Interview with Paulette Mahurin + Giveaway

Hello lovelies! You've read my review of the novel The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap....the author, Paulette Mahurin, was kind enough to stop by my little blog and answer a few interview questions. Yay!
AND she's also donating copies of her book so that SIX OF YOU can have a chance to read this great novel, too!
Note: Giveaway is for US mailing addresses, only. 

Welcome, Paulette!

First let me say, how happy I am to have been asked here to Beth's blogsite for an interview. It's been such a pleasure getting to know and work with you.
1)   Tell us a bit about your inspiration to write the novel, and that photo you found.

Now to answer the question: 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. 

By the time the book was completed, and was having the formatting and design work done, the original photo was not available, instead I used an appropriate photo of my husband's grandparents, which fits well with the story.

2) Who is your favorite character in the novel, and why?

It changes depending on the perspective I'm viewing and they all make up a composite that moves the story along. I love Charley, who is tortured from the loss of his wife and through this devastation opens and grows in ways he'd never envisioned. 

Then there's Gus, whose voice is all about living and expression through the world as it is, as it is experienced, and not buying into another's belief system, no matter the "group-think" pressure that surrounds him in a small town. And, I love Mildred, who for the most part accepts the hand she's dealt in life and continues to survive, make the best of what she can, and shows open heart generosity to a fault. 

These three move the story along, but there would be no story without Josie, the metaphor of hatred and prejudice that develops the needed conflict to hold the story and make it interesting, I like her in the way we all like sensationalistic things because it reflects in us areas to grow in and improve.

3) Your novel chronicles persecution and prejudice in the 1890's American West through the eyes of one small town's inhabitants...did you do specific research on incidents of hate crimes in that era and area, or pull from modern-day experiences and examples?

Great question. I researched the history of homosexuality and societal views and actions documented on the 'net. I found interesting data to set the stage, for instance the news of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment did go out over wires and there was an article in the New York Times, April, 1895 which spoke of the immorality of homosexuality and other research at that time spoke of the attitudes changing from a civil tolerance to overt hatred and hostility toward gay men. 

I also found out what that time period was like for a lesbian couple, and again an instance is women could have friendships, or even live together and be labeled spinster if they could afford to co-habitate; but were a woman labeled a lesbian she was considered  (diagnosed) insane, thrown into an institution and the treatment (cure) was rape at the hands of her physician directly or indirectly through his orders, to help her "enjoy a male". 

4) As someone who has a full-time job and writes on the side, what advice would you give others who are writing around their full-time lives?

I'm only working part-time so I do have time to write, but most of my writing took place when I was home very ill with Lyme Disease. That said, my advice is this, a writer writes and all there is to do is sit down and do it and try not to get hung up on how much time you’re putting in, just sit and write. 

One can only do so much and it’s not always easy to keep a balance, but if a writer wants to write then work it into the schedule, even if just for twenty minutes to get that sense of involvement in the process. It is an evolving dynamic process, some days more time than others, but fundamentally if you don't sit down in that chair nothing happens. Make it happen!

5) Lastly, do you have any other novels in the works that we can look forward to?

While in college, I wrote an award-winning short story, based on real events, about a couple with cancer, who met in their oncologists' office and went on to develop a very loving relationship 'till death do us part'. I won't mention if they lived, died, one or both, and to be honest, I might take creative license and change it up a bit, depending on how it flows.

Thank you so much for your time and candor, Paulette!

You can read more about The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, and Paulette Mahurin, here:

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