I love paranormal romance. I read it. I write it. I gravitate toward shows where revenants, vampires, and succubi exist, like Wynnona Earp and Lost Girl. (If you haven’t seen them, add them to your list.) But I’m also a science geek. When I’m writing I generally try to ground my paranormal elements in scientific plausibility. My book, Twice Bitten—releasing July 17th—features a man who finds himself transitioning from human to vampire after a vicious attack, but even worse something has gone terribly wrong with that transition. In creating the problems with my hero’s transition, I explored genetic disorders, genetic engineering, and hematology.
One of the topics I started with was porphyria, in specific cutaneous porphyria. If you’re not familiar with porphyria, this is an inherited group of disorders that effects how certain components of blood develop, which in turn leads to nervous system or skin symptoms. This disorder is believed to be at the heart of the origins of both the vampire and werewolf legends. Why? Well, because a person affected by this condition has a sensitivity to sunlight, and in some cases artificial light, which can cause redness, swelling, blistering, and burning pain. Hence the legend of the undead who walks at night is born. Add in that this condition can also cause excessive hair growth anywhere on the body, and you’ve got your werewolves. Now did I need a scientific reason for my vampires to exist? No. But if I was going to work with the idea that my character was stuck in a limbo between human and vampire, I wanted an explanation as to why this problem was occurring. While I could have made something up and made it part of my version of the mythology, I still wanted that plausibility factor.
Since this is a genetic disorder, it only made sense to me to dig into manipulating genes and using gene therapy in an effort to find a cure for my hero. As I was doing research, I came across articles about treating hemophilia with gene therapy. Since we’re talking about vampires, it only made sense to dig deeper into bleeding disorders and how you go about diagnosing and treating them. If I was going to write about scientist searching for a cure to vampirism, I needed to have an understanding of how it worked for myself before I could build a story around it. (I did warn you that I’m a science geek.)
Once I had a handle on the science of my world then I could bring the story to life in a way that is interesting and hopefully a little different without losing that magical paranormal feel. After all, as science fiction author Sir Arthur C. Clarke said, “Magic’s just science we don’t understand yet.”
With a new species of vampire stalking the streets, the stakes are high. But that’s not the only reason hearts are on the line.
Danny Reynolds thought Kieran McCade was the one—true love and hot lust forever—until Danny found out Kier’s bloody secret and ran away screaming. Months later, Danny is facing his own paranormal crisis, and he needs Kieran’s help, but are there enough ways to apologize for breaking a vampire’s heart?
Nothing about Danny’s transformation is normal—not the attack that led to it, and not the symptoms Danny’s plagued with—but being in close proximity to Kieran is even worse than becoming a thing that goes bump in the night. But Danny and Kieran aren’t the only things threatening to bump each other off. Secret organizations and clashing vigilante agendas want to get their hands on Danny. His only hope is to find a fix for his problem before he’s either captured or his abnormal transition starves him to death.
Danny and Kieran might have a real chance to repair their broken romance… but only if they keep Danny alive!
Rayna Vause is a lifetime learner who wants to live on a Disney cruise ship travelling the world and thinks purple should be considered a natural hair color. She’s fascinated by the magic and mystery in the world; things like psychics, demons, cats (especially cats!) and true love. A proud geek, she injects some of her tech-obsessed soul into every story she writes. When not writing she’s planning her next trip to Disney, working through her massive TBR pile, losing herself in a video game, or plotting her next novel.
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