Today, I have something a little different for you – an interview with vegan author Martin Treanor. There are not many books out there with a hard hitting vegan cop as a main character, and I think this is a great way to further launch veganism into the mainstream. Martin is an Irish fiction writer and guest blogger for The Huffington Post. His published works include his recent novel: Hellmaw: Dark Creed ( The Ed Greenwood Group, 2017) and his Amazon bestselling, début novel: The Silver Mist (BK Publishing USA, 2011).
Hellmaw is Ed Greenwood’s (creator of Forgotten Realms®) darkest setting to date, and Martin’s book introduces us to Boston Police Detective Charlie Delaney as she investigates a modern day sect, the leader of which may not be as innocent as he first appears.
Martin has also published stories and articles in Canadian & US speculative fiction magazines Spinetingler and Zahir, The Spinetingler Short Story Anthology, Carillon (UK), Tivoli Magazine (Denmark and Greenland), and The Dubliner Magazine (Scandinavia and South Africa). He was also contributor to Jonathan Maberry’s non-fiction book: They Bite; Citadel, 2009.
Martin, What made you decide to go vegan?
The animals – simple as that. I became vegetarian when I saw how pigs and calves were being treated in the meat industry. I think I fooled myself that, if I only bought home produced eggs and milk I could trace back to the organic farm, I was doing enough for animal welfare. My opinion changed when I looked closely at how these farms work, and became vegan.
In your latest book, DARK CREED, you have a vegan main character – was this intentional?
Yes – absolutely. My publisher – The Ed Greenwood Group – was keen to have protagonists and antagonists that are not mainstream or overdone. I thought it would be good to have a hard hitting cop, in Boston, who is tracking a shape-changing daemon, and who was also vegan. Charlie Delaney likes to be out there. She is conscious of everything, and logical, which helps her see the conspiracies going on around her. She was fun to write.
Will we see more vegan characters in other books?
Yup – definitely. Writing is about reflecting society in all its diversity. And the stereotype is getting a bit tiring now – the prerequisite lentil eating, airy fairy loon who at every turn has to go and ‘drain the tofu’. Cue looks of confusion and pity on the faces of his/her meat eating friends. Oh – and ‘what about bacon’.
In reality, this is a dead concept, and I think weak writing. Vegans are like Charlie Delaney: strong, motivated, normal people. Veganism also adds a dimension to a character that leaves the reader thinking – and that is what writing is all about.
How have your characters been received and have you received any criticism?
Very well actually. In that I haven’t received a single negative comment. Veganism is mainstream now – and growing. It might take a while but, like vegetarianism, it will continue to grow. The health benefits alone will see to that.
Do you think literature is a good platform for spreading the vegan message and raising awareness?
It is – in that literature must reflect the human condition: good, bad, indifferent, the whole hog. A book isn’t, and shouldn’t be a manifesto. It is fiction and should stay that way. But, within it, there should be elements of everything that makes humankind the wonderful pool of diversity it is. It should expose the warts and celebrate the shininess. It’s all about the story – and whatever helps make the story can engage the reader.
What’s your favourite vegan food?
Oh – bloody hell. I love food. I’m a big grub-o-phile. If I had to pick – and I suppose I do – I would say tofu chow mein, done with vermicelli rice noodles – oh, and ice cream. Vegan vanilla ice cream (especially the new one from Fry’s) is the best – way creamier than the cow stuff. It’s the dog’s doodahs.
Where’s the best place you’ve travelled to when touring for finding vegan options?
Without a doubt, Berlin. They really know how to do it there. Practically every café or restaurant – those that aren’t fully vegan – have, as a standard, many vegan options on the menu.
Also Leicestershire and Nottingham – I know, who would have thought? But, yes, even in a small village called Sileby there are vegan option in all 3 cafes, in particular one I came across called The Green Place, which is totally veggie/vegan. Leicester is terrific (not just the curry houses – there are many pubs and restaurants offering vegan food), as is Nottingham. In my opinion, both cities have way more options than London.
Martin in his element exploring a creepy old house
Other than veganism, do you have any other areas of ethical or environmental concern?
At home, we are totally chemical free – dish-washing, laundry, personal cosmetics, it’s all made natural and biodegradable. It wasn’t hard to transfer to either. I try not to buy things I don’t need. We buy organic and fair trade where possible. Our power is totally renewable – and I have a Fairphone.
I’m of the opinion that life means much more than a race to accumulate as much stuff as we can before we snuff it.
And, it’s way more fun when we’re free to think and play.
What are your biggest successes?
I am over the moon that my first novel, The Silver Mist, became an Amazon Bestseller. And I hope it went some way to changing how we look at people with Down’s Syndrome. And I am very happy with the way Dark Creed turned out. Working with Ed Greenwood (the creator of Dungeon and Dragons Forgotten Realms) is both a privilege and an honour. The guy is a legend – and a pleasure to work with.
What are your plans for the future?
I am currently running down the final redraft of my next, stand alone book. And will be starting my first Stormtalons novel for TEGG – which is sword and sorcery type of setting. I have another Hellmaw novel to begin later in the year – so it’s a busy time. My poor wee fingertips will be red raw by Christmas.
Dark Creed is currently available in e-book format with paperback and special limited edition hardback to follow in the future. You can purchase on Amazon and other good e-book retailers.
To find out more about Martin and his writing, you can visit his website.