Mario Zeleny – Lover of all things tea. Mario spent 15 years in healthcare and social services in clinical and administrative roles that offered coaching to employees and volunteers. An artist and entrepreneur from an early age, Mario now brings his love of writing, art, spirit, coaching and ritual together online at his creative living site, Sancti Spiritus and also from his transformational art site, Art Spellz. Mario looks forward to completing his education with Mentor Coach and St. Clement Seminary. He currently resides in Sacramento with his husband of 8 years, their children and their domestic sovereign, a pug named Brigit.
His latest book is the self-help inspirational, Ritual Tea: How the 9 Secrets of Tea Can Transform Your Life.
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life! Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more aboutthe process. Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning? Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?
I was having a Mad Hatter Tea Party on my blog in July of last year and decided I wanted to offer something valuable to my partiers. So, I started writing this little e-book on tea. The partiers were going to be gifted the book because they signed up for my email list. But, they never got the book because it kept growing and became a “real” book!
It’s been a real learning experience and I loved every minute of it… even the challenge (hair pulling) of converting for print and Kindle. Just the other day, I contact the people who signed up for that little e-book from the tea party and they are getting a paperback mailed to them… 9 months later!
Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
Writing a book isn’t difficult, editing and making sense is the hard part! As a writer, I must always remain willing to intimately and completely know my subject, including things I’d rather not know. Basically, I have a relationship and I am making a commitment to that relationship until the book is born. This relationship isn’t always fun, does require some things that feel like work and sometimes my subject wears me out. I had to make room for it my life and I had to share it with my spouse. But, for me as a writer, there are big payoffs in this relationship as well as honor and respect for my subject which is why I keep my commitment.
Keeping a schedule is something that also helped me tremendously. It was finding a schedule that worked for me that was difficult.
Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?
I am my own publisher and I would not trade the experience for anything. I guess I am a person who wants and craves intimacy not only with my subject but with the entire process of writing and publishing. I do have to say that being in charge of everything and doing everything including formatting, graphic design and art for my book cover as well as converting to different publishing formats can be daunting. But, I have to admit that things are like that when I am trying to meet a deadline for the first time. And, this was my first time for not only writing a book, but also publishing one.
Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
The only surprise was believing I found all my errors, only to reread my manuscript to find more the next day… and, the day after that! It was like some gremlin was putting them in overnight. I also discovered how quickly and without notice I can screw up my formatting. The best template is one I create myself.
Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?
I am offering a free companion class to my book at ArtSpellz.com. I will also be creating subsequent courses. I am hoping to combine these courses for another book.
In addition, I plan on adding photography to my book, as well as personal testimonies and stories. So, perhaps next year I will have a new edition of Ritual Tea.
Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?
I am old and like Facebook!
Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
My book is about the transformational power of tea. Tea has an incredible, unusual and sacred history which included changing people’s lives; some lives were not always changed for the better primarily because of the way they treated tea. But for those who are open, tea can change your life in wondrous ways.
Most folks believe you have to be a monk or a tea master to practice a tea ritual; I wanted to confront that mistaken belief and make tea a transformational practice approachable by anyone. My book provides the help and inspiration to get started.
Q: Thank you again for this interview! Do you have any final words?
Thank you for your interest. You can find my book at Amazon and my store www.MarioZeleny.com/shop. This month I am giving away tea with my book!
You can find me at: