But before you do, find out about Mark Louis Rybczyk right here on the Blog-Zine!
1. Greetings and welcome to the Blog-Zine. Please tell us a little about yourself. My name is Mark Louis Rybczyk. I know the three-part name sounds a bit pretentious, but let me explain. I host a morning radio show in Dallas. When I started in radio, they asked that I change my name, because Rybczyk was too difficult to pronounce (actual pronunciation: Rip - Sick). So I used my middle name and became known professionally as Mark Louis. Later in my career, my station program director gave me the nickname Hawkeye, and I have been using both Mark Louis and Hawkeye for over 25 years. Now I am stuck with three names.
When I write, I like to use my real last name, but professionally, nobody knows who Mark Rybczyk is. So after my first book, I started using my middle name and my last name. Interesting note: When I published my first book, San Antonio Uncovered, the publisher wanted me to use just my radio name, 'Written By Hawkeye'. I declined
2. Do you feel like your background or upbringing influences your writing style? If so, in what way(s)? My writing style has always had a sense of humor about it. I love to write characters that have quirky but lovable characteristics. I've gotten a lot of reaction about one character in The Travis Club that drives around in a car that resembles a giant taco. Before I became a radio host, I worked as a stand up comedian. I think my background there has always spilled over into my writing.
3. Describe your novel, The Travis Club, in seven words or less. San Antonio's version of The DaVinci Code.
4. I’m always curious when it comes to mystery novels and the people who write them. For you, the author, where does the inspiration to write in the mystery genre come from? Dreams, nightmares, visions. . .what? Actually, my inspiration for this mystery came from San Antonio's unique and sometimes quirky history. The city is such an unusual place, much different than the rest of Texas. There are still many influences from the Spanish missionaries who settled the land and the German immigrants who flocked to the city 150 years ago. Combine that with the Alamo and the Riverwalk, and you have a city that is like no other.
I have been writing about the history of San Antonio for over 20 years, in both my first book San Antonio Uncovered and on my blog by the same name. My novel, The Travis Club,takes actual pieces of the city's history (such as the tomb of Davy Crockett in back of the nation's oldest cathedral) and develops a backstory and plot surrounding the tomb's supposed contents and a powerful cartel that wishes to protect the secret.
5. In your novel, The Travis Club, if you were your main character’s BFF, what advice would you give him/her and why? Be more confident with women. Or at least fake it.
6. Is there a central message or theme in The Travis Club that you hope readers will come away from the reading experience with? That's an interesting question, because the protagonists in the book, a group of friends who call themselves The Travis Club, have pledged to protect San Antonio's historic treasures. Some might consider the importance of our past the theme, but they themselves are often conflicted about their mission. I think people take different things from my book, so I would probably say there isn't a central theme.
7. If you had to do it all over again, is there any aspect of writing your novel or getting it published that you would change? No, there isn't. I waited a few years after I had rewritten and professionally edited the book to self-publish and I am glad I did. I felt the timing wasn't right to self-publish when I first finished the book and I wasn't really happy with my previous experiences with a publisher. I really enjoyed the self-publishing process and I am glad I waited. My job as a morning radio host includes a certain amount of marketing, so it was a natural extension to promote my book. There are also a considerable number of avenues to assist self-published writers. I highly recommend Goodreads.com. It is free to set up your author's profile and the site gives you access to thousands of readers. I would also recommend blogging and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. I was pleasantly surprised about the number of ways to promote my book and I'm still learning of new ways every day.
8. What has been the toughest criticism you’ve received as an author? What has been the biggest compliment? The toughest criticism is that I am a horrible self-editor. I can't even post on my Facebook page without making a variety of errors. I need my wife to read over my blog posts, just to catch problems. I've also found that my first drafts are filled with superfluous things that don't advance the plot. Editing out unnecessary parts of the book was difficult for me at first. My biggest compliment has been from the readers of my book, who have asked for a sequel. As a first time writer of nonfiction, I had no idea what type of reaction, if any, I would get. To be asked by them to write a sequel is most satisfying.
9. What’s next for you? What can readers look forward to from Mark Louis Rybczyk? My next two projects include working on my San Antonio Uncovered blog, which is still rather new. My three blogs (Metroplexing - about Dallas / Fort Worth; Travel With Hawkeye; and San Antonio Uncovered) have been excellent ways to promote my book and reach out to new readers. Also on the table is a sequel to The Travis Club. I hate to disappoint people who are expecting something in a matter of months, but to be honest I am not a fast writer.
10. How can we find you online and where can we pick up a copy of The Travis Club? The Travis Club is available in both print and eBook on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and Apple iBooks. You can learn more about the book and about me online at www.thetravisclub.com.
*Bonus Question: What are you reading now? How is it? I am big fan of writers of magazine articles and have found an app for my iPad called Longform. It offers articles from some of the best writers in the business and from a larger variety of sources. I highly recommend this app if you are a fan of that type of writing. I find myself reading two to three articles a night.
Do yourself a favor and pick-up or download your copy of The Travis Club by Mark Louis Rybczyk today and read to tell about it! Also, join us on The Travis Club Virtual Book Tour, going on right now! Click HERE or on the banner below to view the itinerary and plan your next visit. You just might win a copy of The Travis Club for your personal library!