I know I promised an interview with fictional character, Tyrone Mayhew in March, but Ensconced, in which he plays a starring role, was launched early that month. Detective Mayhew found himself very busy with his premier as the star of Ensconced; however, I was finally able to pin him down and here is my interview with him.
Detective Tyrone Mayhew is thirty-eight years old. He began his work with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit ten years ago. His first case went cold, but in Ensconced new evidence comes to light and he gets a second chance at it.
Michele: Welcome to my blog, Tyrone. I’m sure those in our audience who’ve seen you in Perfidy and Inconspicuous are excited to get to know you better as the star of Ensconced.
Tyrone: I’m happy to be here Miss May, and thank you for the opportunity to headline one of your novels.
Michele: It was my pleasure and you may call me Michele.
Tyrone: All right, Miss Michele.
Michele: I noticed you use Miss in front of women’s names. Did you grow up in the
Tyrone: We lived in South Carolina until my father died. My mother’s family was in Indianapolis, so we moved there when I was five. My mother always taught us boys to respect women and our elders. I still have some of my accent and don't always finish my 'ing' words, but Hoosiers don't even do that.
Michele: So you have brothers and sisters?
Tyrone: I have three brothers. James, who was named after my father, is twelve years older
than I am, Darius is ten years older, and Michael is eight years older. Then there’s our baby sister, Ophelia. She’s two years younger than I am and is married to Judge Norman Jackson.
Michele: That’s quite a large family.
Tyrone: Yeah, and back in the mid-seventies it was pretty tough. My brothers all got part-time jobs to help Mama out. She always taught us that if we stick together we could do anything. She never let any of us quit school either. My brother Michael was the first of us to go to college, mostly because James and Darius went to work in factories after high school and helped Mama save for it. Michael's a lawyer in Chicago
Michele: It sounds like you had a great family life even though things were tough.
Tyrone: That’s because our mama was so supportive and encouragin’. Of course, she was real
strict, too. The others may not admit it, but we never wanted to cross Mama.
Michele: So, what made you decide to become a police officer?
Tyrone: I guess I always wanted to help people. When I was growin’ up, it just seemed like
the neighborhood was fallin’ apart. Drugs were creepin’ in and people were shootin’ each other. And, of course, there were plenty of complaints about how the police weren’t doin’ enough.
Michele: So you wanted to become a police officer to make sure things were getting
Tyrone: That was definitely part of it. I was twenty-three and pretty naïve when I took that
first ride in a squad car with my nice new uniform and shiny badge. That day we were called out to two robberies and a domestic and I got my first taste of how things weren’t as simple as people think.
Michele: What happened?
Tyrone: I guess the biggest thing that got to me was the lack of cooperation of witnesses. How are we supposed to catch the bad guys if no one will tell us anything? I’m sure some of them were afraid they’d be next if they said anything, but this sure makes the job harder. From that time forward, I started defending the force and tryin’ to get people to understand what it takes to be a cop.
Michele: It’s not a job that I want. I’m very much in awe of those who do.
Tyrone: Thank you, Miss Michele.
Michele: As I understand it, you took your detective exam and decided to try for a
post in the Missing Persons Department, which is where you work now. Why Missing
Tyrone: I guess being man who loves his family, I couldn’t imagine the pain people must
feel when someone they love goes missing. It would tear my heart out if one of my children disappeared.
Michele: In Ensconced, you and I delve into a story of your first case in Missing Persons. Were you excited to get another chance to solve this case?
Tyrone: Yes. Anyone would. New evidence shows up in Chapter 1 and I’m lucky enough to have a fabulous new partner in Sergeant Benjamin Jacobs to help me go through our case
files and see what was missed the first time around.
Michele: Have you and Sergeant Jacobs been partners for a while?
Tyrone: I believe it’s been about four years now. He’s a bit too serious sometimes, but
he’s really sharp. That’s why he not only made sergeant, but he’s now a shift supervisor. (He leans towards me and whispers.) ‘Course, don’t tell him I said he was really sharp. I don’t want it goin’ to his head.
