Warren Stoddard II is the author of a new work of motorcycle fiction. His novella, No Birds in Yesterday, is his first book and comes out March 30, 2021, from Pine Needle Floor. Born and raised in the Hill Country of Central Texas, Warren Stoddard II attended Texas State University and received a BA in English. Following his graduation in 2018, he traveled to Syria to fight as a member of the Kurdish YPG in the war against the Islamic State. He was later wounded in action liberating the city of Ash Sha'fah from ISIS control. He now lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with his lovely wife, Noelle. His short work has been featured in DicE Magazine, Into the Void, The Barely South Review, Persona Literary Magazine, and numerous other publications worldwide. His short story "The Way of the World" was the winner of the 2018 Gates-Thomas Prize for Fiction. Take a moment to meet Warren.
When did motorcycles come into your life? Motorcycles have always been a part of my life – for as long as I can remember when we were driving down the highway and a Harley passed us, my mom would roll the window down so that we could hear the roar of the motorcycle as it rode by. And there were always the stories about the old Shovelhead in pieces in an old Blue Bird school bus that belonged to my Dad, who was killed when I was young.
What was your first motorcycle? I pulled my Dad’s ’68 Shovelhead out of that bus eventually and tried to piece the pink and seafoam thing together, but that process took years. The first bike I ever rode in the interim was a 2003 Triumph 900 that I sold my car to buy. It was way too fast, and I got into a lot of trouble and fun on that thing before I totaled it.
Photo by Liam Kennedy
What type of motorcycle do you currently ride? I’ve still got my Dad’s ’68, still pink and green, and it takes me everywhere; I’ve also got a ’73 Shovel chopper that we won in a raffle that I zip around town on, and I’m in the process of building a 1930 Harley-Davidson VL.
If you could pick one stretch of road to ride on, what would it be and why? Something about the legacy and wide openness of Highway 90 out through West Texas is so pure to me – you ride down it and feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself, running through these towns with a speed limit higher than their population somehow puts you closer to the earth. 170 from Terlingua to Presidio is another that takes your breath away as you’re going down it – Mexico to your left, jagged red American rocks to your right. I guess that’s two… ride ‘em both; your life will be better for it.
Can you tell us about your new book, No Birds in Yesterday? No Birds in Yesterday is a western novella told in the spirit of Don Quixote. It follows a man, Jackson Hunter, on the run from the law – on a Panhead – a modern-day Buffalo Bill onboard a Harley stallion ripping westward. But the Wild West has changed since the glory days, and Jackson must consider what it means to live the life he’s decided for himself to lead in a world that’s changed from long ago – whether that past can be reclaimed or if it’s forever gone. It’s short, at 140 pages; it fits nicely in a back pocket or strapped to a sissy bar. Perfect for reading when your buddy’s broken down on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, and you don’t have cell service – which is where you should always strive to be.
Where can people purchase the book? It can be found on my website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, through local bookstores on IndieBound, and Dymocks (in Australia).
Would you like to thank anyone? My wife Noelle, because she rules. Chance Miller, Spencer Beck, and John Delamater, who came on the original foray into West Texas that inspired this work. The boyz at the Dojo in Birmingham, for always having my back. Nick Resty in particular for designing this cover for me. Jerimiah Smith, Liam Kennedy, and Sam Bryant for making me and my bike look cool in pictures. And Gary fucking King, because he’s a legend and he taught me everything I know about these old motorcycles, and in turn, much of what I know about life. -Warren
No Birds In Yesterday - Website / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / IndieBound / Dymocks