What’s it like to be raised by vampires?
Samantha Sullivan is a twenty one year old student at Glasgow University. Born in Germany and raised in America she has a bubbly personality that belies her strange upbringing. Between the ages of five and thirteen she was part raised by her stepmother Doctor Catriona MacGregor. After her stepmother’s disappearance over the Gulf of Mexico, she and her father went to live with Catriona’s friends in Chicago who were all long time associates of famed supermodel Elizabeth McIvor. Thus between then and now, vampires continued her education. I had an opportunity to catch up with Samantha at Doctor MacGregor’s home in Hillhead to learn more.
You say that you were raised by vampires, first your stepmother and then her friends. Did you ever at any moment have any idea they were vampires?
Samantha: God, if I did I think I’d have run a mile. I had no idea at all. They were very generous with their time, sophisticated, charming and funny. If I’d been looking for vampires I would never have singled out any one of them as being a vampire.
Staying with that question for a moment. How did they seem different to their peers?
Samantha: More intelligent and wise perhaps. They were all multilingual of course. I once caught Anna reading a copy of War and Peace, in Russian. She said it was better in the Russian and I just stared at all these strange symbols and said something like, ‘cool’ and that was it. Mom had been able to read Russian newspapers and signs when we went to Moscow. The only thing that seemed kinda odd was the fact Anna was so young, in her early twenties at the time, but as she told me a few weeks later, if you learn languages when you’re younger then it’s easier to pick up new languages as you get older. I’m not sure if that answers the question. I just found them to be fascinating people who always seemed to know the answer to my questions.
What is your fondest memory of your stepmother?
Samantha: You want me to pick just one?
One or two perhaps?
Samantha: Going horse riding would probably be one that springs to mind. We’d go out to her friend’s farm and take the horses out for a few hours. We would usually go in a big circle and stop for lunch, she’d pack lunches for us and we’d sit and just enjoy the quietness. Most of the time we’d be totally alone, I felt closer to her then because there were no phone calls or people needing her attention. I guess the times when dad went out bowling with his buddies or had to go out for a night would be treasured memories too because I had her all to myself. She was comforting even when she said nothing, I just felt as if nothing could hurt me while I was around.
Well even without knowing she was a vampire I guess you’d feel pretty safe.
Samantha: Yeah, she had that aura about her. I remember one time we stopped for gas and going back to your earlier question about strange things happening. When we pulled up there was a robbery taking place inside. Dad couldn’t see because he had his back to the building and there was this guy dressed as a security guard stopping people from going inside. Dad turned to go inside and mom called for him to get back in the car. When he got in the car she told him to sit and wait and he’s like, ‘why? I want to get back home for the game.’ She opened the glove compartment and slipped the safety off on dad’s pistol and said, ‘start the engine, there’s a robbery taking place.’ Just then this guy came out with a bag and a gun, and he and the security guard started running for their car. Dad just froze but mom had her hand on the gun and kept her voice level as she told me to get on the floor and stay there. These guys took off with a screech of tyres and when I was finally allowed to get up dad was looking pale and a bit shaky but mom was as steady as a rock. She hadn’t taken her hand off that gun the whole time and I don’t doubt she would have used it to protect us. The weirdest thing about it was that we never knew a robbery was taking place but she’d known while dad was filling the tank. I know now it was her super sensitive hearing but back then I just thought she was you know, kinda heroic. I mean even afterwards when the cops were interviewing us she was calm and gave a pretty good description, even down to the license plate.
For a moment there I thought you were going to say she started shooting.
Samantha: (giggles) That’s such a cliché. It happens in the movies a lot but in the real world it’s different. She would have used it to defend us but not to stop them.
After her disappearance you moved to Chicago where you were met more vampires and Elizabeth McIvor. What were your first impressions of Elizabeth?
Samantha: I guess a bit overwhelmed at first but she’d been in contact with mom for a couple of years, actually quite a bit longer but I just thought it had been since the September attacks in New York when dad stayed at her New York house. I first met her in New Orleans and I’ll never forget the way she acted when she stepped inside. There was none of the star quality about her, she was polite, friendly and attentive and I suppose that’s the way big celebrities are but Elizabeth seemed pretty down to earth to me. Later on when I was in her home I saw a different side to her altogether, you really couldn’t meet a nicer person. She may not be one of my official aunts but to me she’s much more than an aunt and way much more fun than my real aunts. Can I say that without hurting someone’s feelings?
I guess you say it how it is. Moving forward to the Chicago vampires of Clan Grey Raven. How did you cope being surrounded by them?
Samantha: (frowns) It’s a difficult question because up until recently I had no idea any of them were vampires. I thought a vampire was something you saw on the big screen or between the covers of a book and these people were nothing like those vampires. I guess to put the monster to bed, they were kind, generous, wise, fun loving, and not once did any of them try to put one over on me or make me feel like I was worth less than anyone else. The only difficulty that I can see with hindsight is that I was exposed to adult concepts at a much earlier age. Subjects such as the birds and the bees, sexual health and well-being, politics and religion were all discussed and I was never left out of the conversation. You could ask them anything and they’d answer it or promise to get back to you once they had an answer, which was rare by the way. That caused some problems at school though.
What kind of problems?
