The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; Richard Olney, United States Secretary of State, expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in settling a boundary dispute between the United Kingdom and Venezuela; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for gross indecency under Britain’s recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When news of Wilde’s conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the news of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment. It is a chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing.
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Tell us a bit about yourself.
First let me say a very heartfelt thank you for this interview and all you do to help indie authors. You are a gem.
I’m a Nurse Practitioner, which in my country (U.S.) is like a general practitioner, medical doctor. My specialty is women’s health. Prior to that I spent years in the second busiest emergency room in Los Angeles County, California. I love to write and am passionately involved in animal rescue with all the profits from my book going to this cause.
What got you into writing?
It was a natural progression in my life. I remember picking up a pen and writing on some notebook paper, when I was ten, first little paragraphs sharing my inner thoughts with the paper, then poetry which moved into short stories. By the time I got to college, I won a couple of award for non-fiction short stories.
Tell us about your book ‘The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap’.
After Oscar Wilde was imprisoned and the news went out over the world, it impacted on the way people viewed homosexuality. Prior to his imprisonment there was a conservative tolerance, after overt antagonism and persecution, voices hushed in living rooms before were now screaming vulgarities. This change in attitude hits a small Nevada ranching town, impacting on the lives of its citizens and causing chaos to Mildred Dunlap and her partner Edra. This is the story that followed the breaking news of Wilde’s imprisonment. It’s a chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended consequences. It’s also a love story, a friendship story,
how love and friends bring healing.
What were your thoughts behind the plot of ‘The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap’?
Intolerance is unconscionable. I can’t imagine loving someone, wanting to be intimate with them, then being thrown in prison because I dared to do something that was my nature, as natural as rain fall, or leaves breathing in carbon dioxide to survive, or a dog wagging tail, all inherent aspects that make up a natural authentic expression of a life. I knew the basic story line, two women fear being found out, devise a plan to avoid it, that backfires at every turn, etc. The underlying theme of Wilde being in prison and how unjust this was drives the story.
Why did Mildred have to have the appearance that she has in the book?
I featured her after a woman I knew growing up, named Mildred who was a lesbian. It was a sort of homage to my friend who was one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. When I sat down to write, I wondered if this were to be around a 100 years from now who would I want to be thanking, representing, and Mildred came to mind. It also fit, because she wasn’t pretty or attractive, was tall and manly looking and that would cause her to be bullied and unpopular with the town cliques. It worked.
Is this the first story that you have written or just the first one to be published?
First full length. I’ve written and published short stories years ago in college.
Some people are saying that Indie-publishing is somehow causing the ‘death’ of traditional publishing. What is your take on that?
Not familiar with both well enough to comment on it. I’ve heard this mentioned, but I’d have to see the statistics of sales and costs to run traditional publishing companies. I know that the ones that represent the big name, best seller authors, are probably here to stay for a while.I also know there’s an immense power in the indie movement, witness the fact that it is this incredible group, a force to be reckoned with, that helped me get over 18,000 recent downloads when I put my book up for its free amazon time. Amazon then ranked my book
# 3 best seller. I also know there are great books in and out of the two areas and hopefully more readers will catch on to all the talent in the indie movement and give some of us newbies a chance.
If you were the casting director for movie based on ‘The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap’ – who would you cast.
That’s easy. Ron Howard, he’s gay and I think would do it great justice.
What three things would you take with you to a Deserted Island?
A doctor, a dog, someone I was attracted to.
Quick Choices then:-
George Clooney or Richard Gere – Clooney
Mountains or Beach – Beach
Pizza or Pasta – Pasta
Paperback or eBook – Paperback
Jazz or Country – Jazz
Working on a love story, taken from real events of a couple that met in an oncologists office, both with terminal cancer, but it has a big surprise miracle twist. I won an award for the short story so hope it mutates into a good longer read.
Anything else that you would like to tell your readers/fans?
I am grateful and humbled by all he support this book has gotten, in the name of tolerance and because all profits are going to animal rescue (http://www.santapaulaarc.org/) the first and only no kill animal shelter in Ventura County, Ca, where I live. Hope everyone continues to spread the word to bring greater understanding to he world of accepting another for who they are, different, but human, like all the rest of us.
About the Author
Paulette Mahurin is a nurse practitioner, specializing in women's health in a rural clinic in where she lives with her husband and two rescued dogs. She also taught in several college level nursing programs, including UCLA, where she had a Master's Degree in Nursing from their nurse practitioner program. Her two passions are writing and rescuing dogs.While in college she wrote and published two award winning non-fiction short stories.
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