This is the last blog post from the road tour for the release of Bannockburn Binding, so long ago that all the blogs where I toured have since disappeared.
While I was updating this one, I found a reference to other blog posts that were in my site, once, but have also disappeared because of crashes and emergency relocations…oh, how I wish I had kept the posts on my hard drive! — t.
I’ve written a good many vampire novels now. The fanged ones have featured in over half-a-dozen of my invented universes. I always like to explain in my fictional universes not just where vampires came from and how they came into being (or at least hint at it in the shorter works), but I also like to explain (or outline) why vampires are vampires: how their physiologies work, and why they are the way they are.
Of course, I have to figure that out for myself, too, and often, coming up with answers for each new book or series, means I end up supplying myself with some really good source material for conflict, problems or interesting scenes and character building.
It would be fair to say that I’ve spent a fair amount of time ruminating about how a vampire might form and how his or her physiology might work under all sort of interesting situations.
For me, it’s not good enough to simply say vampires exist because they’re magic and therefore they just are. I mean, you can certainly say that. Magic excuses and creates a whole lot of things in the paranormal world.
But ultimately, it’s just not all that satisfying. It’s like having a get out of jail free card: The game doesn’t feel exciting enough if you know you can escape scott free by producing the card if you get caught. The stakes are not high enough. The game isn’t real enough.
Television and movies learned and understand this lesson about fiction and reader satisfaction extremely well. There are always limits to power and consequences when it is used, especially when it isn’t used wisely. I spent an entire other post on this blog tour, talking about the consequences of paranormal powers, so I won’t get into that side issue here.
But I will point out that True Blood is a very good example of a vampire world that demonstrates the writers have thought about the constructs and limitations of their vampires’ physiologies, and built those limitations into the story and character conflicts. There’s one particularly powerful scene that MM and MMF romance lovers should remember well: Sam’s dream in the first episode of Season 3, when Bill comes to visit. I won’t lay down spoilers here, but if you’re curious and don’t mind spoilers, you can click through and check out pictures and all the spoilers you want here.
I construct histories and physiologies for my vampires, along with powers and talents. In Blood Knot, for example, because Winter is able to reach inside people’s physiologies by touch, she is able to analyse vampires and she figures out they are running what amounts to a different operating system, while their human operating system is in hibernation. Sort of like Apple and DOS (what we know as Windows, these days)…or should that be BOS (Blood Operating System?). She is able to switch on one or the other temporarily (and at cost),
In the Beloved Bloody Time series, I went in a different direction altogether. The series is set in the 23rd century, and for the first time in one of my vampire worlds, vampires are “out” and known to humans. I thought it would make sense to have figured out by then that vampires are what they are because of a symbiot creature that resides in their blood, feeding on it. They need blood to feed the symbiot, who in turn maintains and restores their physiologies in exactly the same state the symbiot found it in when it took up residence, once it repaired any ill-health.
This was a bit of a twist on my usual take on vampires for me, because it takes away any “magic” or paranormal slant. It’s a scientific explanation. Oh, there’s still a ton of paranormal stuff going on in the series, including century’s worth of time-travelling. There’s also a lot of romance and sexy stuff jammed in there, too. 😉 But the vampires have spent a couple of centuries justifying their existence to humans, so they’ve scrambled to learn more about themselves, and their knowledge spills out across the pages of the book as they constantly struggle to maintain a legitimate place in the world against a whole swathe of people who would rather vampires had never really existed in the first place.
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