Community Novel Project: Capital City Capers

It’s not a mystery the library loves books, but a book being serialized and published at the library sure is. Capital City Capers: An Ad Astra Per Aspera Adventure comes out in late September.

Come to the Book Launch Party Sept. 30The community novel features 20 different authors who each advance the story by writing a chapter. Keep reading on tscpl.org where a new chapter is posted each week. Writing and publication began in May and the last chapter is slated to go live Sept. 3. A book launch party will be held Sept. 30, with books for sale at the event. RSVP on Facebook.

The adventure/mystery follows 25-year-old Kevin Emile, a Topekan, through the challenges of being a young web designer wishing he were anywhere but here. Before he can leave Topeka behind, he is assigned to a city marketing campaign called “Topeka is Awesome.” The adventure takes him and his intern to so many recognizable Topeka landmarks that the book is sure to hit home with readers. It certainly has for the writers.

“I feel like I’ve accomplished a big goal of mine. I wanted to be published at some point in my life – something that wasn’t considered self-published. It was so nice to be included,” said author of Chapter 7 Sarah Burkett.

“The challenges were that I had to be faithful to what everyone else wrote, but I still had to be myself. I left enough avenues to allow someone else to have fun with the plot. I introduced the villainess and I killed someone,” said author of Chapter 10 George Ismael Feliu.

Learn more about the authors and read the book at tscpl.org/community-novel. Once all chapters are complete, the library will turn this digital book into a physical book and ebook available for purchase. Each author will receive a free copy. It took most authors less than a week to write their chapters. Some, like Sarah and George, had to write out of their comfort zones, while others were accustomed to writing in the genre.

“Style-wise, it wasn’t far from what I’ve used in the young-adult ebooks I’ve published, said Chapter 8 author Paul Swearingen. “I’ve also written some science fiction and a ton of non-fiction columns and articles, so I really didn’t have to switch gears very much. I did have to be careful about continuing the characters established in earlier chapters, though.”

It’s the first project of its kind – that we know of – by a public library. Librarians Lissa Staley and Anne Pepper are spearheading this effort.

“It’s a great way for fledgling or even more advanced writers to get their work seen. It will be the first book for many, if not most of them,” Anne said.

Plans are in the works for next year’s community novel. Interested writers should contact Anne.

A public relations professional, editor and writer, Lisa shares the library story in her blog posts, in the bimonthly Library News, and media interviews. A self-described social media and news nut, Lisa harnesses that passion to raise awareness and understanding of the library's vital role in this community.