The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
Author: Paulette Mahurin
Publisher: Blue Palm Press
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.
When the town of Red River Pass hears the news of Oscar Wilde’s conviction, the towns people go crazy over it and it is all that is talked about. When Mildred hears of this, she is terrified of what may happen if people find out who she is in love with. She has to do everything she can, and things she doesn’t want to do, so that her secret isn’t exposed.
This isn’t the sort of book that I typically read so I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of it. But once I started reading, I was captivated. It upset me how the other women of the town treated Mildred. She always helped everyone in town out financially when they needed it despite the way they treated her and looked down at her for the way she looked and carried herself. It was frustrating to read about how Mildred had to hide who she was, and who she loved, for fear of what would happen to her and the woman she loved if anyone found out.
I thought that this was an absolutely beautiful story. It reminds you to be kind and accepting of others despite your differences. You never know how badly the person next to you is hurting. I think you should definitely check this one out.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Interview with Paulette Mahurin:
First let me say a big thank you to Leigh Ann for having me over to your great site. I’m so excited to be here today.
Thank YOU for taking the time to stop by! Here goes nothin’!
A: Born in Chicago, Ill. and moved to West Los Angeles when I was two.
Q: When and why did you begin writing?
A: I can never remember a time I didn’t write. The earliest memory I have is writing a diary when I was eight or nine years old. That moved into poetry and short stories then in college I won a couple of awards for short stories I wrote. Writing has always been my safe haven, where I get to say whatever I want without worry of, what will others think.
Q: How did you come up with the title Persecution of Mildred Dunlap?
A: I had been dealing with someone who was in the closet, fearful of coming out because of past abuse, so I had this on my mind when I was in a writing class and we did an exercise where we had to write a ten minute mystery using a photo as a prompt. The photo I had was of two women, dressed in turn of the century garb, looking very fearful, it screamed lesbians afraid of being found out. The idea of persecution came up then and I wrote about them wanting to avoid being found out and persecuted. The name came up because of a person I knew in my childhood, a decent kindhearted person, and I wanted to attribute some of the better qualities of the protagonist to her. Her name was Mildred. The last name came from my friend’s son who is openly Gay and that’s his last name.
Q: Are any of the characters in your novel (such as Mildred) based or inspired by real people in your life?
A: Most of them are parts of people I know, parts of myself, parts of the human condition in general. Charley, however, is the ideal, the person we want to meet and find who is open, to love, to what comes, to new and different things, without being a fool about it, blind about it, the one we can admire, like in J.F.K’s Profile in Courage, who hold to their truths no matter the consequence. All the other characters are various shades of flawed.
Q: I enjoyed Charley! What was the most fun about researching Oscar Wilde or other events in the story and did you learn anything new?
A: The most fun was that it fit perfectly into the time line of my story, but that is where the fun ended. His imprisonment tormented me, that he went to jail for loving another man, for making love with another man, that he could no more help than the sun can not rise, than a fire can not burn, all things natural. He was thrown in prison for two years and in that time slept on a wooden board, ate watery portage, was prohibited from having pencil and paper, walked a treadmill six hours a day, etc. That aside and to answer your question, it was a lot of fun researching that time period, looking at a Sears & Roebuck Catalogue from back then to see how people dressed, to stock the general store, and scenes with date appropriate things. It was also fun to research the news of that time period and to discover to my delight it was a good year for hatred, including the Dreyfus Affair in France which divided France on its stance on anit-Semitism, Booker T. Washington’s huge popularity which generated his Atlanta Address to get his race into schools which drove racists nuts, and the expansion of the Monroe Doctrine into South America was fodder for gossip filled with hubris. That added to the richness of topics that would come to the town via telegraph and set the bigots into a frenzy of hatred. It fueled the storyline.
Q: If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you would change about your book?
A: I still have one typo in it that I need to change, lol. In one place I wrote Edna instead of Edra and this was missed my my two editors, myself, my husband, and several other readers. I don’t want to pull the book and not have it on Amazon for three weeks to correct this because it could hurt sales and diminish attention for the book, especially since profits are going to animal rescue. Other than that I wouldn’t change anything, at least there’s nothing I can think of right now.
Q: I don’t think I even noticed the typo! What book are you reading at the moment?
A: Just started Chief Complaint Brain Tumor by John Kerastas. It’s a true story of this amazing man’s diagnosis of a brain tumor, in the height of an ostensible healthy life, doing triathlons, doing 100 mile bike events, eating healthy organic, etc, only to discover he has a brain tumor the size of his wife’s fist. What’s so wonderful about this book is how he used humor to help himself. He’s an amazing man.
Q: What is the strangest object on your desk? 🙂
A: It’s a rubbery head with a big SEG (s–t eating grin) and wild fuzzy hair. You squeeze the head and it says, “Relax, calm down now, don’t stress, take it easy” in the most hilarious voice. Cracks me up.
Q: Haha! That is too funny! Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers?
A: To everyone who’s purchased my book, reviewed it, spread the word in any way, I’m truly grateful to you, in the name of tolerance and for helping flow energy to a cause that may save lives. It’s my dream, my passion, my obsession to get as many sad faces out of their cages on death row and into their forever homes. The effort of every individual in this wonderful indie community, including you here Leigh Ann, has filled my heart with indescribable gratitude.
Thank you so much for stopping by today and answering these questions! It was a pleasure!
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.
All profits from her book, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, are going to animal rescue, Santa Paula Animal Center, the first and only no-kill shelter in Ventura County, CA.
Shelter profits are going to: http://www.santapaulaarc.org/
Buy a book. Save a life.
Get a copy for yourself: http://www.amazon.com/Persecution-Mildred-Dunlap-Paulette-Mahurin/dp/097718661X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355275401&sr=8-1&keywords=The+persecution+of+mildred+Dunlap
Author’s Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5895757.Paulette_Mahurin
Book’s Blog: https://thepersecutionofmildreddunlap.wordpress.com/
Book’s Website: http://bookpromogroup2.weebly.com/paulette-mahurin.html
Press Article: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/sep/08/ojai-authors-historical-novel-teaches-tolerance/