Saturday, September 29, 2012
Author Interview: Paulette Mahurin
First let me say, thank you so much for the invite to your great blog. I’m delighted to be here and have this chat with you, Brittney.
I’m a Nurse Practitioner, specializing in women’s health in a rural clinic in Ojai, CA, where I live with my husband, Terry, and our two rescue-from-a-kill-shelter dogs, Max & Bella. My passions are writing and dog rescue.
2. Who are your writing inspirations?
I love Steinbeck and the masters who seem to have a natural gift. But my real inspirations are all the wonderful story tellers out there, whether written or verbal, the masters of weaving a story, real or fancy, that draws me in and keeps me there wanting more, until the end and then wishing it didn’t end. Too many to recount. Too much talent, in the known and unknown authors that live and lived among us.
3. How did you come up with the concept of your book?
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
afraid of being found out. While researching that time period, I hit pay dirt when I came across Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment, which was a key homophobic historical event. I used that to create an air of persecution to 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 chaotic frenzy of hatred and prejudice.
5. Are you working on anything currently?
While in college, I wrote an award winning short story about a couple, both with a terminal illness, who met in their oncologists office. They developed a relationship that was loving and profound. It was based on a true event. I’ve been working that into a full length book, and am up to Chapter 7.
6. What are your favorite past times?
Hanging with my husband and dogs, love the dog park. We do a lot of animal rescue things, which is a passion. I also love to hang with friends and family. Love the outdoors, mostly anything in nature and being around life that’s present. Love to write, watch a great movie, read a wonderful book, and spend the time I do with the women I help pro-bono, with cancer and other health issues. Used to love to travel but got a tick bite several years ago and contracted Lyme Disease, which has sequela of chronic fatigue, which keeps me pretty close to home these days, luckily I live in a beautiful city, Ojai, 30 miles south of Santa Barbara, just 13 miles inland from the coast.
7. If you can give advice to other authors/aspiring authors, what would you like to tell them?
A writer writes. Doesn’t matter how long, but unless you sit down in the chair and write nothing happens. It can be for ten minutes or ten hours, but sit down and do it, and tell the critic in your head to shut up! Writing, no matter for how long, is the only action that makes a writer feel involved in the process. When you sit down, vomit it out, leave the editing to the editor, because we can’t really judge our own work and most times we’re way too hard on ourselves, which is usually inaccurate. Make the nike commercial your mantra, just do it.
8. What is your favorite book?
I often answer Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. But I have so many, and for different reasons. I love Viktor Frankl’s,Man’s Search for Meaning, for it’s inspiration, and Don Miquel Ruiz’s, The Four Agreements, for wisdom, then there’s entertainment, Steig Larson’s trilogy was incredible, on and on…
9. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Getting out of the way of the story. When I was writing my story, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, I did a lot of research into the time period when Oscar Wilde was imprisoned, 1895. That was a rich period in the history of the world, aside from Wilde’s imprisonment, the Dreyful Affair was dividing France’s identity as a nation strong on human rights, Booker T. Washington was helping get his people into schools, and the United States expanded its intrepertation of the Monroe Doctrine into South America. I spent weeks, sometimes months on the research and wrote pages. When I sent it to my editor, she responded to cute 98% of it because it sounded too didactic and pulled attention off the story line. I was crushed, because I wanted to include all I’d found to show how much time I’d spent researching. It was all about me and not the story. That was the time I had real growing pains as a writer. I cut, and cut, and got pages down to a paragraph. When I re-read it, it did sound much better and kept the story flowing, moving along. My loyalties shifted, over to the story, the character’s voices and I went on the back burner. The process was difficult but as I continued to write this way, the writing itself became easier. That was a great lesson, a hard one, but an important one. Today readers read the story and give me feedback, it really held their attention and they liked it. Ultimately, that’s where it’s at.
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
The story line forwards the message of tolerance. The profits are going to the first and only no-kill animal shelter in Ventura County, CA. (Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center). There have been a lot of reviews for readers to have a look at to see if this might be a story that would interest them. If so, then you’ll be helping two very worthy causes, spreading the word for tolerance, and actually helping to fund getting those sad faces off death row and wagging in their forever homes.
Thanks again, Brittney, for this great interview.
And I was glad to have you! For more information on Paulette, please check out the links below and her book!
So true, a writer needs to write. Persecution is a terrible thing. compliments to Paulette for writing a true story about such an issue. And yes you need to put the story fist. Great interview Brit.