Mary Longley, a social justice advocate and author, released her debut novel, Butterflies on October 13th, 2022. Butterflies tells the story of three, seventeen-year-old, African American best friends in 1960s Harlem, as they grow into womanhood and attempt to navigate the racial and political unrest that was rampant in the nation.
While the world continues to shift its gaze toward injustice, Longley is already there, having experienced it firsthand. As an African American woman, she doesn’t hold back when it comes to sharing her story, in addition to helping other women like herself find their voices. She writes from a deeply honest place, covering topics that others tiptoe around.
“I am a brutally honest writer, pulling no punches,” Mary explains. “I tug at hearts and create fires knowing that from scorched earth, flowers bloom lush.” As a mother, grandmother, and advocate for social justice, Mary wants to share her stories on behalf of women of all ethnicities and ages, in hopes of making a difference in the world.
While writing, editing, and publishing her first novel, Longley also launched her own business in September 2022. Butterfly Network USA is a company that focuses on shining a light on stories of women much like herself. The overall goal of Butterfly Network USA is to build partnerships with communities and social justice organizations, in order to assist those in need. At the heart of everything, Longley started this business to bring healing to those who have been traumatized by a system of inequity and oppression.
“I write with hopes of improving the human condition,” she explains, “and I want my business to represent that as well.”
With so many stories to tell and thoughts to share, Longley writes and maintains a blog that she updates every Monday with new articles, where things get more personal than her novels. Her topics range from how she feels about current events, to sharing appreciation to her “Younger sisters of the African Diaspora.” Her upcoming article will Spotlight Harlem United, a community organization based in Harlem, New York that provides healthcare, housing, and other social services.
The business owner and writer gains prominent inspirations for her writing from her own life— events that she would, in turn, work into her stories. The themes of womanhood, experiences as a woman of color, and social justice are major parts of everything that Mary produces, from her novels to her blog posts.
“Butterflies is a heartwarming story of love, family, friendship, and resilience,” she explains. Her writing focuses on the real-life issues that face everyday people. Her debut novel touches on themes that transcend the time period they were written in, allowing modern readers the ability to maintain a connection to the story.
Her second book, titled Cult’s Prey, is based on a series of true events that centers around three friends unwittingly ensnared by a religious cult. The novel is currently in its publishing phase, to be released in early 2023. “Cult’s Prey,” Longley says, “is based on the harassment I endured from racist, sexist, religious factions seeking to indoctrinate me into their way of life. Though Cult Prey’s subject matter is serious, the story is also filled with love and humor—illustrating the human spirit during the most difficult of times.”
Information about the release of Cult’s Prey, as well as details about Mary’s debut novel, Butterflies, can be found on the BOOKS tab of her website. There is also a sequel in the works for Mary’s debut album, Butterflies, which is titled Butterflies II. This second book in the set does not have a release date at this time.
As Cult’s Prey readies for publication, Longley also has two follow-up novels in the works, turning her second book into a trilogy. Prey’s Deception, and Prey’s Revenge do not have a timeline for release currently, although the former is in the process of being written. New information that would detail any updates to this author’s writing process will be found on her website.
“I will continue to partner with local community resources to highlight their stories through The Butterfly Network USA,” Longley promises. Her powerful poetry and justice seeking spirit bring a much needed perspective to issues faced by people harmed by oppression.
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