Michele: He won’t hear it from me. Tell us a little more about your wife and
Tyrone: (His smile widens and there’s a twinkle in his eyes.) My family means the world to me. In Ensconced, my fourth, and last, child is born. I really don’t want to tell fans if it’s a
girl or boy and spoil the surprise. Those who read Inconspicuous know that Jada went into labor at the end of the novel.
Michele: I’m not going to insist that you spoil it either. Tell us about your other three
Tyrone: Darryl is nine and gettin’ a little sassy, but he shows respect and I think he’ll do
great. He gets A’s and B’s in school and loves to read.
Reggie is six and a typical middle child. He torments his brothers and excels in sports, especially baseball. We have to have a little talk now and then about his grades, but he’s a great kid.
Malcolm just turned three so he’s still as cute as a button and not quite to the stage of showing us what he’s got. Of course, his mama teaches him manners, corrects his grammar, and has taught him how to read a few words. Pretty great for a three-year-old.
Michele: That’s wonderful. They sound like fine young men. Now tell us a little about your wife, Jada.
Tyrone: (Leans back and closes his eyes for a moment with a dreamy look on his face.) Jada Clayton Mayhew is one of the finest people I have ever met. She’s a registered nurse and has taken off for a stretch to raise our kids. She loves the nursing profession, so she’ll
probably go back to it sometime. I’ve been married to that woman for ten years now and it’s been the happiest times of my life.
Michele: It sounds perfect.
Tyrone: Oh, don’t get me wrong. We’ve had some pretty nasty arguments now and then, but we never go to bed mad. We always take time to cool off and then talk it through. Of course, those who read Ensconced will see us go through a pretty tough time. I hope they will buy the book to find out how it all works out.
Michele: I do, too. (I smile.) You played a pretty significant part in my first novel, Perfidy.
Tyrone: When Mandy Stevenson came to our boss, Lieutenant Melrose, for help finding her
mother, he assigned us to the case. We had to question a lot of pretty strange characters and had to ask for assistance from Homicide. In the end, it was Mandy who had to confront the antagonist and the identity of this person was a complete shock to all of us.
Michele: I’ll stop you there. We don’t want to give away too much in case there are those who
haven’t had a chance to read Perfidy.
Tyrone: I don’t blame you. We wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone.
Michele: Well, Tyrone, that’s all the time I have today. I want to thank you for sharing your life both personal and professional with us.
Tyrone: Oh, there’s one more thing I should point out before we go. The Indiana K-9 Search
and Rescue non-profit organization helped you significantly in getting the facts correct in the use of recovery dogs. In gratitude for this assistance, a portion of the net profits from all sales of Ensconcedwill be donated to this organization.
Michele: Thank you for mentioning the donations, Tyrone. The Indiana K-9 SAR and others like them across the nation do not get payment for their services. The only way they can survive is through donations. This group and other SAR groups travel all over the nation assisting in rescue and recovery efforts during disasters such as the 9-11 attacks, tornadoes, hurricanes, and most recently the mudslides in Washington state to name a few.
Tyrone: Right, the only dogs the police departments keep are dogs that look for drugs and
bombs, so they depend on these organizations when they are looking for missing children and adults, alive or dead, under the ground or in the water. They are amazing and a much-needed resource.
Michele: That’s right, Tyrone. If you love a good mystery, you’ll love Ensconced, but know that you aren’t just getting the pleasure of reading it but you are helping to keep this Search and Recover team in business.
If you want to make a donation to this or a SAR organization in your area you can simply search for Search and Rescue in the US. The Indiana K-9 SAR website is http://www.indianak9sar.org/ Check the Donating and Volunteering section to find out how to donate directly.
Thank you again, Tyrone.
Tyrone: I had a great time.
To find out more about Tyrone and how he solves homicides with the help of his colleagues in The Circle City Mystery Series, go to www.amazon.com to purchase your print or eBook copy. Print copies can also be purchased online from your favorite bookstores. For signed copies, go to my website www.memay-mysteries.comand click on Order Books and I will send a signed copy to you at no charge for shipping.
Until next time.