Texas history woven into world history, and two decades of recent military experience coupled with real life battles fought during World War II have merged together to make a story come alive in Flower Mound author Mark Bowlin’s second book to be published just in time for Veteran’s Day.
The retired Navy Commander has announced that Victory Road, the sequel to the award-winning The Texas Gun Club, will be available on November 11th. The tale focuses on the actions of cousins Sam Taft and Perkin Berger as the Texans struggle to take San Pietro, Italy, and advance on the road to Rome during World War II.
Bowlin says that ultimately the series will have at least seven books. The second book in the historical fiction series, Victory Road, will fittingly be released on Veteran’s Day.
Bowlin, who graduated from the University of North Texas, says that becoming an author fulfills a long time dream.
“I grew up reading adventure novels and always thought that writing one would be something I wanted to do. And, that’s what I opted for after I retired from the military,” states the writer who has lived in Flower Mound with his wife and son for the past four years.
His books follow two cousins from South Texas into the National Guard in 1939 and to the shores of Italy four years later. “Although it is fiction, the stories accurately portray a little known slice of Texas history as the Texas Guardsmen were the first soldiers to land on the mainland of Europe and were in hard combat through the end of the war,” he adds.
Bowlin, who joined the US Navy in 1987 and served in a variety of billets, ashore and afloat, here and overseas, incorporates some of his personal military experiences in the books, and says that writing them have been a very rewarding experience.
“A great deal of it comes from my experience—in particular the black humor and the friendly insults. The hardest tour of my career was sea duty during my time in Italy. Our operational tempo was grinding, but the officers that I worked with there were fantastic officers and will remain some of my best friends for life. There’s something about sharing a hard, miserable experience with others that forges friendships (and sometimes enemies) that last forever, even if you don’t stay in touch on a day-to-day basis. So as a small homage to those friends, some of our private jokes are incorporated into the books.”
In his 20-year naval career, he earned numerous awards including the Legion of Merit and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
The Texas Gun Club, published in 2009, won the Military Writer’s Society of America Gold Medal Award for 2010. That book took him the better part of two years to write, the second book took him less than a year to complete, and he is currently at work on the third installation in the series.
He says he is self-publishing the books after contacting over 100 agents. Some were interested in the book, Bowlin says, but when the national economic downturn set in, the interest waned. “When you finish a book, you begin this long dance with publishers and editors. Self-publishing has come a long way in the last few years, and I hope it continues.”
Victory Road was published by The P3 Press, a division of Brown Books Publishing Group, an independent publisher based in Dallas. For more information about the author and his series chronicling the wartime adventures of Sam and Perkin, check out www.thetexasgunclub.com.