Local author Joe Niese has taken a different route with his latest book.
The Chippewa Falls author wrote “Gridiron Grit,” a young adult book published by Jolly Fish Press as part of their In the Clutch four-book series of juvenile fiction.
Niese’s previous literary works were lengthy biographies of professional athletes, but the author always wanted to dip his toes into fiction.
“It was just something different, something I wanted to try and a completely different kind of thing,” Niese said.
Jolly Fish Press operates as a writing-for-hire entity. Niese sent his resume to the publisher, and they expressed interest in a book proposal for inclusion in the In the Clutch series. Niese’s book looks at a memorable football season that quickly turns into disaster for Cameron, the book’s main character. As Cameron prepares to take over as quarterback for the Northwood Middle School Lumberjacks, things change drastically before the first practice when a new player moves to town and Cameron becomes the backup and considers leaving the team. .
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Previously, Niese has written biographies of professional baseball players Andy Pafko, Burleigh Grimes and Zack Wheat as well as football player, coach and innovator from Chippewa Falls, Gus Dorais. These books involved several years of research and work while Gridiron Grit took about six weeks to write. With three children reaching the age of full schedules, Niese said the change to try something different was the “perfect setup”.
Written under the pen name JN Kelly, Gridiron Grit will be released on Thursday and can be purchased from Niese’s website (www.joeniese.com) or locally at stores in Chippewa Falls. Jolly Fish Press is a Mendota Heights, Minnesota based imprint of North Star Editions.
When not writing books, Niese works as a library manager at the Chippewa Falls Public Library. And while Niese is relatively new to the world of fiction writing, Gridiron Grit won’t be his last.
“I’ve had little moments where I’ve had book ideas and I have half a dozen book ideas for this kind of stuff – whether they come to fruition or not, I don’t know,” Niese said. “I got the ball rolling with that, and it came pretty easily.”
The In the Clutch series aims to hook readers with do-or-die moments from youth sports, then flashes back to show how the young athletes in the books found themselves having to perform under pressure. With three children approaching the target age for his latest book, Niese said Gridiron Grit can be an easy bridge to this world.
“It’s a fun, easy read with a life lesson,” Niese said. “That’s kind of what you want with books at that young age, especially sports too.”