June 16, 2015

Katie McGarry: Meet Oz

Katie McGarry, author of the critically acclaimed Pushing the Limits series has gone all in with the Thunder Road series, imbedding herself with a motorcycle club in Kentucky, and using that experience to make Reign of Terror as realistic as possible. Oz rises up as one of the new literary hunks to watch out for – teens will be swooning for him as soon as they meet him. And Katie, known for her realistic portrayal of teen troubles and romance, hits it out of the park with NOWHERE BUT HERE – making her approachable and open to teens when she does school visits across the US.

Be sure to register your purchase of NOWHERE BUT HERE by June 28 to get CHASING IMPOSSIBLE for free.  CHASING IMPOSSIBLE is about Abby from PUSHING THE LIMITS and only available through this offer.

“Run as fast as you can, Emily.” Violet eyes me in a way that suggests she knows more than she should. “From what I’ve heard, some members of Oz’s club are okay with homicide.”
Emily stiffens beside me and my fingers flex on the steering wheel. I should have let Violet rot in the summer sun. She’s lying, but Emily isn’t aware of that. “You know that’s not true.”
Violet’s been hanging with those full-of-themselves snob kids at school who think the Terror is the devil’s playground. Can’t stop haters from hating, but it hurts like hell when one of our own begins to spew the lies.

Nowhere But Here Oz, an eighteen-year-old main character from my newest young adult novel, NOWHERE BUT HERE, is definitely a bad boy.

He’s a child of the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club. He rides a motorcycle, wears a black leather riding jacket and combat boots, carries a knife on his hip, doesn’t mind getting into a fight when the moment calls for someone to step in and he has a tendency to be a jerk when provoked, but he’s so much more than that.

But Oz has a hard time convincing people outside the club of this. Even though he’s a lifeguard during the summer, a referee for a little kids’ flag football team, and sits night after night at the bedside of the woman who is stricken with cancer, Oz is seen as a menace.

Oz fights the same perception that other members of the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club face. The assumption that being a member of an MC makes one a thug, a gangster, a criminal.

What the world doesn’t understand? The majority of motorcycle clubs are legit clubs—meaning they don’t participate in illegal activities. They may play by their own rules, but they do their best to be law- abiding citizens.

How do I know this? I hung out with a motorcycle club to gain inspiration for my new Thunder Road series. I knew I couldn’t write books about teens being raised in this world unless I had firsthand understanding of what their lives might be like. And I learned that, yes, MCs are definitely rough and tumble and not for the faint of heart. With the club I hung out with, the parties are wild, their jokes and language often crude, but they are not the criminals that most people believe them to be.

One of the first things I was told by the president of the club’s chapter was that they don’t run guns, drugs or woman (translation: they don’t illegally sell guns, don’t deal drugs and aren’t involved in prostitution)— the three big illegal activities people assume MCs take part in. During the course of my research, I met many of the club’s members. They were great guys who work normal jobs like the rest of us. I met mechanics and people in finance and factory workers and yes, I met people who were high up in the food chain in corporations. And a lot of the guys I met? They were veterans. They fought on foreign soil for the United States of America.

These men were fascinating and fun and had great, kind souls. They were rough and strong and loyal. They were a brotherhood and I respected them for that. I also respected them when they asked for anonymity. They asked me not to name their club or use their real names. Because of the perception outsiders have of MCs, some members knew their jobs could be at risk if their membership became public knowledge. They knew that people would treat them differently. I heard stories of how someone’s decision to be in a legit MC had torn families apart and this made me terribly sad.

Oz, like the men I met over the course of my research, is so much more than the sum of people’s assumptions. Like the men I met, he is strong, loyal and loving. But don’t take my word for it. Read NOWHERE BUT HERE and meet Oz for yourself. I hope you’ll fall for him every bit as much as I did.


  1. Loved Dare You To so this will be going on my list.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I've heard about some motorcycle clubs and how they really do help a lot of people, but they are often misunderstood and taken to be gangs.


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