Samantha: Mainly to do with essays that I handed in. I remember having to do an essay in my Sophomore year at high school about the atomic bomb and the reasons for dropping it. I had a couple of other essay choices but picked that one when Shina started talking about the effects of radiation poisoning on the civilians. I found out just recently that she and mom had worked in Japan as nurses just after the war. Anyway, I got all fired up and started researching and Shina was a great help. I remember saying to Anna that it was almost like she’d been there and she just smiled but to cut to the chase, handed in an essay that basically accused Truman of playing the part of God. Well, that got me into trouble and dad was summoned to a parent teacher interview. Dad was the coolest because he read through the essay and then threw it back on the desk and said. “So my daughter has just exercised her First Amendment rights, so what’s the problem?” This teacher got all defensive and she backed down pretty smartly. There were other times like when we were doing a pop quiz, where after I’d given my answer, the teacher would make an extra effort to find more contrasting opinions in an attempt to make me feel outnumbered. About midway through high school I found I wasn’t being allowed to answer at all. When dad raised the matter at a parent teacher meeting it changed for a month or two and then went back the way it was before.
Was part of this persecution because of your association with Elizabeth McIvor?
Samantha: Perhaps that might have been at the back of it. I had been pictured going into her house on more than one occasion, but if that’s so then it was never obvious. I did get a bit of trouble from girls however because of her. They expected me to come to school dressed like a model and when I didn’t then I was a bitch whore or tramp. The prettier girls used to really lay it on me from time to time but once I got into my last year a lot of that stopped because by then I’d started fighting back. Not so much physical but more intellectual, I had a sharp tongue back then and it’s still pretty lethal today and I have to attribute that to the Grey Ravens. I learned insults from experts.
How did Elizabeth react to this kind of persecution?
Samantha: In private she was very concerned and I can she she made an extra effort to make sure I was handling it okay. Publicly she just stated that I was getting art tutoring from Melanie and that was actually the truth, she just left out the part that there’s no back fence between their properties so I could just wander over any time I was there and we’d sit and talk. To be honest, I was more concerned about some of the things the reporters wrote about her. I recall one time this right wing commentator on tv really cut into her and I was in tears when I walked into her kitchen. She just looked at me like I’d grown two heads and then put her arm around me and said. “Don’t worry about that asshole, I got his number. He’s being paid large sums of money by the Tea Party to say that kind of shit, come on, let’s see what we can cook today.’ It was that casual as well and I know those kinds of things can hurt her, but she’s been in the public eye for as long as she can remember and as a result she was determined that I’d have as normal an upbringing as possible. The only time she ever got mad was when the media picked on me. There was one guy who lost his radio slot when he inferred that Elizabeth was grooming me. It took one phone call and he was out of a job, I heard recently he’d started doing podcasts from his home although I don’t know if he’s getting many listeners.
Having lost your biological mother when you were born, what do you feel about her now?
Samantha: You like to ask difficult questions! Um, I’m immensely grateful to her for going through with the pregnancy but saddened too that she never got to hold me. Birthdays for me were always a bitter sweet time, because on the one hand you celebrate you but you’re also mindful that someone died to give you life. Cat was very aware of that and used to take me out to the grave once a year to lay flowers. Dad saw the grave once when we got back to America but after that he stayed away. Cat on the other hand was never afraid to confront death. One of the things she told me after that first visit to the grave was that she was looking after me because my mom couldn’t do it. I must have said something like I didn’t want her to die like my mom.
And yet she can’t die.
Samantha: Oh she can but like all vampires she’s hard to kill, so I’m told.
Now that you’ve been reunited, what are some of the practical aspects about living with a vampire?
Samantha: (giggles) You mean do I have to make sure there’s plenty of blood? Well that aspect is taken care of by mom, she gets her own supply from the local guild, it’s synthetic blood but it has all the same characteristics as blood. I never have to worry about that but I do have to be mindful of the fact that dad doesn’t know she’s alive. As far as he knows I’m living with Cat’s cousin in Glasgow. We get Tabitha, one of mom’s friends, to play the part of the cousin and now and again whenever she’s here I’ll get her to answer the phone when I see it’s dad calling. It’s deceitful but necessary if we want to keep things on an even keel. We’ve talked about how she might come out but up until now we haven’t gotten any further forward. Dad was very much in love with her and now he’s with Julie it’s complicated and Cat kind of hangs back. Security is a priority as well, I can’t just bring anyone home. I have to let mom know first and she’s always okay about it but she has a fixation with being in control of who’s in the house whenever she’s out. Stands to reason I guess when you’ve been hunted all your life just because of who you are.
What are your plans for the future?
Samantha: To finish college, finally. I’ve got just under eighteen months to go and after that we’ll see. I may even go for a doctorate providing I can do it here. I know in time I have to go back to America and part of me really misses the place but right now I’m just enjoying being here with mom and catching the sun whenever it peeks out from behind the clouds.
Samantha Sullivan is an arts student at Glasgow University, where she is completing a degree in Fine Arts. In her spare time she loves just getting out and about with her camera and thinks Glasgow is one of the most photogenic cities she’s ever visited.
When my stepmom’s plane went down a part of me died, Cat was my world. In her place she left us to her friends, the Grey Ravens. Over the years I slowly came to realise her death was a mere facade. When we were reunited I learned the truth about Clan Grey Raven and her remarkable history. Some people will always love. Some people never lose hope. Some people never die…Smashwords Amazon.com Amazon UK