Warren graduate Shannon Capps plans to release 'Trains in the Distance' later this year. BRUSH PRAIRIE, WA. - Former Downey resident Shannon Capps and his soon-to-be-released novel, "Train in the Distance," have made it to the quarterfinals of the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards (ABNAs). The national contest is Amazon's way of finding the next John Grisham, Tom Clancy or Stephen King, and it included 10,000 applicants, the field recently narrowed to 500 to create the list of quarterfinalists. "I feel extremely honored to be in the top 5 percent," said Capps, who graduated from Warren High School in 1982 and writes under the name S.W. Capps. "In a difficult industry like publishing, anything you can do to set yourself apart from the masses can only help." From here, the ABNA list will be whittled down to the top 100, then the top 10, with contest finalists announced on May 15. Those finalists will be flown to Seattle for a celebratory gala in late May, where one grand prize winner will be chosen to receive a publishing contract from Penguin Books and a $25,000 advance. "Obviously, winning a national contest like this would be a wonderful thing for my career," said Capps, 45. "But more importantly, this type of recognition would bring some much-needed attention to the city of Downey, the place I grew up and still call home." Capps lived on Guatemala Avenue from 1964 to 1987, attending Roger Casier and Maude Price elementary schools, Griffiths Middle School, and Warren, where he was an All-League second baseman on the baseball team. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism at USC, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1987. From there, he worked as a TV reporter in Texas and Oklahoma before moving to the Pacific Northwest to pursue a full-time writing career. "Train in the Distance," which is tentatively scheduled for a fall release, is Capps' second novel. The story details the plight of a young TV reporter forced to confront the sinister forces behind the station he works for. Under increasing threat of danger, he fights tirelessly to expose the truth, but in the process uncovers something far more powerful: the truth about himself. "It's one part coming-of-age tale, one part whodunit," Capps said. "And with my own experience as a TV reporter, I was able to present a pretty accurate picture on the real - and often ugly - world of television news, the one behind the perfect hair and the glitzy sets." Capps' first novel, "Salmon Run," was published in 2007, and is available at Borders in Pico Rivera and online at Amazon.com. To read more about the ABNA contest or to download a chapter of "Train in the Distance" for free, readers can visit www.amazon.com/dp/B001UG39WO.
********** Published: April 3, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 50