June Spears Blogger Interview & Review: Absolutely the Best book I’ve Read in a Very Long Time


Interview and Review with Paulette Mahurin


 “Paulette Mahurin’s first novel is surefooted and unflinching in its portrayal of a singular and unique character and her compelling struggles. Compassionate and confident, Mahurin allows Mildred’s story to burn through onto the page with all its inherent outrage and tenacious, abiding love. Here is a character we can champion—flawed, striving, surviving— and fully embrace in her awkward, beautiful navigation of a world that resists her in every way.”      Deb Norton, Playwrite/screenwriter of The Whole Banana
“If you need to question your values, read this book! The author captures the intolerance and hypocrisy of a 1895 Nevada town, and its transcendence in time through tolerance and understanding.  The angst and pain that two women feel daily, living the ‘lie’ of their lesbian relationship, and the prejudice they must endure, is unconscionable.  I was moved to tears by their struggle in the face of the conflicted values that continue to dominate our ‘modern’ society.”                William K. Fox, PhD, Professor of Zoology
 “The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap” is not just about the struggle of two women against a community that condemns same-sex relationships. This important book speaks to the viciousness of all forms of prejudice. It shows how oppression silences and hurts victims. It reveals how close-mindedness and sharp words kill the spirit in others.Author Paulette Mahurin does a masterful job in bringing the characters and scenes to life. The happenings in a small Nevada town in 1895 are cradled within international news about the controversial actions of Oscar Wilde. The historical context gives Mahurin’s book a richness that many novels lack. I wholeheartedly recommend “The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap.” Dr. Charlotte Laws, PhD

Paulette Mahurin is a Nurse Practitioner specializing in women’s
health in Ojai, CA where she lives with her husband Terry and their
two dogs, Max & Bella (both rescued from kill shelters). She began
writing in her early teens and while in college entered two literary
contest and came in second in both in the non-fiction category.
One of her stories was featured in the magazine Concepts. She
continued writing and in the last six years contracted a serious
chronic illness which took her off work and afforded her time to
write, in that time she completed her first novel, The Persecution
of Mildred Dunlap.
Mahurin holds a Master’s Degree in Nursing
from UCLA and when she’s not writing or working she’s helping
women with health issues pro-bono.

**Your name: Paulette Mahurin
**Your book:  The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
Do your characters talk to you?  YES.  If so, what do they say? They tell me what’s important to put in the dialogue and what takes the reader out of the story. They tell me what is coming from their voice and what I’m interjecting. They tell me what to write. They speak their lines to me and I write them. I have quite the relationship with them. A few of them listen to me and change their minds, like Charley, in deciding what to do at a crisis moment In the story.
What was your inspiration for this story? Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment, unjustly, for having sex with another man, shortly after Britian had changed its laws on homosexuality, he landed
at the wrong end of a court case. He was imprisoned in a hard labor prison camp for two years and it broke his spirit, having no pen or paper to write with, running on a tread mill six hours a day, eating watery soup, and sleeping on a hard wooden board. For what, because he fell in love and wanted to be with his lover, the most basic of human experiences. The trauma and indignity he experienced was incomprehensible. I carried his imprisonment throughout the story, the inspiration and motivation, the undercurrent that stirred intolerance and propelled the story line, that was my inspiration, to bring for the injustice that the intolerance caused.
How long did it take  you to write this book?  Six years.
What do you think makes a good romantic hero? Someone we can relate to, within our reach, but who we can also aspire to be, who in we see the best of ourselves in, that part we love about who we fundamentally are, and who we dream about wanting to be, our romantic inner-self.
Which character of this book was the easiest to write? Gus, the local General Store owner. He was the narrative voice incarnate, the soulful philosophical part, that has the authentic “right” answers that resonate as truth, that stir epiphanies, that are fundamentally impartial that we can relate to because they are based in experience not false beliefs.
If you had to sum up advice to a new writer in two sentences, what would you say? A writer writes. Sit down, do it, and tell your internal critic to shut up.
Who is your favorite character of this book, and why? Charley, because he grows. He comes from a devastating loss, vulnerable and raw, and is open to what is to come. What comes is life as his teacher and he, the student, shows us all what it is to learn and conquer barriers to courage. He is our decent voice that is misunderstood until actions come to his rescue, his own actions. He is the gift that God gives up when we can see, with clarity, what is happening in the living moment and not what we want to think is happening. He is the God given gift that experiences what it is to live, in the alive moment, without the dictate of thought.
 Fun Stuff:
What do you prefer – chocolate or vanilla – and why? Chocolate: stimulated endorphins and that feels good!
If you were one of the five people left after the zombie apocalypse, who would you want the other four to be?  An Emergency Medicine doctor, a great comedian, a gifted chef, someone I was physically attracted to, permanently.
Day or Night? Why? Day. I love sunshine and am more awake.
Favorite male celebrity?  Why? Philip Seymour Thomas. He has raw talent that is endlessly watchable.
Favorite Movie? Too many to choose from: Enchanted April, Shawshank Redemption, Shindler’s List, ET, All About Eve…
Last book you read or the book  you are reading now? The Citizens by L. M. Smith. Just did a review on it which is on amazon and goodreads.
Favorite season?  Spring Why? It’s a rebirth, an awakening o what has been dormant, life
returning, and a beautiful time in nature.
Review  5 Stars
Absolutely the best book I’ve read in a very long time. I would recommend this book to any avid reader out there. Love the detail and the characters come to life from the pages. I felt I was there. Great writing.



About The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

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 Britian's recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When the 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 Wildes' imprisonment. It is chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing. Paulette Mahurin, the 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. All profits from her book are going to animal rescue, Santa Paula Animal Shelter, the first and only no-kill shelter in Ventura County, CA, where she lives. (see links below on Ventura County Star Article & Shelter) To find out more please go the The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap on facebook or Amazon or e-mail us at the gavatar addresses. Thank you. (photos: of Paulette, her family, and a reading at The Ojai Art Center, July 2012)
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