Vanessa Guedes: The power of being a vegan Sci-Fi writer 🥕
"Being vegan causes so much impact; a simple change that can move mountains. Or ice"
Hey everyone! Today’s post is going to be different :)
I am really excited to be talking today with Vanessa Guedes.
Vanessa is a Brazilian software developer, Science Fiction and Fantasy writer. She lives in Sweden and she became vegan in 2019 after being vegetarian for a long time.
In this interview, Vanessa shares:
Her writing projects
Why she became vegan
Her favorite recipes and tips for beginners
Now, let's meet Vanessa :)
Hey Vanessa! Thanks so much for being here. Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Of course. I belong to a matriarchal family of great storytellers, with twelve aunties and uncles, dozens of cousins, and my relatives are involved in all sorts of religions, professions, etc.
Our family holds a rough history, struggling to survive decades of famishing and poverty in Southern Brazil.
That made me build an intense sense of survival and led me to start a career in software development at a very young age, which looked like a promising way to gain my daily bread.
This career took me from Porto Alegre to São Paulo, and then to Stockholm, Sweden. I’ve been passionate about Literature since I learned how to read and write.
My passion for creating my own stories comes from my aunties’ and grandmas’ ability to tell their own, orally. I carry it within myself all the time.
Recently, I started to publish some stories in Portuguese.
You are the founding editor of Eita! Magazine, an Upcoming SFF Brazilian magazine in English. What drove you to start it?
The Brazilian SFF scene has been growing fast in the last couple of years, it is natural that we feel like spreading the word to the English-speaking market. The concept of this magazine was more like a strong idea, shared by many other Brazilian authors.
One of them took the action to create a chat group to talk about it, and some people engaged in this adventure more than others, and here we are now. The first issue will be released in December.
What was the first horror or Science Fiction/Fantasy author that you read?
Probably J.K.Rowling. But right after I got JRR Tolkien, Stephen King, and Garth Nix at the school library. It was quick, I was engulfed by the genre fiction and I was never the same. I think that is what great literature is supposed to do with anyone.
I often say I am vegan because it's easier for people to understand. But there is a distinction between veganism and a plant-based diet. A Plant-based diet is more about what you eat. Veganism, on the other hand, goes beyond what is on your plate. What does it mean to be vegan for you?
Tough question. For me, being vegan means living in the world I dream of. We often try to imagine the future and all the nice (and bad) things that it can bring to humankind’s existence. It is the job of Science Fiction to present it to us, for example. But fiction will be forever a letter from the past, a warning, an old story fashioned as future.
Taking on these speculative realities is a good way to learn empathy, but at the end of the day, we must take responsibility for our actions in the real world. I believe that the real future is made today, right here, right now.
Being vegan is a tiny part of it. But it causes so much impact; a simple change that can move mountains. Or ice. Being vegan is my own way to commit myself to see the world as something greater than the privileged community I live in today.
Acknowledging the suffering of others, breaking with society’s impositions, and doing the minimum I can to let this place called Earth better than when I was born.
Why did you move to Sweden? Were you vegan in Brazil?
I became vegetarian in 2009 when I still lived in Porto Alegre. And became a vegan in 2019, in Stockholm. I can easily say that I have been veg all my adult life. We moved to Sweden in 2015, when my partner, who is also a software developer, got a job here.
I was living and working in Sao Paulo as a freelancer developer, doing remote jobs all over the country. So, I moved here and kept working as a freelancer for the same projects for half a year.
Then I got tired of working from home and got a job in Sweden (it took me two weeks, I guess they were eager for programmers in Europe).
What is the easiest/quickest recipe that you make when you only have ~30min?
I like to make wraps! I can easily stuff them with some leftovers, or whatever I have in cans in the kitchen cabinet. I love cooking with what I have at home, I feel very creative.
I learned the basics of this art with the book The Virgin Vegan, by Linda Long. It teaches you what makes a salad a salad, a soup a soup, and so on.
It explains the basic definition and components of all basic meals in western culture, so you can always follow the principles with unconventional ingredients as long as they can fit a role in the dish. It is fun!
Do you like cooking? What pantry items you can't live without?
I love cooking. It is my favorite way to show my love for people. I can't live without flour, salt, and vinegar. Coffee and wine too, but they are for drinking while I cook.
How do you see the future of veganism and the plant-based diet?
Some day, it will become the standard way to feed people. And I am trying to be healthy enough to see it happen.
Do you have any advice for people thinking of going vegan/plant-based?
Well, find your people. It is so much easier when you have other people on this with you. If there is no one else on a plant-based diet around you, look for online groups. Get dirty, go to Reddit, forums, social media; read blogs, talk about it on Twitter.
Listen to other vegans and find a place to share your thoughts about everything. Watch videos about other people's experiences, documentaries. Read books. If you don't know where to start, I recommend Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer.
What about books/magazines for people looking to read more Horror & SFF content?
I am enjoying reading literary magazines lately. I can recommend Strange Horizons, Fyah, Apex, and The Dark.
Last question, where can people go to follow what you’re up to?
I smiled when Vanessa said she also loves cooking. I think it happens naturally when you decide to eat more plants :)
I hope you had an amazing time reading this interview.
🦕 Now it’s your turn:
What did you like most about Vanessa’s interview?
My favorite Horror/SF authors are H.P. Lovecraft, Philip K. Dick and Stephen King. What are yours? 📚
Have a wonderful week and see you next time 👋.