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have been asked here to Beth’s blogsite for an interview. It’s been such a
pleasure getting to know and work with you.
us a bit about your inspiration to write the novel, and that photo you found.
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. Prior to that I had
been dealing with a person who was gay and in the closet, afraid to
come out because of molestation and prior abuse issues. All this
dovetailed together into the seeds for the story.
research into that time period, Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment rang out as a
key homophobic event in history, that I could use to create an air of
persecution and 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 frenzy of hatred and prejudice.
completed, and was having the formatting and design work done, the original
photo was not available, instead I used an appropriate photo of my husband’s grandparents,
which fits well with the story.
2) Who is your favorite character in the
novel, and why?
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.
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.
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.
3) Your novel chronicles persecution and prejudice in the 1890’s American West
through the eyes of one small town’s inhabitants…did you do specific research
on incidents of hate crimes in that era and area, or pull from modern-day
experiences and examples?
researched the history of homosexuality and societal views and actions
documented on the ‘net. I found
interesting data to set the stage, for instance the news of Oscar Wilde’s
imprisonment did go out over wires
and there was an article in the New York Times, April, 1895 which spoke of the
immorality of homosexuality and other research at that time spoke of the
attitudes changing from a civil tolerance to
overt hatred and hostility toward gay men.
period was like for a
lesbian couple, and again an instance is women could have friendships, or even
live together and be labeled spinster if they could afford to co-habitate; but
were a woman labeled a lesbian she was considered (diagnosed) insane, thrown into an
institution and the treatment (cure) was rape at the hands of her physician
directly or indirectly through his orders, to help her “enjoy a male”.
4) As someone who has a full-time job
and writes on the side, what advice would you give others who are writing
around their full-time lives?
part-time so I do have time to write, but most of my writing took place when I
was home very ill with Lyme Disease. That said, my advice is this, a writer
writes and all there is to do is sit down and do it and try not to
get hung up on how much time you’re putting in, just sit and write.
only do so much and it’s not always easy to keep a balance, but if a writer
wants to write then work it into the schedule, even if just for twenty minutes
to get that sense of involvement in the process. It is an evolving dynamic
process, some days more time than others, but fundamentally if you don’t sit
down in that chair nothing
happens. Make it happen!
5) Lastly, do you have any other novels in the works that we can look forward
wrote an award-winning short story, based on real events, about a couple with cancer, who met
in their oncologists’ office and went on to develop a very loving relationship ’till
death do us part’. I won’t mention if they lived, died, one or both, and to be honest, I might
take creative license and change it up a bit, depending on how it flows.
You can read more about The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, and Paulette Mahurin, here:
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