A man of Xs and Os and other letters, too | TheUnion.com

A man of Xs and Os and other letters, too

There is a book Nevada Union girls basketball coach Craig Strohm can’t wait to get his hands on.

It a fictional story about a basketball coach who rises to the pinnacle of his profession, only to have matters in his personal life complicate all aspects of his being.

Though fiction, it is a story that is close to Strohm’s heart, and who can blame him?

Craig Strohm wrote the novel himself.

Strohm, 50, is having his first novel, “Comeback,” published through the Pelican Pond imprint of Blue Dolphin Publishing house in Grass Valley.

“It is based on a lot of experience, like any writer, but it is a tribute to and a thank you to past players, past teams, combined with a lot of imagination,” Strohm said. “I offend all sorts of people, and I’m proud to say that, because then they’ll run out and buy the sucker.”

While Blue Dolphin generally publishes works that deal with spiritual and social awareness, the Pelican Pond division handles works of fiction. Strohm’s first novel, targeted at young adults, should be available within a month at local bookstores. It is the fifth novel published through Pelican Pond. Strohm said the book is already available on Amazon.com.

“We get about 10 manuscripts a day, and we usually don’t have time to read fiction unless it is something that is highly recommended and well written,” Blue Dolphin owner Paul Clemens said. “Craig’s book has great drama, a great point for teen-agers. It talks about conflicts they face all the time. It is a cleverly done work.”

Strohm, who said he has always had an interest in writing, began “Comeback” three years ago. The devotion to the book intensified in the past year as the story progressed.

Strohm found it easiest to work on the book at 4 a.m., rather than try to squeeze in chapters after school or after coaching varsity girls basketball games and practices.

As the book progressed, Strohm sought out the opinions of colleagues in the history and English departments of Nevada Union High School, who encouraged him to continue the endeavor. Strohm found the process of trying to find a publisher not as encouraging.

“It is a catch-22 with publishers and agents,” Strohm said. “One won’t pick you up unless you’ve had experience with the other, so it was a difficult first step.”

Strohm, in his 17th year as coach of the girls varsity basketball program, hesitates to give away too much of the plot in a newspaper article, preferring to shroud the mystery in a little mystery of its own.

“My own character does have a sense of humor,” Strohm said. “But it is a serious book. A drama, of sorts. A mystery, of sorts.”

Strohm is already busy working on a second novel, again about a basketball coach. He hopes the second effort, a murder mystery targeted more toward adults, will reach a wider audience based on success he hopes to achieve with “Comeback.”

“I’m hoping this first novel opens some doors for representation,” Strohm said.

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