Release Date: October 1, 2019
About The Book:
Mary Jane Black’s debut memoir tells her inspiring story of finding love later in life, in the midst of abuse and pain. “She Rode a Harley” details the kick-ass adventures of a woman whose second husband, a biker since he was 13, taught her how to save herself by believing in her own strength, power, and individuality. Mary Jane writes courageously, as though her time spent riding Harleys has transferred to the page, with smooth, gliding transitions and powerful, engine-revving scenes.
In “She Rode a Harley,” a schoolteacher escapes an abusive marriage and finds a new love on a blind date. Mary Jane’s new man, Dwayne, is certain that riding a Harley will restore her confidence and, sure enough, Mary Jane ends up following the white lines with him through 15 years of marriage. Traveling together, they learn to be partners, both on and off the road, until Dwayne is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Mary Jane writes of caregiving, and the joy and pain inherent in a love meant to last.
About The Author:
Mary Jane Black studied English and journalism as an undergrad, and went on to pursue a master’s in English with a concentration on creative writing. Teaching writing and literature at the high school level for fourteen years, she nurtured her students’ voices as she hid her own. After long days of teaching, she would spend sleepless nights scribbling stories in tattered notebooks found in her classroom and writing short poems in the margins of her desk calendar. Her first memoir She Rode A Harley will be published by She Writes Press on October 1, 2019. Excerpts from it have been published in Shark Reef Journal and Oxford American Magazine. She now lives in Austin, where she is a literacy specialist for the State of Texas. Visit her at https://maryjaneblack.com/ .
“With unsentimental language and unblinking courage, Mary Black recounts her big-life adventure—on Harleys, and off. If you’re looking for a great true-life love story, this one is it.”— Joyce Maynard, author of The Best of Us
“She Rode a Harley is a vibrant memoir about love, loss, and second chances… There’s warmth and immediacy in Black’s story” — Foreword Clarion Reviews
“A compelling narrative” — Kirkus Reviews
An Interview with MARY JANE BLACK
What motivated you to write a memoir?
The story I tell of my marriage to Dwayne was building inside of me from the moment we sat in a doctor’s office and received his cancer diagnosis. We had a remarkable love story. I know everyone probably says that! However, we were both over forty and love had almost wrecked both of us before we got together. I escaped an abusive relationship before I met him. At my first memoir workshop three years after Dwayne’s death, the dam inside me broke, and I wrote the first essay for the memoir. By the time I went home, I had three essays completed.
In the pages of my book, Dwayne lives again. I want my readers to meet this remarkable man, for them to join us on the incredible road trip that was our life together.
How did you get involved in motorcycling?
On our wedding day, Dwayne and I made a vow to love each other until death and to buy a Harley together. Within a year we bought and rebuilt together our first Harley, a 1980 Shovelhead. It’s called that because the top of the motor looks like an upside-down shovel. Eventually, Dwayne brought home my first Harley which was a police Road King. Hesitant at first, I loved the feeling when the large motorcycle rumbled beneath me as we danced down the highway. Even though I don’t own a Harley now, I still see myself as a biker, a Harley rider.
You have escaped from marital abuse. What would you tell a woman who has yet to do that?
I had to stop listening to everyone who told me I’d hurt my children if I left their father. I spent years waiting for that magic moment when they’d be old enough for me to leave. I spent twenty-three years in a state of fear, trying to keep from making him mad. He never broke any
bones, but he killed my soul. I would say to any woman living like that she needs to escape to save her life. She only gets one, and it’s too short to spend being terrorized. You are stronger than you can possibly imagine. I found happiness and the love of my life as soon as I walked out the door. Think what may be waiting for you.
Describe your writing process.
I would like to say I wake up at dawn each day and write, but I don’t. I’m one of those writers who spends a lot of time thinking about an idea I have for an essay or a short story or even a scene in a book. I have a notebook and a big white board on my wall by my desk. During all of this thinking and planning, I’m making notes and drawing a narrative arc of scenes for the writing piece I have in mind. Although I have to say, not all of my ideas make it to this planning stage. Some stay scrawled on an index card and never become anything more.
What’s next for Mary Jane Black?
I’m thinking and sketching ideas on another story that will be based on someone’s real story, and while I’m part of the story, it won’t be a memoir. I’ll write in third person limited point of view rather than first person. This will allow me to write in the active voice I prefer, but have a single point of view.