Happy Friday! Hope you all have enjoyed your week and have big plans for this weekend! Today's featured author is Paulette Mahurin. I hope you all enjoy.
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.
“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
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I was in a writing class when the writing teacher brought tn a stack of photos. We were supposed to pick one and write a ten-minute mystery about. I saw this photo of two women standing really close together wearing long dark dresses that went from their neck to their ankles (circa turn of the twentieth century), they looked stiff and uncomfortable, like they were hiding something. I made them lesbians on the frontier afraid of being found out. That was the seed for the story. The actual
inspiration came later, while doing research and I (actually my husband discovered) that Oscar Wilde had been imprisoned for having sex with another male in 1895. Britain had just changed their laws to make it illegal, a criminal offense, with a penalty of imprisonment of two years in a hard labor prison. Two years of laying on a wooden board, eating watery porridge, walking on a treat mill six hours
a day, was torturous for me to conceive of. It kept me motivated and inspired to write this story, and keep the light on the injustice of Wilde’s imprisonment, through the metaphor of the lesbian couple being persecuted.
Do you have a favorite character?
It changes depending on the perspective I'm viewing and they all make up a composite that moves
the story along. I love Charley, who is tortured from the loss of his wife and through this
devastation opens and grows in ways he'd never envisioned. Then there's Gus, whose voice is all
about living and expression through the world as it is, as it is experienced, and not buying into
another's belief system, no matter the "group-think" pressure that surrounds him in a small town.
And, I love Mildred, who for the most part accepts the hand she's dealt in life and continues to
survive, make the best of what she can, and shows open heart generosity to a fault. These three
move the story along, but there would be no story without Josie, the metaphor of hatred and
prejudice that develops the needed conflict to hold the story and make it interesting, I like her in
the way we all like sensationalistic things because it reflects in us areas to grow in and improve.
How old were you when you started writing?
I can’t remember ever not writing but I do have a vivid memory of writing entries into
a little notebook at around the age of ten, poem, short stories, random prose and ideas.
Favorite character from your favorite book?
There are so may great books and great characters that I’m hard pressed to come up with a specific
answer. I can comment on one that really stands out as exemplary from Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize
winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath, and that is Tom Joad. He is just paroled from prison for
homicide, when he makes his way home to find the place has been deserted. By the time he finds his
family, they are packing all their belongings to travel west to California in hopes of work. The story
takes place during the debacle of the Dust Bowl, when families lost everything due to crops drying
up. Tom Joad is a metaphor for the suffering these people experienced, he is the raw emotion we
can all relate to when our loved ones suffer, not knowing where the next meal may come from.
Steinbeck’s writing of this character is considered one of the best in American Literature. I was
haunted by him and the story days after I finished it, and to this day vividly remember how it made
me feel while reading it.
Is there any certain message you want readers to take from reading your book?
What we think of someone is not always accurate, most times it probably isn’t and yet we make these thoughts into realities about someone, think that’s who they are, a uni-dimensional living creature, but no one is like that. Human beings are complex emotional, biochemical, conditioned, functioning conglomerations of cells joined together into organs that make up a body that houses a brain that thinks and identifies in all kinds of illogical, not based on fact, ways. We as humans, all have emotions, wants, desires, dark aspects/shadows (to use Jung’s term), we all do. If we can see our differences as different and not good or bad then we may be able to get along better instead of wanting to go to war with the difference, to subjugate it or meld it into our way of being. Can we accept differences, suspend beliefs/ideas and embrace these, which all humans possess? If so then the light on tolerance has seen a good day.
When is the release date? Where can we buy it at?
It was released in March of this year. It can be purchased on Amazon.com and Amazon U.K.
Do you incorporate any of your favorite things, places, hobbies, into your books?
It’s a historical fiction which takes place in 1895 so there wasn’t much room for hobbies and places as it’s confined to a Nevada ranching small town. What I did incorporate into the story line where a lot of books, that were time appropriate and also popular. I love to read and love book so that fit nicely.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
There are way too many to chose from. I love the classics and have been dabbling into all sorts of new and really great indie authors whose books/stories I’ve really enjoyed. For me, it’s about the experience, am I interested in it, does it hold my interest, do I want to get back to it to continue reading it and am I sorry when it’s over. I’m not confined to a particular genre or style which points out that a good story is a good story, no matter the genre. My favorite author would be the one writing the book that I’m really into and reading.
Just answered that above.
I love a good hearty soup with fresh baked delicious crisp crust bread.
Black and white or color?
Batman, Spiderman, or Zorro?
Twitter or Facebook?
Facebook. Here’s my link and hope everyone who sees this connects. All are welcome.
What are you currently working on? Can we have a sample of it?
While in college I wrote an award winning short story about a couple who met in an oncologist’s office. It’s based on a true story. They fell in love and went on to learn what being alive was all about. It was a remarkable relationship. When I mention this to others, I get instant feedback that they think it’ll be sad. My reply to that is, don’t make assumptions. Here’s an excerpt:
“While a handful of women slept, letters of acceptance went out to their doctors. For these women, the nightmares would cease; it was to be a new day—one that offered reprieve. The oncologists received the expected hand-delivered news with anticipatory trepidation. Providing the patient met the criteria, the note would afford either optimism or it would be a death sentence. Two trials of Herceptin in other tumors were already underway, which meant it achieved successful results in the breast cancer studies. It had yet to receive the gold seal, FDA approval that was in the works, to be concluded after the last trail phase, one final run through on the terminal cases, where death was imminent.”
If you could ask your favorite author anything, what would it be? Answer it for us, please.
Question to the author: Would you read and review my book? Answer: Yes.
If you could tell your readers anything, what would it be?
To all of you, every single person, who’s read, reviewed or spread the word about my book, I thank you from every cell in my body, in the name of tolerance and for helping save animals. All profits from the book are going to animal rescue, the first and only no-kill shelter in Ventura County, CA. where I live, Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center. (http://www.santapaulaarc.org/ )
Paulette Mahurin, an award-winning 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.
Thank you, Paulette!!! I enjoyed your interview!