His Name Was Ben and Her Name is Paulette Mahurin
Are you ready for another dizzy blonde interview with an accomplished author-blogger?
Too bad. I know you’re already hooked because of my dizzy blondeness and her literary famosity.
A mixture like ours is kersplosive…in a good way.
I kept this interview short because Paulette is one busy person. Actually, she’s more like three busy people. Just take a gander (look) at her part of her bio:
Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County. When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminister Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue.
And she has a fantastic blog, plus she writes award-winning books like The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap and, now, the soon-t-be-award-winning, His Name Was Ben. Which this interview is about.
Not so fast! Aren’t you wondering what it’s about?
Lorna: Paulette, I know you’re headed out the door to save someone, so I’m going to keep this brief, well, as brief as I can for a retired sociologist who has no one to talk to but a grumpy 13-year-old Scrappy dog who wants to sleep all day. Okay. I’m already rambling. No need to check your watch. I’m a practicing Buddhist. I’m self-aware enough to know how awful I am at certain things. So we know his name is Ben. What else can you tell us about this book?
Paulette: Lorna, thank you so much for stopping me on my way out of the door and for your interest in my new book. You’re a sweetheart. Um. I have an appointment but can spare a few minutes. A few.
Lorna: You have a lovely stoop. Porch stoop, that is. I wasn’t commenting on your posture…
Paulette: Ah, thanks. Back to the book. You wanted to know what it’s about, right? Okay. Hearing the words “it’s cancer,” threw Sara Phillips’ life into chaos, until an unexpected turn of events and a chance encounter with a stranger changed everything—his name was Ben. Based on real events, Ben and Sara discover that when all else fails, healing can come in the most unexpected ways. Chilling and heart wrenching, His Name Was Ben is a triumph over the devastating circumstances and fear experienced when faced with a terminal illness. In this narrative, the power of love conquers shadows and transforms the very nature and meaning of what it is to be fully alive. Yes, that sums it up.
Lorna: Wow. You’re very articulate. Do you take Ginko Biloba? I hear that’s real good for your memory. I need some of that. Are there any herbs that help with dizziness…stopping it, not making you more of it–dizzy that is?
Paulette: I really don’t know. I’m more familiar with pharmaceuticals.
Lorna: Yeah. So am I!
Paulette: I don’t mean to be rude and I’d love to stay and chat, Lorna, but you caught me at a busy time. Was there anything else you wanted to know about?
Lorna: Oh, yes, the book…What prompted you to write this particular book, given that it is so different from your first, wildly successful book. Basically, what’s the story behind this story?
Paulette: Before I went to graduate school at UCLA in their nurse practitioner (NP) program, when I was doing oncology nursing, I met a couple, both with terminal illness, who met and developed an incredible relationship. Then one of them hit upon a miracle. That took relationship to a whole other level. They fell in love and I fell in love with them. They taught me by their relationship, their attitudes, what it is to be alive. Fully alive. They inspired me to write about them and I did when in college, a short story. It won a national award and was published. I didn’t think I had it in me to extend this to a full-length novel until I ventured into novel-writing with my first, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, and, from that, the sparks ignited for this story. From that point on it pretty well wrote itself.
Lorna: Wow! That’s quite a story…and it wrote itself. I’ll say there was more than a few miracles happening around this story. (Wink, wink)
Paulette: Oh, Lorna! You know what I mean. It flowed out of me.
Lorna: Yeah. I was just teasing you. But there must have been times when it didn’t. What was the most challenging part of writing this story and how did you deal with it?
Paulette: (Leaning against her porch railing) The emotions were tough. You know, the downside of having cancer and painful past relationships and how they block our hearts from opening. That triggered some of my own personal issues, growing up with a schizophrenic brother (who I incorporated into this story), and areas of my own sense of inadequacy and painful past rejections. To go deep in this story, I felt my own pain and that was not easy. Then I had to write, rewrite, regurg, all the editing, and it kept stirring it up over and over until it all calmed down. Honestly, I’m glad the write is over and I’m done with the rewrites. That was tough.
Lorna: Did you know I have a Master’s Degree in Counseling. We could set something up if you really feel the need to deal with some of these issues. I’m here for you.
Paulette: (Standing up straight again) Um, thanks, Lorna. I’m good. Writing, as you know, is cathartic.
Lorna: Sure, sure. I was just offering. Things got a bit heavy there. Not every interviewer is equipped to handle these emotional volcanos from the past.
Paulette: Really. I’m fine. All that rewriting took my mind off the emotions.
Lorna: Yeah! If anything will pull you out of one slump and put you in another, it’s all that editing! So, what brought you the most joy while writing this story?
Paulette: Finishing! (Laughing) No really, the joy is that I got to know this couple. I got to experience an incredible intimacy with them, as I do with so many of my other patients. Writing this novel brought back so much of the joy I feel with so many people, all the hugs, looks of appreciation, the little simple things that are so important fill me up. This is a story filled with that heart and it made my heart feel good remembering those aspects of my work. It was an interesting dichotomy, the triggers of my past trauma and the joy of the depth of these beautiful people. And such is life. The Yin & Yang.
Lorna: A humanitarian and a philosophertarian, too. What aren’t you good at? I see that your gardens are lovely and that you’re a snappy dresser. Can you share a fun fact about this book or the writing of it that you haven’t told anyone else?
Paulette: This should make you feel better about your vision of me as “Saint Paulette,” Lorna. The sex parts were a lot of fun to write. I didn’t hold back and that felt good. It was raw and real and I didn’t allow my own inhibitions to edit what flowed out. Also was fun researching some of the legal minutiae with Terry, my hubby, and incorporating it. And then there’s a lawyer joke in the dialogue in the middle of the book that’s pretty funny and I’ve had some hilarious feedback from readers with lawyers in their families writing they want to send them the book just for that one joke.
Lorna: Oh, that does make me feel better. Sex, drugs (Advil counts, right?), and rock and roll! Yeah, Baby! One last question and you can go off on your mission of mercy. What question do you wish interviewers would ask you, but never do? Now’s your chance! Ask and answer it!
Paulette: Can I buy your book?
Paulette: Yes, please.
Lorna: My, my. You are in a hurry!
Paulette: (Hugging me) Lorna: you’re a sweetheart, my cyber writing sister, and I thank you for ambushing me at my front door and for your generosity to share my book with others. All profits are going to help save dogs from kill shelters. I hope that if anyone does pick up this book they are inspired in some way to do an act of kindness to a dog, or cat, or another human being. That’s what will change the world, one decent kind act at a time. Love you!
Lorna: I love you, too, Paulette!
Here’s where you can find His Name Was Ben:
BEN: AMAZON U.S.:
BEN AMAZON UK:
~ by Lorna's Voice on October 15, 2014.