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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Cozy Mystery

Emmaline (Emme) Mayson (of Mayson-Dickson Mysteries, by Jocie McKade)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a woman thrown into becoming a private detective. She is here to talk about opening her own agency, of murders, betrayals, and dysfunctional family relationships.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

Hey, I’m Emme Mayson, well now, I am. I used to be Emmaline Roberts, until my life got really twisted, like trying pull on spandex panties on a wet body. If you hear a voice in the background it’s my sister Jackie Dickson, just ignore her.

I was raised in a little town call Scrugg’s Corner, Alabama. It’s not too far from Huntsville. My dad raised me, as my mom died when I was two, at least that’s what I was told. Ms. Rose Dushae who babysat me became my ‘mom’, and I trust her on all things. She was widowed and had three sons, so I grew up a ‘tom-boy’. One my early loves was old buildings and I graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Architecture. Go War Eagles! Go Tigers! Hehe, y’all we just do that to confuse Yankees.

Now, I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia with a twin sister I never knew existed. That little tidbit begins our Mayson-Dickson Investigations.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

Being raised by a single dad had it challenges. I mean, did you ever try to talk to you dad about ‘girl’ things, or sex, or, well, you get the idea. Bless his heart he did pretty good, but usually he just called Rosie and asked for help, and he always bought me jewelry and it was always a heart.

On the plus side, I can fish, clean it and eat it too. I’ve driven NASCAR race cars and he enrolled me in defensive driving programs. That could be why I terrify my sister when I drive.

“Ya, think?” Came a voice from the background.

I warned you about my sister.

Anyway, I’m a very outdoors girl, and even won the Junior Championship Skeet Shooting contest three years in a row.

While I didn’t know it at the time, the best thing my dad taught me was to be observant and always look for a way out. I did not know how handy that would become.

One thing I’ve always wanted though was to know my mom. I never got a chance, and dad didn’t talk about her much. I think it was just too painful for him.

What do you do now?

I am a partner in Mayson-Dickson Investigations. You might say I fell into the job. Shhh! My sister Jackie Dickson is laughing at me. Alright, I’ll tell the truth Jackie, you just hush. Jackie and I were thrown, yes thrown, into an ‘off-the-books’ Witness Protection program. That is how we ended up in Virginia Beach. “What? I am getting to the point! Yankees. She’s from BOOOSSTTON.” Anyway, as we were trying to figure out what was going on, we walked along the beach and a very dead body washed up, landing on me. Ewww! Ewww! I will never get over that stink.

As we tried to drown our uncertainly with margaritas, we decided we’d make good private investigators, and it would be a legitimate way to look for details as to why we are in this witness protection program.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

So far, we’ve solved a few cases, but as for the investigation into our parents we’ve just gotten more questions than answers. In our second caper YANKEE TENACITY, a murder victim literally falls into the bed of my brand new truck. I’m a pickup truck girl, and, hang on….”Jackie, do not be calling me a redneck. I’m surprised you can say the word since y’all from Boston have no letter “R” in your alphabet.” Sorry, where were we? Oh, ya, dead body in the bed of my truck dressed in a kilt no less.

“I’m getting to it.” Why are Yankees always in a rush? Just let me tell the story.” There are currently four books in the series, and I have a habit of attracting dead bodies. “What’s that?” Oh, that’s my sister’s maniacal laugh. She seems to think it’s funny that dead bodies have a way of, well, finding me.

Our author has a released coming out in late September — Battlemints of Blue — yes, I know it’s misspelled, but y’all will understand when you read it. It begins with the dead body of the director of our Witness Protection program dead…..and gulp……ME being kidnapped. Oh, and the introduction of a new cast member U.S. Marshall Dillon.

