A Heroine on a Harley

Posted at Jun 26, 2015 8:25 pm

Originally posted on The Book Babe’s Blog, February 11, 2014

162863_8481My series protagonist, Dirty Harriet, is a wisecracking, ass-kicking, Harley-riding private eye. Naturally, readers often ask if I’m a Harley rider myself. Afraid not. Or, more accurately, afraid to. While Harriet rides a motorcycle, I ride a bicycle. The kind with fat tires and a single speed. It tops out at about 10 mph as opposed to Harriet’s Harley Hugger’s max speed of 103 (which she has taken it to). And the dissimilarities between me and my lead character don’t end there. Harriet lives in a log cabin in the Everglades; I live in an air-conditioned house. In a gated community. Harriet does martial arts; I do ballet barre. Harriet shot and killed her abusive husband; I’ve shot and killed a beer can.

DSC01210So what gives? Why did I give Harriet a Harley? Okay, here’s the thing. Jimmy Buffett said Margaritaville in not a place – it’s a state of mind. I say a Harley is not a thing – it’s a state of mind. A symbol: Strength. Freedom. Control. Self-reliance. Independence. Ingenuity. Courage. America. So while I’m outwardly living my reclusive, reticent writer’s life, the biker chick that resides within gives me the guts to meet life’s challenges head on. Like all women, I’ve had my share, from schoolyard bullying to divorce to bosses from hell to illness and loss. Now, when crap happens, I ask myself: what would Harriet do? And I always get my answer. She wouldn’t cower and cry – she’d face it and fight. And not only for herself or her loved ones. Harriet fights for the world’s dispossessed – those who haven’t been given a fair shake.

hd_woman_adHarriet and her Hog didn’t spring out of nowhere, of course. When I was eighteen I met a Harley-riding preacher and spent the next twelve years of my life on the road with him (while also going to college, grad school, and supporting us financially, since he also happened to be chronically unemployed with addiction issues). So while that relationship was a rough ride, I did get plenty of insight into the Harley world and the Harley psyche. And I experienced what I call High on the Hog – that feeling of flow, of being in the zone, that altered state of mind that comes with hearing the repetitive rumble of a V-twin engine and seeing the road roll by under your feet. It’s when she’s in that altered state that Harriet is able to assemble the diverse clues that point to the killer she’s hunting in each of her cases.

My hope for readers is that Harriet inspires them to channel their own inner biker babe. Here’s wishing you a Harley state of mind!

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