London, April 1987
Dreyfuss holds all the cards: money, power and no conscience. He steals Joanne from the busy streets in a moment; she wakes in a room with no windows. He spends months schooling her to obey, tearing her down with pain and terror. When she begins to break, as hope of escape fades... he reveals his final madness: he is vampire. She too, will be vampire: his Changeling. A greater battle begins. All she has is her will and the need to be free. Can she keep fighting, or will he win?
How long can she stay human?
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Morgan Gallagher is in her late 40s, and should know better, about spending her writing life with vampires. However, she has no choice, as they refuse to go away and leave her alone.
Morgan has been writing since she was 12 years old, and turned her hand to many things, in order to earn her bread. As a mature student, she earned a first class honours degree in Film & English Studies from UEA, studied at Masters level in Film & Television at Warwick University, and undertaken research into teaching creativity as part of a Masters in Media Education at the British Film Institute. As part of her undergraduate degree, she took several units in creative writing at UEA, gaining 97% for one assignment, a department record. She is also a fully qualified Drama Teacher.
Currently caring full time for her severely disabled husband and raising her six year old son, she spends much of her time in volunteer and charity work, helping support mothers and babies in trouble, particularly those in need of breastfeeding support and advocacy. She has been involved in campaigns to stop child detention at Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre and campaigns for babies’ human rights. Her lactavist writings are well known and widely circulated and she talks at conferences and events, on both breastfeeding and Film & Television.
Severely dyslexic, none of this is easy. Why does she write? “I don’t have a choice. It just is. You may as well ask, why do I breathe?”
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I’ve been writing the whole of my life, really! I’ve always incorporated lots from my everyday life and observations, into my creative thinking. It all travels along the same path into my subconscious, really. I started the first page of the novel, on the day I had a very difficult day with a psychotherapist I was seeing for a sustained writer’s block. I felt my mind was being bored into, by this other being, who wanted to see inside me and see how I ticked. Immediately after the session I wrote the scene where Dreyfuss first feeds from Joanne, and she resists. That’s how I felt that day.
About a year before, Suzy Lamplugh had vanished into thin air in London, and there was a huge media fuss about how someone could literally disappear without trace in busy London, in plain view one moment, and gone the next. I was in and around London a great deal at that time, and it had always stuck in my head that the world around us was transient, if it could be stolen away from us, in a moment. This melded with the later scene of the blood taking, and became... what if the person, who took you, was a vampire? It just made sense to me, that people can be stolen, utterly, and completely and what if the person who did the taking, wasn’t human?
Most horror writers are male, and women are often fodder in horror stories, and they die horribly but the reality is ducked. I don’t duck. The traditional vampire creeps into your bedroom at night, beds you against your will and sucks your soul, and free will from you. They change you to their image, and as a female consumer you are supposed to thrill to the darkness wooing you and tremble with hidden desires at the touch of the invader. You fall into it, and enjoy the overcoming- all the way back to Lucy Westerna and Mina Harker, this trope appears in vampire fiction. It’s described as romance and adventure. I don’t see it that way. I call it rape.
The name of the novel came out of growing up in Scotland, the legend of the fairy Changelings was a very strong part of my child hood. In Scotland, fairies aren’t cute. They are taller than humans and cut your heart out in a second. They can give you riches in the morning and take your eyes out in the afternoon: capricious and alien. A Changeling is both gifted, and cursed, and belongs with neither humans, nor fairies. Once they are taken, they become in-between people. Humans can want to be taken, as it looks glamorous, and there is the never ageing thing: but it never ends well for them. It was an obvious choice to describe a human being taken by a vampire, and being changed forever.
The next book in the series, “Lucifer’s Stepdaughter” is a much more traditional narrative – lots of people, lots of events, and a puzzle to be solved. Lots of new vampires, and a deeper understanding of the vampire world. Dreyfuss, the only vampire in Changeling, doesn’t always tell the truth, so my main protagonist has to find out what he said that was true, and was false. It’s much more fun than Changeling, but with elements just as dark. It’s over half done, unfortunately, the last half. So a lot of slog in front of me to stitch it together. It’s already quite interesting having people who’ve read Changeling, clamouring for the next one. I’m wondering how I’ll cope with the pressure.