essays and knife wounds

the things you research in the name of a story…

Now, I do know a bit about knife wounds. I worked as a cook for too many years, and as a cook, you not only get to play with fire and hot fat, but great big sharp knives. I have more cuts on me than you can shake a stick at. I even managed to stab my left shin (a long story involving much stupidity on my part) and ended up with seven stitches. So, I can tell you with some authority that getting stabbed with a knife (at least in that part of the body) doesn’t actually hurt, no matter how far the knife point goes in. In the case of my shin, I could feel the knife go in, feel the cold metal inside my skin, and while there was a whole lot of blood coming out (I’m a ‘good bleeder’, according to the doctor), there was no pain. I basically bandaged myself up, hopped into the car, and drove myself to the doctor. At which point, the quack said, ‘gee that’s deep, you’d better get a specialist to patch that up…can you drive yourself to hospital?’ Which I did. The pain didn’t hit until about an hour later. But of course, while some of that background helped me understand the mechanics of a knife wound, I had no idea how a knife wound to a heart would stack up against it. Which is what I was actually writing last night–Riley is about to stab someone–slowly and deliberately–and I didn’t want that person to die straight away. Thing is, the heart is a major organ, and if that packs up, we’re dead meat. Could one stab wound to the heart kill instantly? It does in the movies, but we all know movies ain’t exactly real life :)

So, I went searching. I love the net–you can find all sorts of weird of information on it. Anyway, I found this site that went into great detail about ‘the dubious quick kill’, and guess what? It was all about stab wounds. The upshot is, it is actually possible for someone to live for minutes, hours or even days after a fatel stab wound to the heart. It just depends where the knife stabs. And their doesn’t even have to be a lot of blood, though of course, there will be in this case. Gotta make Riley gross out when she comes out of the ‘killing zone’ and actually feels all the blood on her skin…

Okay, grossing myself out now, so we’ll move on. I’ve never written an essay before–not one on myself, anyway. So when my editor mentioned that Bantam were going to feature Full Moon Rising as their February pick for SpectraPulse (Bantam’s online newsletter),and then asked if I could write a brief essay discussing the book, the writing process, or how I got the idea for the series, I was more than a little…well, scared, to be honest. I mean, I’m not that good about talking about me. Not on a professional level. This blog is about as professional as I get, and I can’t exactly blurt out just any old thing in an official essay like I do here. So, I did what I usually do when stuck–contacted Anne Gracie, a great Aussie author who has probably forgotten more about writing than I will ever know. And if she doesn’t know it, she probably knows someone who does. (That’s the great thing about being involved with the romance community here in Oz–even if you don’t exactly write standard romance. Everyone is always willing to help out, no matter what the problem.) Anyway, Anne pulled out some links to some essays, offered some suggestions, and is currently reading my efforts just to see that it does all make sense. So, an official yay Anne, and thankyou from me. :) The essay, by the way, ended up being a ramble on how I got the idea for the series. Check out the SpectraPulse newsletter in Feb if you want to read it :)