biggest challenge is humans are pretty skeptical about coming into contact with anyone else's blood. And for good reason, HIV and Hepatitis are two such diseases transmitted by blood. The world being what is, no one is going to let you take any blood out of a blood bank other than in your own body. If it is going to the hospital you can be sure it is transported securely.

I think vampire writers can view blood as an opportunity to enrich their story and most importantly add conflict. Sure it increases the vampire libido. But don't forget blood can carry pathogens aka diseases. If those can impact your vampire you have the need for blood & a healthy reason to fear it. Same thing goes for substances mixed in the blood such as medication or recreational drugs. What if your vampire ingested blood that contained something that made him ill or act differently? It's another way to increase tension. Don't be afraid to push the boundaries of what 'blood' can do in a story. 

Fiona - 
So let's talk about pathogens in blood. As a volunteer with Search and Rescue we have to take precautions, do vampires need to do this?

Would your detective vampire need nitrile gloves?

Jennifer - 
My vampire detective wears gloves to not contaminate the scene with her fingerprints. She's not able to contract human diseases but she wears gloves for autopsies because she's a professional. She enjoys the torture of loving the smell of blood and being deep in but resisting her desire to indulge. It's a pride thing.

Fiona - 

Does being in a room where a victim who was exsanguinated make a vampire hungry? What happens when he's found blood and needs to process it - is he ever tempted just to lick it a little?

Jennifer - 
Exsanguination is the process of draining blood. My vampire does get very hungry being around fresh blood at work. She gets around this by feeding from her human. But some less scrupulous vampires might be tempted to sample the goods. Vampires want to suck blood from a vein so as not to kill their blood source (and waste all that blood). 

From a practical medical standpoint, the best sources to draw blood is the inside of the arm (crook of the elbow). This is not terribly sexy or exciting so vampires often go for the jugular vein in the neck or a groin vein.

Blood only makes up 8% of our body. I found that surprising. My detective was the first female physician in the UK in the 19th century. She's been a MD for a long time. Vampire physicians are considered the top of the heap in the profession because of their immortality and willingness to take all the night shifts.

Fiona - 
How fun is this?

Need more about blood?
CSI Blood Collection and Preservation LINK
Crime Scene Blood Patterns (ThrillWriting article) LINK
Serology - (Body Fluids) (ThrillWriting articles) LINK

Here is Jennifer's blurb for her book:

Stakes, Spies & Alibis: A Silverthorne novella

Harriet Silverthorne--vampire, assassin, and Victorian lady--has the fate of the British Empire on her lace covered shoulders. Her mission? Find a traitor. To succeed she must face the most difficult assignment of her undead career, surviving a snowed in Scottish house party packed with paranormal delegates and worst of all being assigned a colleague, the human Sherlock Holmes. Silverthorne always works alone, it’s the vampire way.

Luckily, there’s one hot spot in her frigid assignment, a Scottish demon lord whose love for weapons and security equals her own. Mixing a bit of business with pleasure isn’t forbidden—yet.

But when sabotage, dark magic and murder strike the party, Silverthorne struggles with supernatural egos, the safety of a lovesick Princess, and a truly deplorable lack of pockets. Will she save the Empire and more importantly, survive her partnership with Holmes? 

 Thank you for supporting Jennifer and ThrillWriting by purchasing yours today. We really appreciate it! ~ Fiona  

Stay in touch with Jennifer HERE

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