Research is one of the most unheralded tasks a proper author must do. It can take several hours of research to get a single sentence to be correct.
In Chapter One of “Vampire Invasion” (book three of the Vampire Syndrome Saga), Lilith’s inner monologue says:
“I stride over to my 1930 Cadillac V-16 roadster, kneel down to unlock the battery compartment door, and then remove the charger cables.”
This sentence alone took me several hours of research. I was already well aware (from my personal experience at car shows and museums) that the battery in a 1930’s Cadillac V-16 is NOT under the car’s hood, as the giant sixteen-cylinder engine occupies virtually all of the underhood area. So any author who would write “I open the hood and remove the charger cables” would commit a major detail error, right off the *bat*. 😉
Since I am not Clive Cussler and do not have his classic auto collection at my disposal, I downloaded and read the 1930 Cadillac Service Manual. Even an oil change would be costly for this million-dollar ride, as the giant engine holds five gallons of motor oil. 3:)
So now that Lilith is removing the battery charger cables in the proper manner, it is fair to ask why. The human Vampires have been aware for centuries that the beings from planet Sek’Met have “black lightning” guns. When the mothership lands on the Human Vampires’ compound, Lilith (and others) instantly realize that the “black lightning” gun is an EMPD (electro-magnetic pulse discharge) weapon (a concept the Vampires didn’t fully grasp several centuries ago).
Such weapons will disable cars with electronic ignitions or computers, so any car from the 1970’s to date will be vulnerable. Hence, my characters are fleeing/attempting to flee the scene in older cars. An astute reader who read “Vampire Syndrome” (book one) might ask why Lilith didn’t try to flee in her 1967 Corvette, or for Damien, his 1960 Plymouth. My answer: Those cars are retrofitted with electronic ignitions (a common upgrade for 1950’s and 60’s cars). When you are in the process of fleeing your compound due to an alien invasion, you would not have the time to convert the cars back to their original mechanical points-and-condenser ignition systems.
And if you think this car research is exhausting, try reconciling your vampire backstory with thousands of years of worldwide folklore, and have your story make sense in both folkloric and scientific terms… 😈
PS: Note that the TV Series “Jericho” showed characters driving older vehicles after a large electro-magnetic pulse discharge cuts off their “restored” power.