I’m happy to introduce another debut novelist. Today’s guest, Kalen Cap, is here to talk about his novel Tangled Ties to a Manatee and how his interest in the environment makes its way into his writing.
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Columbus, Ohio. Active in environmental and other causes, he often brings such
concerns into his fiction writing. Tangled
Ties to a Manatee
is his debut novel.
tell us about your current release.
Ties to a Manatee is a humorous crime thriller with environmental
themes. It is a great story with interesting characters. The storyline’s threads progress and
interweave to a denouement connecting all involved.
first for the Grove City Zoo in Ohio. Ankh is a delight to zoo patrons, a
concern to its staff, and the unintentional victim of two con men. She has no
idea how many human relationships, problems, and dreams tangle around her.
Jerry is a young developmentally disabled man
who happily follows Ankh’s pregnancy on the zoo’s webcam. He has a shy crush on
Janelle, a pretty college student who volunteers for his group home’s outings
to the zoo.
Jerry’s Aunt Vera also loves nature and runs an
environmental retreat center. But all is not well, with Vera or the center. The
center needs money and is under investigation as a cult.
Amid their college studies, Janelle and her
friend Cecily try to help. Instead, Janelle re-awakens an old obsession in Vera
when an innocent tarot reading hints at how the center might be saved.
Two bumbling con men are attempting to sabotage
the region’s electrical grid as part of a lucrative scheme. But, Jerry
accidentally gets in their way and becomes their captive.
When the con men surprisingly succeed in
bringing the grid down, it spells danger for Ankh, her unborn pup, and the many
people tied to them both. With investigations of their own, Cecily and Janelle
try to untangle it all to find Jerry, save a manatee’s life, and rescue Vera
to carry their intruder inside. I’m glad
we’re at this site.
away. That station’s maintenance was scheduled for Monday and Thursday, and
Stan originally planned to use that location. But, with the forecasted weather,
the current station, with its maintenance on Wednesday and Friday, was proving
the better choice. Particularly now, since it had a second building where they
could stow their intruder. The retired grid hub station was used for remote
relayed processing, so there wouldn’t likely be any surprise visits by the
electric company before Wednesday. Stan figured they’d be long gone by then.
Of course, there’s a basement.” Stan flipped the light switch and led the way
down the steps inside. The basement had a storage area and what had been a
break room, complete with a cot, and adjoining bathroom. Craig followed him
into the break room, and Stan motioned to the cot. Craig let the guy fall there
with a thump.
said. The two men pulled the burlap off their surprise guest. They both leaned
over, peering at him.
cord. Craig set the intruder upright and proceeded to bind his hands and feet.
inspired you to write this book?
particularly art, music, and people volunteering to do extraordinary things to
help others. Particular circumstances also inspired me for this specific novel.
local playwright, I wanted to explore some themes and storytelling methods more
in-depth. I was told I had a knack for group dialogue, and revealing a threaded
story with multiple points of view appealed to me. Dramatic events in real life
are likely to involve more than one person’s experience and I wanted to mirror
that in a story with entangled relationships.
nonprofits and college-aged folks. Generally, nonprofits are underrepresented
in fiction, but the environmental and animal protection movements are populated
largely via these nonprofits. Other than stories emphasizing partying or
romance, college-aged protagonists are also underrepresented in fiction. So, I
found an opportunity in combining these elements to provide something unique in
storyline for a humorous crime thriller came to me, I jumped into the story.
With developmentally disabled characters, another concern addressed by
nonprofits with limited fictional exploration, the storyline with two core
threads came together for the novel’s structure and I developed it from there.
exciting story are you working on next?
title, “The Peace Cipher.” While it also
emphasizes college-aged protagonists, it is rather different from Tangled Ties to a Manatee. The main
setting is in Ottawa County, Ohio, and includes a fictional Sandusky Bay
Community College. Artifacts are stolen from a museum exhibit, and the
protagonists find themselves in the midst of competing parties vying for them.
you first consider yourself a writer?
truly felt like a writer when I had plays produced. I could hear and see the
audience’s response to the work more than I had in previous publications of
mine. So, the audience response is really what clinched it for me.
write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and
how do you find time to write?
the novel, I often had two part-time jobs simultaneously. Like many, I fit the
writing in around my work schedule. I do tend to have time off the hourly job
while others are working. That limits distractions so it is easier to focus on
the writing. Also, being part of a local writer’s group that meets regularly
helps me maintain that accountability for keeping at it.
would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
writing fiction, I tend to read more nonfiction. When I’m writing nonfiction,
as I do with newsletter articles for nonprofits, I tend to read more fiction.
child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
to be on game shows – much different than how busy adults appeared in everyday
life. Thankfully, I outgrew that notion.
additional you want to share with the readers?
and Goodreads are currently the best social networking sites to connect with me
about Tangled Ties to a Manatee and
my other writing.