Shelton author draws inspiration from school newspaper

Shelton resident Bob Moseley’s new book, Out of Bounds, drew inspiration from some local sources.

Moseley recently published a book that ties together sports, journalism and scandal. The story follows a character named Jason, who joins his school newspaper after suffering a detrimental injury and uncovers a scandal that will rock the entire school.

Set in Illinois, Moseley’s young adult novel addresses a contemporary issue, but packs in the action of a mystery novel. It follows the story of a boy named Jason Jefferson, who has always wanted to become a football star. Unfortunately, a devastating injury sidelines Jason for a year, and he finds a new passion in journalism. Inspired by the Watergate scandal, in which journalists uncovered a government conspiracy that resulted in the resignation of President Richard Nixon, Jason aspires to become an investigative reporter. Through dedicated sleuthing and a bit of help from a mysterious source, Jason uncovers a jolting scandal within the state-champion football team that shocks the entire school.

Moseley was struck with the idea for Out of Bounds, after a member of his writing group suggested that he try his hand at a contemporary mystery novel. The production of Moseley’s book involved much more than simple typing; he first had to conduct a great deal of research. Since the story’s genre is realistic fiction, Moseley wanted it to be as plausible as possible. To ensure that every facet of his novel was believable, Moseley consulted a variety of sources, including Shelton High School’s students newspaper, the Gael Winds.

“I was trying to paint a picture of a real school newsroom,” said Moseley.

Checking out local sources

While researching for Out of Bounds, Moseley visited the first-floor classroom of Mrs. Carolyn Finley, which doubles as the home of Gael Winds, to learn more about how a school newspaper is produced. He thanks Finley for her assistance in the acknowledgement section within the book’s first few pages. There are many parallels between the Hillsboro Herald, Moseley’s fictitious school newspaper, and Gael Winds, from the description of the room to the actions of the journalism students. Moseley refers to a row of Mac computers and to an enlarged Voltaire quote written on the wall reading, “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” two recognizable features of Finley’s classroom. The older journalism students refer to the underclassmen as “Cubs,” a tradition that is followed among the Gael Winds staff. Moseley even seems to describe a typical day in a Shelton High School journalism class.

“Of the 10 or so people in the room, some were designing pages, while others wrote stories, checked paper layouts mounted on countertop, or edited. A couple of kids looked like they were goofing off on YouTube, but everybody else seemed busy,” he wrote.

Moseley is a Shelton resident, and his son, a 2007 graduate of Shelton High, used to bring home issues of Gael Winds when he was a student. This exposed Moseley to Gael Winds and encouraged him to use the school paper as a reference to the one in his novel. As Jason learns in Out of Bounds, one source is never enough when conducting research. Moseley also consulted the Shelton Police Department, where Lt. Robert Kozlowsky helped him understand criminal investigations, arrest procedures and penalties. Having worked as a reporter, Moseley is experienced in the realm of journalism ethics and procedures.

“I wanted to raise the issue of whether or not something should be reported. Hopefully, it raises some moral issues,” Moseley said.

When he was in high school, Moseley was an athlete. He may not have written for his high school newspaper like Jason, but he played basketball, baseball, football, and hockey.

'A great way to make a living'

A lot has changed, though. Since high school, Moseley has done  many types of writing, ranging from business to children’s books. He attended Wittenberg University in Ohio, where he wrote for the school paper.

Immediately after college, Moseley found at job as a sports reporter at the Connecticut Post, which he held for 14 years. He worked on Tennis Magazine, a magazine produced by the U.S. Tennis Association, for several years, although he is now back at the Post once more. He enjoys his job as a journalist.

“Writing is a great way to make a living,” Moseley said.

For those who have enjoyed Moseley’s young adult sports mystery, more from him may be on the way. He plans to see how Out of Bounds sells while trying to rework the first novel he wrote, which has not yet been published.

In the meantime, it seems as though Moseley has found a genre that suits him and his interests.“I hope to carve a little bit of a niche for myself,” he said.

This story originally appeared in the Dec. 12, 2012 edition of the Shelton Herald.

See more about Bob Moseley and his book in the print or e-edition of the Sept. 11 Herald.