Local author Craig Leener recently published “This Was Always About Basketball,” the third and final book of his basketball trilogy that follows a basketball-playing teen as he works to fulfill his dreams both on and off the court.
“These are stories of friendship and hope, and they draw the rhythm and energy from the great sport of basketball,” Leener said.
It’s been five years since Leener began his journey with the trilogy’s protagonist, Zeke Archer, and now as he sits here after the final buzzer, he said it’s a feeling that’s hard to put into words.
“There’s this feeling of accomplishment like I’ve never experienced before,” he said of the final book’s publication.
Like most who’ve been writing all their lives, Leener said he always felt he had a book in him and, five years ago, he felt it was time to make good on that promise.
“I was at the point of my life where it felt like it was time to make good on that, so I had to immerse myself in how to navigate that process,” he added. “Then one day, I just sat down and wrote the first chapter.”
What began as just one book for Leener turned into a trilogy, as the story began to evolve.
“Tell everybody you know that you’re writing a book, every single person in your life, because then you have nowhere to run, you have to complete the process or else,” he said of the process. “I think that was a key for me … that I really had to come through.”
As a former sports writer who also wrote for The Signal, Leener was able to use his past experiences to make the story come to life, as well as the swish of the net.
“If I hit writer’s block, I had the good fortune of having a third of a basketball court in the backyard, so I’d go out there and shoot free throws, and sometimes that rhythm would help the words flow more readily,” Leener added.
Before Leener tackles his next project, he’s making sure to enjoy that feeling of completion.
“I think it’s important when people accomplish goals in their life that they take a few moments to just bask in that and feel it for a little while,” he said, “because it’s fleeting, and the next thing you know, it’s on to something else — so I’m trying to enjoy right now.”
For more information, visit craigleener.com.