Continue reading “Emmaline (Emme) Mayson (of Mayson-Dickson Mysteries, by Jocie McKade)”

Gilda Wright (of the Gilda Wright Mysteries series, by Diane Bator)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a woman who landed her dream job as the receptionist at a karate school. She’s here to tell us about handsome instructors, a local bookie, and more mysteries than she’d counted on.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I grew up in the same small town I live in now, Sandstone Cove, on the shores of Lake Erie. My dad was a police officer and my mom stayed at home with me until I was a teenager. It was a safe place for a kid even with the influx of tourists all summer. My friends and I used to ride bikes and spend a lot of time at the beach. I loved to spend time on the front porch listening to my dad and his buddies talk about cases they’d worked on as well as working in the garden with my mom.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

My favourite toy as a child was my bike – until my dad died. He and I used to ride around town and around the shoreline as far as we dared to go. He’s where I got my curiosity for solving puzzles and my sense of justice from. Once my mom went to work for an interior design company, Dad and I spent more time together. Since he died a hero, the town renamed the park near where I now live in his honour. If I need a dose of his wisdom, I simply go for a run there to reconnect.

What do you do now?

What I know now is that my little world isn’t as black and white as I’d thought as a kid. My dad was shot while responding to an armed robbery at a bank and one of my most supportive friends now is in the mafia. It’s both scary and comforting that he sits out front of my house when I get myself into trouble.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

While Dead Without Remorse isn’t about my latest adventure, it does fill in a couple things that readers of the series missed due to an anthology story in between Dead Without Glory and Dead Without Pride. This is the adventure where an explosion leaves a gaping hole in the streetscape where the Nine Lives Consignment Shop and the former Yoshida Martial Arts School once stood.

When police find remains of a bomb—and a body—inside, I need to track a killer before the suspects scatter like debris. Especially after my boyfriend, Mick Williams, crawls out of the rubble! Let me tell you, I was terrified!

Continue reading “Gilda Wright (of the Gilda Wright Mysteries series, by Diane Bator)”

Dana McCarren (of The Hook, by Kathleen Doler)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a globe-trotting journalist making the journey back to her childhood town, a place she has been running away from all her life.

She is there to reconnect with her family, her drug-addicted brother, and the town’s tight-knit surfing community. In the process she runs into a gang war, a violent drug kingpin, the FBI, and a whole new family crisis.

She is here to tell us about facing her ruinous childhood, her inability to sustain relationships, and her struggle to move on with her life. 


Tell us a little about growing up in Half Moon Bay and learning to surf?

When he was a thirteen-year-old grommet, my older brother, Shane, started learning to surf with his buddy, Craig. I was always determined to do anything Shane did. So, I’d ride my bike out of the neighborhood and hunt them down — I had the makings of a journalist even as a tween. I’d pedal as fast as I could…away from that house, away to anywhere. Finally, Craig got tired of seeing me sitting alone on the foggy damp cliffs, watching. For my twelfth birthday, he gave me his old yellowed and dented surfboard, coated with dirt-encrusted surf wax. It was waterlogged, heavy and hideous, but it smelled like coconuts and it was mine. I started trying to ride it, getting drilled into the sand regularly. I was hooked. Surf rushes. It fills my ears and quiets my brain. It washes off the shame.

Do you have any cherished childhood memories?

Cherished? Not a word I’d ever use in the same sentence as “childhood.” I ran away from my fucked-up family (sorry, journalists always have potty mouths) as soon as I’d graduated from high school, when I was just seventeen. I rarely visit my hometown of Half Moon Bay. It can suffocate me worse than a collapsing wave. Craig helped me make my escape to college…at the time, Shane was already self-medicating, escaping in another way.

What do you do now?

Although I’m a business journalist with a well-respected newspaper I like to tell people I’m a professional gossip. Really, what do I do? I get people to tell me things they’re not supposed to say and I’m not supposed to know. If I ask the right question, the person I’m interviewing squirms. That tells me I’m on the right track. I’m a road warrior; I travel frequently for work. It’s a great way to avoid having a real life, one with relationships and commitments. I don’t have pets; hell, I have a hard time keeping house plants alive.

Continue reading “Dana McCarren (of The Hook, by Kathleen Doler)”

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