I am seeking representation for The Changeling, my MG Magical Realism/Fantasy, complete at 59,000 words.
Most girls go through puberty to become a woman, Georgie goes through puberty and discovers she’s an angel…
Georgie is an angel but she doesn’t know it, as she was mistakenly born to ordinary parents in Grimsby. One day, in the shower, Georgie discovers two large growths: one on each shoulder. The lumps grow through puberty as she experiences increasingly strange, supernatural events. Georgie enlists her best friend, Vinita, to help solve these mysteries but their joint investigation unravels a terrible family secret and an impossible choice between two worlds.
The Changeling is a first person narrative told from the point of view of thirteen year old Georgie who retells the first half of the story from a crisis point in order to rationalise recent experiences. The supernatural events increase in intensity as Georgie unpicks the truth about her father’s illness, are they somehow linked? When she is given the chance to enter the Angelic Realm, her birth right, Georgie thinks she might have found a way to save her dad from his terminal diagnosis. But faced with a new world order where she doesn’t fit in, can Georgie find a cure for her dad before she fully transforms into an angel and is unable to return home?
The Changeling is a cross between Skellig and the supernatural realm of The City of Angels. Written for upper middle-grade readers it was inspired by own experience as a thirteen year old when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. People around me didn’t talk about it and therefore neither did I. My father thought this was the best way of protecting me but I know, now, that it wasn’t. I wanted to find a way to write about that experience positively for young teenagers/tweens needing to confront a similar thing but also needing some fictional distance to do it.
In the story it is unclear as to whether the supernatural events that take place are real or a fantasy of Georgie’s own making. It is possible for Georgie’s perception to be entirely true or a product of her own creation that enables her to process the emotional fallout from her father’s illness.
I am a working class Northern writer with a background in children’s theatre. I was awarded an Arts Council grant to write a dystopian MG fantasy inspired by historical events and researched with children’s input which resulted in, The Spies of Ornia. I have also written blogs, articles for local papers, am part of the Penistone Writers’ Group, a SCBWI member and was commissioned by the Wakefield NHS Trust to write a picture book for new parents, The Accidental Animals, on hazards in the home. The Changeling is my third novel.
My Dad told me once about the moment he knew he had lived before. It was when he was thirteen, like me. He was sitting on the toilet. I think that’s when Einstein, or someone like him, had one of his break through ideas. I imagine it was a bit like that for my dad: sitting on the outside loo with a cold draft creeping up his legs from under the door. And suddenly, BAM, this massive chunk of knowledge hits him hard, as if the thought was the lid of the rusty cistern toppling onto his head from above.
I’ve been here before in another life!
He must have looked up from where he was sat, smelling the whiff of rotten fish drifting in from the docks and seeing the red brick walls of the damp terrace as if for the first time.
I don’t belong here.
I won’t ever forget that conversation. My dad is not a mystical man. He’s not into religion. He’s logical. Logic is his measuring stick: if something is logical it’s good and if it’s illogical it’s bad. He likes it when I behave logically and he hates it when my mum doesn’t. So, it was quite a surprise to hear him talk about a whole other life he thought he might have had before this one. But, then again, maybe that was his rational explanation for feeling the way he did? There had to be a reason, you see, even if the explanation was a little bit, you know, out there…
Me? I’ve never thought much about whether I belonged. Never needed to. Ever since I was old enough to remember people have said, “You’ve got your dad’s chin.” Or, “Don’t you take after your father!” So, while I may have pretended to have the same secret fantasies as some of the other art club gang: like being an orphan and having a whole other family that live an outrageously exciting life in London or abroad somewhere. In actual fact, I’ve always known that my mum and dad are my real life parents and that I was born into a normal Grimsby house on an ordinary Grimsby street like any other typical Grimsby kid.
The thing is, though, I can’t find an ordinary explanation for what I’ve just seen and all the strange events leading up to it. I think even my dad would struggle to find one. That’s why I’m here, in the churchyard, lying on top of William’s grave trying to figure it all out: am I going slowly mad or is there a rational explanation for it all?