Monday, 16 July 2012

Interview & Giveaway: Tangled Ties to a Manatee by Kalen Cap

Original Title: Tangled Ties to a Manatee
Author: Kalen Cap
Release Date: May 5th 2012
Genre: Humor, Crime Thriller

A pregnant manatee is rare at any zoo, and a 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 from herself.
Tangled Ties to a Manatee is a humorous crime thriller with environmental themes that is revealed through multiple points of view. The novel emphasizes college-aged characters, though not all, such as the developmentally disabled ones, are in college.



1. Tell us something about your book that is not part of the book description (blurb).

One story thread that didn't make it into the blurb is the romantic and antagonistic entanglements of the characters Steven and Leeanne. Steven teaches the college course that Cecily and Janelle are in together. Leeanne is the head vet in charge of the manatee Ankh's care. Steven and Leeanne receive their newly minted certificate of divorce during the extended weekend of the novel's timeline. But, they both find they haven't yet worked through their enmeshment entirely yet.

2. Your book cover is nice..  Who is your designer and what do YOU think about the cover?

I love the cover. I'm very lucky in that regard from what I've heard about the experiences of other debut authors. Derek Murphy of is the designer. I gave him a simplified mockup a friend of mine helped me with, and he took the idea and created a design that works well. He worked with me over several iterations and changes. I'm happy with the outcome and glad I took the referral for him from Joanna Penn during a webinar arranged by Dana Lynn Smith.

3. What are your current literary works?  Any sneak peaks?

I'm early in the process of writing a novel with the working title, "The Peace Cipher." It is largely set in Ottawa County, Ohio, and the main protagonists attend the fictional Sandusky Bay Community College there. For now, I'll just say artifacts are stolen from a museum exhibit, and the genre is a type of crime thriller.

4. What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?

For a movie, that would be Finding Nemo in 3D. It was already amazing, so I'm anticipating that the effects will be spectacular.

For a book, I'd have to give a shout out to a fellow indie author Kirkus MacGowan and the book "The Sixth Deadly Sin," the second in the John Reeves series he's developing. I was fortunate to be able read his "Fall of Billy Hitchings" in its entirety as part of a critique forum before its release last November. He's done a great job of getting the message out about his debut novel while maintaining an unaffected approachable style. I'm interested to see what happens in his next book.

5. If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?

The Kielburger brothers, Craig and Marc, of "Free the Children" organization, Dr. Lois Lee of "Children of the Night" organization, Jane Goodall, and Ellen DeGeneres.

6. What's the craziest writing idea you've had?

Probably the idea when the place itself in the setting becomes one of the characters among the story's other characters living at the place.  The place could be small, such as a house, or large, such as a planet. For a planet, the character idea would be somewhere between Gaia of Ancient Greece meeting the Gaia hypothesis, for example. But, I haven't found the way to make that palatable to readers in a story with other characters simultaneously.

If that isn't understandable, remember that you did ask for "craziest."

7. Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

Life is more often about the journeys of persons connected with each other, whether for a short time or a lifetime, than it is about one protagonist's epic journey alone, and the humorous crime thriller "Tangled Ties to a Manatee" reveals connected journeys of compelling characters in a great read that is uniquely, cohesively satisfying.
8. Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

I have such an awesome and far-reaching support network. Seeing how excited and happy people are for me as my novel's launched has been the best part of this.

9. What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Forget about ever being ready, just start and keep writing anyway.

10. If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

"Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink" by Jane Goodall.

Oh, wait. I'm already here in that world.

11. If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?

Huh?   (That's not a question, that's the title.)

12. What is your favorite scene in the book and why do you love it?

My favorite scene in "Tangled Ties to a Manatee" is when Cecily and Janelle come upon Jerry when he's with Ankh. It is point in the novel where two long-parallel storylines finally intersect. What happens next to the characters in that specific setting is extraordinary and touches the characters' lives in a way that significantly matters to them thereafter, for better or worse.

13. What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you'd be embarrassed to admit?

Rugrats. It's awesome!

14. What is one book everyone should read (apart from yours)?

Horton Hatches an Egg and/or Horton Hears a Who. Go team Horton!

15. What is your favorite way to spend a rainy day?

Well, I live in Columbus, Ohio, so that's fairly routine. I write some, check in with social networks, run on a treadmill or otherwise workout, do something regarding environmental activism, whether writing an article or updating an organization's social network pages, then watch a film or hang out with friends, and read, of course. That's if I'm not scheduled for my full time hourly job that day.


Favorite place?
Coastal Great Lakes, particularly Ottawa county, Ohio

Best Christmas present?
Books, such as "The Winter Solstice: the Sacred Traditions of Christmas," by John & Caitlin Matthews

Favorite book?
The Lorax

Favorite author?
Carl Hiaasen

Favorite smell?

Favorite series?
TeenNick Halo Awards (annual award show series)

Not really

Favorite writing spot?
coffee shop

Favorite movie?
Jumpin' Jack Flash

Favorite dish?
Clif bars, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut

Favorite color?

Favorite quote?
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

A bunch of small gifts or one big expensive one?
A bunch of small ones

Your best trait?

Your worst trait?


Kalen Cap is a writer living in Columbus, Ohio. Active in a variety of causes, particularly with regard to the environment, he often brings such concerns into his fiction writing.

Tangled Ties to a Manatee is his debut novel.

He has had poetry published and several plays, both one act and full-length, produced locally. Two short stories have been published as well. "Feral" is a short story published in Off the Rocks, v. 14, ed Allison Fradkin, NewTown Writers Chicago, 2010, pp. 119-126. "Transforming Oracle" is a self-published short story available at

AUTHOR ONLINE: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+


Kalen will award a $25 Green Gift Card from -- redeemable for GCs from hundreds of your favorite merchants to one randomly drawn commentor.

So, please comment below to win this awesome giveaway.  Anonymous and Name/URL commentors --- please leave your EMAIL ID in your comment.

Giveaway open INTERNATIONALLY and ends August 13th, 2012!


  1. Thank you for hosting today.

    I'm interested in hearing how readers feel about including an animal as a character in a story.

  2. Thanks for a fun post! Congrats on the new release!

    I'm an animal lover (specifically dogs) so it's fun to have animals included! Definitely adding this to my wishlist ;)

    1. Thanks Erin. Yes, some books for adults such as "The Art of racing in the Rain" have a dog as main narrator these days.

  3. I like having an animal in a story, as long as it's not for a tearjerky purpose. The book sounds great!


    1. Thanks Anonymous. Appreciate your interest.

  4. Great interview, I enjoyed it.

    1. Thanks Ingeborg. Vidya covered a great range of topics for it.

  5. Great interview...sounds like a good read!

  6. Sounds like a very fun read!
    madelinebrubaker {at} gmail (dot) com

  7. Sounds like a good read. I love books with animals.


  8. Thanks for the giveaway

  9. I love animals, too. Cats are number one, but all animals are wonderful! I love books about them, too!
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  10. Rebecca Hipworth3 August 2012 at 08:04

    This sounds hilarious! :)


  11. I enjoyed the interview. Nice cover.



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