Dennis Tye is an avid motorcyclist. He is also an avid movie buff. AND he is also an avid writer. A few years ago, it hit him that those three worlds needed to merge so that he could fill what he saw as a glaring hole in American fiction and cinema.
“I watch a lot of movies and I realized that there are no movies about people my age and there are very few good motorcycle movies,” says Dennis. “Usually, motorcycle movies are about wild hogs, or the bikers are all drunks, or there’s slapstick humor. I thought that we needed a good movie to share what it’s really like to ride on the open road. But before you can have a movie, you need a good book. So, I decided to write that book.”
The Last Ride, published in 2015, tells the story of six men who have all received terminal medical diagnoses. They are all dying. The men decide to embark on their last ride together.
Dennis says that he wanted to tell a good story but he had two deeper goals: 1) To share the brotherhood of bikers and what it’s like to be included in such a sacred bond, and 2) To share what it’s like to ride a motorcycle out on the open road.
“Riding a motorcycle is so different from riding in a car, a bus or a plane,” says Dennis. “But it is darn next to impossible to capture that feeling. I wanted to share what it’s like to drive down a country road, with the sun coming through the leaves, the smell of grass and trees, the scent of barbeque on the air, people walking by, kids getting excited when they see your bike. It’s just an amazing feeling.”
Dennis says that, once he sat down to write, it only took him about six months to complete the book. His wife, Lauren Preston, helped edit it. (She sobbed when the characters she loved faced difficulties and she asked Dennis, “Why did you do this to him?!”)
Developing realistic characters was initially hard for Dennis, but he decided to imagine real people as he wrote, which helped break his writer’s block.
“I thought James Brolin was perfect for the main character and Trace Adkins would be the perfect Tony, who is big and brawny but has a gentle heart,” says Dennis. “As soon as I pictured my characters as those guys, it was a lot easier to write.”
Dennis has been writing his entire life. He says poetry is a form of therapy for him. His dad, who Dennis describes as “an amazing painter,” once said to Dennis, “You do with words what I do with paint.”
“That’s the best compliment I ever received,” says Dennis.
It would be fantastic if The Last Ride were turned into a movie, but Dennis knows it’s a stretch. He’s hoping to give a copy to Trace Adkins during an upcoming concert, just to see if he might help advocate for a movie. In the meantime, Dennis is already at work on his next novel. It’s called, One Foot in the Grave, and it’s about the motorcycle accident that took his leg and nearly took his life. That book should be published in December 2019.
To get a copy of The Last Ride, email Dennis Tye directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.