1) What is your latest project and why is it a must-read?
The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap is my latest time consuming project. I think the answer to why it’s a must read lies in a review someone did for me recently and I’ll quote him here:
This review is from: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap (Paperback)
“There are two types of fiction in my mind: fiction which simply entertains, and fiction which enlightens, stimulates thought, and moves the reader to be something more than they were before they read the work while it still entertains. I like to be entertained, but even more so I enjoy reading a work which can not only entertain, but leave me uplifted and a better human being for having read the work. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, is one of those wonderful pieces of literature which leaves the reader a better human being while still providing entertainment. I will not give away the story because I hope that you will read this work for yourself, but let me say that this book is about something all people struggle to find; the ability to be loved and accepted for who we are, without having to fear hurt and pain for having risked our hearts. This book is an excellent piece of literature, and one which I would highly recommend to anyone.”
My story is also a novel approach to tackling intolerance and if you were to search
the net you wouldn’t find many stories with a lesbian protagonist a hundred years ago. I made it into a story that most of us can relate to, involving issues that plague us all: the desire to belong, fear of rejection, wanting friends and to be accepted, tolerance for differences and distaste for what is not familiar to our own belief system. I also added elements to bring it to the heart of the reader: realistic conversations that don’t water down reality, things we all talk about behind closed doors.
2) What was the inspiration behind it?
I was taking a writing class and the teacher brought in a bunch of photos for us to do an exercise on writing a ten minute mystery. My photo was of two women, dressed in what looked like turn of the twentieth century dress, standing very close together, and it screamed out to me lesbian couple. Prior to that I had been dealing with a person who was gay and in the closet, afraid to come out because of molestation and prior abuse issues. All this dovetailed together into the seeds for the story. When I started my research into that time period, Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment rang out as a key homophobic event in history, that I could use to create an air of persecution and move the story along. It would be the news of his imprisonment, that spreads around the world and reaches the small Nevada town where Mildred Dunlap lives with her partner, Edra, that throws the town into a frenzy of hatred and prejudice.
3) What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in getting your book released?
Deciding it was done,lol. When I was in the final throes of rewrite from my editor’s feedback, it felt like it was never going to end. Then when it was over, doubt set in, my critic screamed at me, you’re missing something. What I was missing was telling the inside of my head to shut up!,
4) Do you write with music or do you prefer silence? If with music, what do you usually play?
Silence. My mind goes off and so do my emotions with music. I love music but it distracts me. I also love silence and quiet. As you can guess from my answer above, the inside of my head is noisy enough!
5) Name one book you wish you had written.
The Grapes of Wrath, by Steinbeck. What he did with that story, a simple story of a family impacted by the dust bowl, during the Great Depression, that went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in literature, was a masterpiece that brought reality to the page. My mouth goes dry just thinking of it. It left an impression on me, and I vividly remember after reading it in High School, wanting to write just like him, I still do.
6) Pen/Paper or Computer?
7) What are you reading/listening to at the moment?
My dog, Max, is sleeping in the hallway near my den, where I write, and he just moaned. He must be having a bad dream, doing all that doggy moaning, whimpering, and body jerking. I have two dogs, from kill shelters, Max & Bella. Max is a pure bred rottie who was born missing one paw, and thrown away to be disposed of because the breeder couldn’t sell him and Bella was found homeless and was brought to the kill shelter. They are the two sweetest dogs we’ve ever had. My hubby and I have been rescuing rotties for 28 years, and do our best to try to raise awareness to spay and neuter your pets. All the profits from my book are going to the first and only no-kill animal shelter in Ventura County, CA where I live, Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center.
8) Ebook or Print?
9) What is one thing you wish you’d known before publishing?
All the effort it takes to self-promote, so I could have gotten a jump start.
10) Name one fictional character you wish was real.
Charley. He enters the story heart broken from the loss of his wife, wanting to die, and goes through a life changing metamorphosis. He’d be a great teacher for a lot of people holding hatred and intolerance in their hearts.
Paulette Mahurin, an award-winning author, is a Nurse Practitioner who lives in Ojai, California with her husband Terry and their two dogs–Max and Bella. She practices women’s health in a rural clinic and writes in her spare time. Her first book, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, has been featured in the press, national magazines, and chosen as the literary pick for the prestigious Ojai Art Center Literary Branch as their read of the month July, 2012.