Sports has always been in Robert Moseley’s blood. A talented multi-sport athlete at Ridgefield High and college, Moseley turned his love of athletics into an award-winning career in sports journalism.
After years penning articles for Sports Illustrated, The New York Times and Tennis magazine, the longtime Shelton resident realized that he could combine his writing skills with his athletics expertise to create something the world of literacy presently lacks — young adult sports novels.
“This really started when I was teaching seventh and eighth grade students,” said Moseley. “The kids knew I had a sports background, so they would ask me to recommend any sports books. That was when I realized that there was little to choose from.”
Moseley said that, outside of H. G. Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights, “there was nothing I felt that was authentic and well-written in that genre. I thought, ‘There is a void there,’ so I decided that could create well-written, authentic sports books for that young age group.”
And with that came Moseley’s first creation, “Out of Bounds,” a national Readers’ Favorite award-winning sports mystery about “a high school scandal that hits a little too close to home.” And earlier this month there was the release of his second book, “Choker.”
While his first book was based in Illinois, Moseley said local residents will definitely recognize locations in “Choker,” in which the fictitious hometown, Clifton, is loosely based on the city of Shelton. He said that the pages read like a local road map with such hot spots as Mill Street, Jones Tree Farm and Indian Wells State Park. If that does not convince readers of the local flavor, Moseley said Clifton is bordered by Monroe to the north.
The book’s main character, a basketball player, plays for Clifton High, which faces teams that local readers will most certainly recognize, said Moseley.
Moseley said “Choker” will attract readers who love basketball, but the book also includes some romance as well to help broaden the potential readership.
“Boys are reluctant readers, and I am hoping to get them interested by creating books that will interest them,” said Moseley, who received New England writing awards from the Associated Press, along with a first-place award for Children’s Stories from Writers International Forum.
“Most of the young adult books we all see are based in fantasy and sci-fi, and I felt there was a void in this (young sports) genre I could fill and pick up readers,” said Moseley.
Moseley’s first book was a mystery, in which a teen reporter uncovers “something too hot for him handle.” But he said his second book is mainly a drama, with a touch of mystery and romance sprinkled in.
“(Choker) is a book about perseverance and having the courage to be different. It starts with the main character, who is biracial, who doesn’t feel he fits in in a mostly white suburban school. It is only made worse when he blows the state championship game. This is a journey for redemption and fitting in and acceptance at his school,” said Moseley.
Moseley, whose books are written for young people ages 12 to 18, also goes right into the local classrooms, speaking directly to the readers he needs to reach to further promote the young adult sports genre.
“I tell the kids when I speak to them, I never thought I’d write a book,” said Moseley. “I thought it was too big a project, and I wouldn’t have the patience for it. But you never know what you’ll do in your life. You can surprise yourself.
“I had a couple good ideas,” added Moseley, “and I thought, why not give it a chance? I felt that I could put out a better book than the books I am reading out there, especially since I knew sports very well. I joke with people and say I have the mind of a 14-year old. I can write something these kids can identify with.”
For more information about Moseley and his books, visit www.moseleyauthor.weebly.com.
brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com