Interview with Eli Easton: Bennie the Pig

The True Story of Bennie the Pig

By Eli Easton

I’m celebrating the release of TENDER MERCIES, the second book in the “Men of Lancaster County” series. It features a new couple and can be read as a stand-alone. What the books in this series have in common is being set in Lancaster County, a rural area of Pennsylvania where there are a lot of Amish and Mennonite. It also happens to be where my husband and I have a farm.

In TENDER MERCIES, the protagonists are a tender-hearted city vegan who plans to start a farm sanctuary, and a young Amish man kicked out of his community for being gay. This is about as personal as any book I’ve ever written. It’s set on our farm and embodies a lot of the desire I have to start a farm sanctuary, even though it’s not practical for us to do it right now.

When we moved to the farm seven years ago, we bought chicks for laying hens and two fantastic cows. Nature has brought us other animals like ducks, geese, and the occasional swan on our pond. There are groundhogs and deer and owls and other critters. But the thing we could never have expected was to be adopted by a pig.

In TENDER MERCIES, a little black potbelly pig just randomly shows up on Eddie’s farm one day and becomes an important character in the story. This little pig, named Bennie in the book (short for Benedict), is based on our real life pig, Watson.

One day about a year ago, while we were out feeding the cows at the barn, we noticed a black animal hanging out at the edge of the pasture. At first we thought it was a groundhog or stray cat. But when we got a closer look, it’s clear it was a PIG. Here’s what he looked like on that first day. He was very little, thin, and wild. He wouldn’t let us get close to him, but he did take the food and water we offered.

Bennie the Pig

My husband and I are both complete soft-hearted noobs, so we were moved to try to rescue the little pig. We began feeding him twice a day with fresh cut-up fruit, bread, and peanut butter. I would sit a foot or so away as he ate and, gradually, he allowed me to pet him. We named him Watson and he seemed quite happy living out in the barn and pasture with our two cows.

The cows, True and Bessy, were leery of Watson at first. They would kick at him if he got close to them. But they finally accepted him into the herd and he could lay next to them in the sun in the pasture. He also became quite affectionate with us. Even when he was eating, the moment you started to pet him, he’d flop over onto his side, close his eyes, and revel in the touch.

What are the odds that a lost little potbelly pig would wander onto OUR farm, maybe the only vegan farm in Lancaster County? It seemed serendipitous—for all concerned. Watson got a home and “pack” and we got to know a real life pig.

We learned that pigs are super smart. Watson did things our dogs would never do. For example, he disliked baby carrots and would often eat everything else in the bowl but the carrots. One day he saw my husband feeding carrots to the cows over the gate. So the next time Watson was done eating, he pushed his bowl under the gate for the cows as if offering them the left-over baby carrots. (We fed him in a space separate from the cows so they wouldn’t try to eat from his bowl.) That was pretty amazing behavior. Also, he was getting out of the pasture and our neighbor didn’t like it, so we tried to shut Watson up in the barn til we could get the pasture fence fixed. He figured out how to escape through several rooms and even a latched door, to get back into the pasture. We could never figure out how he did it!

Watson was with us for over a year, growing into quite a good-sized potbelly pig.

Unfortunately, one day Watson was not in the pasture. He’d left before for a day or two, but this time he didn’t return. It’s been months now, so we assume Watson won’t be back. He was never neutered, so we hope he went off in search of love and found a new home and is safe and happy and well somewhere, maybe teaching another family how great pigs can be.
You can read about Watson aka Benny in TENDER MERCIES. I hope you enjoy meeting him as much as we did.

Title: Tender Mercies (Men of Lancaster County #2)
Author: Eli Easton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 27th 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 216 pages
Reviewed by: Belen


A Men of Lancaster County Novel

Eddie Graber’s dream of a sanctuary for rescued farm animals was about to come true when his partner backed out at the last minute. Now Eddie risks losing the twenty-five acre property in Lancaster County—and all the hopes he held for it—before the project even gets off the ground. He needs help, he needs money, but most importantly, he needs to rediscover the belief in a higher purpose that brought him here in the first place.

Samuel Miller worked hard to fit into his Amish community despite his clubfoot. But when his father learns Samuel is gay, he is whipped and shunned. With just a few hundred dollars to his name, Samuel responds to an ad for a farmhand and finds himself employed by a city guy who has strange ideas about animals, no clue how to run his small farm, and a gentle heart.

Samuel isn’t the only lost soul to serendipitously find his way to Meadow Lake Farm. There’s Fred and Ginger, two cows who’d been living in a garage, a gang of sheep, and a little black pig named Benny who might be the key to life, love, money—and even a happily ever after for two castoffs.

Men of Lancaster County series

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Author Bio

Eli Easton
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer, and a profound sleeper, Eli is happy these days writing love stories as a m/m romance author.

As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in rural Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, two cows, pot belly pig, and cat.

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