Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Paulette Mahurin on The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
I’m continuing my interview today with Paulette Mahurin about her novel The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap. Enjoy!
Definitely. The human condition has evolved in many ways but in many ways not. Persecution is alive and well throughout the world, as is the case with teen bullying and suicides, the ethnic wars being fought, women mutilation in some developing countries, battles against the morbidly obese, socially unacceptable, those off the bell curve are deemed freaks and made fun of. The gossip and hate mongers surrounding Josie, in the book, can be replicated in small towns everywhere (and large cities, of course), where hearts are closed and egos strive on putting others down, persecution will thrive. Aside from my passion to help animals, advocating for tolerance is an equal passion, a world where people can come out of their closets and live their lives without fear of being damaged, emotionally or physically, and I’m not just talking about the GLBT communities, but anyone who differs and fears rejection because of that.
This is my first. I’ve written and won awards in college for a couple of short stories but this is my first full length.
Getting out of the way and letting the story take the lead. I put in a lot of time researching and wanted to show off what I learned. Like the kid jumping out of their chair in school, screeching pick me, pick me! I spend months on some topics and included a lot in the book but when my editor saw it she said cut, cut, cut…! It sounds way too didactic, too history lesson classroomish…Oh crap, what do I cut? I was deflated because I had to reduce pages, almost two chapters down to a couple of paragraphs but when I read through the rewritten manuscript, it was better, flowed without distraction. I had to cut a lot, which is probably why the book is not that long, only 202 pp, lol!
** How did your experience with battered women help you in writing this book?
I think it gave me a little realistic depth on the hurt that is caused. It’s one thing to read about it, but when you see a woman lying on an examining table, crying and bruised, it does something to you, to your cells, your heart. It must have poured out of me in some of the scenes with the torment Mildred and Edra lived through.