How annoying is it when you are just getting into a good book, starting to identify with, or at least sympathize with, the protagonist, and then get thoroughly turned off when they sit down to enthusiastically eat a dead animal? Today, author Christine Melanie Benson joins us for a conversation about her recently published debut novel, Marrying Myself, in which, happily, the heroine just happens to be vegan. Christine actually switched to eating plants while she was already working on her novel, and she tells us how she ended up incorporating veganism and animal advocacy into the book. But, of course, her purpose was not just to make her vegan readers happy, but to reach others, and she shares her thoughts on why the arts seem to make people more receptive to veganism and how she carefully balances vegan messaging with storytelling. Plus, she also shares details of her new podcast, The Vegan Posse, and the community support groups for vegans that she has hosted for the last five years in her hometown of Nashville.
*We are thrilled to expand the accessibility of our podcast by offering written transcripts of the interviews! Click here to read Jasmin’s interview with Christine Melanie Benson*
An attorney who’s been running from the law her entire professional life, Christine Melanie Benson is also a short story author, legal writer, news satire writer, and host of the Vegan Posse podcast. Her experience includes over a decade as a regular freelance legal writer for Baltimore’s The Daily Record law digest, and her fiction works have been featured in An Eclectic Mix Anthology, RomanticShorts.com, The Binnacle Maine Literary Journal, and satire website TheSpoof!. Marrying Myself is Christine’s first novel. Formerly of Boston and New York City, Christine now makes her home in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Vegans are craving representation in fiction.” – Christine Melanie Benson
Highlights for Episode 678:
- How Julia, the main character in Marrying Myself, changed Christine as she was writing her
- The power of the arts and advocacy in fiction
- Does making your main character vegan limit your chances of getting a publisher?
- How writing her novel became a spiritual experience for Christine
- How Christine incorporates information about animal agriculture into her novel and how much is the right amount
- Challenges a new writer faces in getting a book deal
- What Christine is working on next
- Christine’s podcast, The Vegan Posse, and how it allows her to share conversations with the interesting, quirky people she has met on her vegan travels and adventures
- Why she started the Nashville-based group Vegan Peace, which aims to support vegans and those troubled by animal exploitation.
- Why Christine founded Vegan 101, which shares all the must-have nutritional information for those making the vegan leap
- ‘I’ll stop saying I don’t eat meat – and tell people I don’t eat animals’: the thing I’ll do differently in 2023
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The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by Michael Harren.
This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at awfw.org.