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Author Showcase

Fall 2005 Featured Author Lorna Schultz Nicholson

RT: In reading the bio, it seems that athletics and writing seem to go hand in hand for you. Given the diversity of your own experience, what drew you to writing about hockey?

Lorna Schultz: When I was young I played hockey and loved the game. Now my son plays so I’m a hockey mom. Hockey is such a fast and exciting game that to write about it, for me seemed easy. My husband is President of Hockey Canada so hockey is a huge part of our lives and this also allows me access to wonderful research for all of my books. We attend so many games and were even at Salt Lake City, Utah, for the Olympics. Hockey is a way of life in Canada and we live in a climate where we can have an outdoor rink. I guess, I picked hockey because it’s a sport I know well and a sport I truly love.

RT: Given your own interest and participation in athletics, is there any Lorna in Kaleigh, the young girl hockey player in the hockey series?

Lorna Schultz: Oh yes. Kaleigh is a lot like me, although I didn’t ever play on a boys' team; I always played with girls. But, like Kaleigh, I was an athletic tomboy who in my early teens discovered that being feminine wasn’t all that bad. My fourth book, Delaying the Game (November 2005) is about Kaleigh. I have to say though, I think Kaleigh is a better hockey player than I ever was. I also have a lot of friends who play female hockey for Canada so I drew some of Kaleigh from them. I guess maybe, I wished I was like Kaleigh.

RT: Although the stories are fictional, you still offer detailed, factual information not only about hockey, but also diabetes. How difficult is it to weave the facts into the story so that they separate themselves from the fiction without sounding like preaching?

Lorna Schultz: I did a lot of rewriting. At first, especially with the diabetes part, I sounded like a textbook. After I wrote the first draft, I gave it to a woman at the diabetes clinic at the Alberta Children’s Hospital to read to get all my facts straight. Then I gave it to a young hockey player who has diabetes; and he helped even out the facts. The hockey information was a bit easier to weave in as it comes and goes so much. I do like to put facts in, though, so anyone reading who plays hockey can say, “aha.” I think that’s important.

RT: The target audience for your books are middle and advanced readers. What do you hope that tweeners take from your stories?

Lorna Schultz: There is a subtle life message in every story and I hope my readers can reflect on those issues and maybe [something in there will] help them make good choices in their own lives. It is important to me that the books are more than "just" a hockey story, I want a life story, as well. I also want to keep boys reading. I have a 12-year-old who really doesn’t like reading much, but who will read sports stories. Since I’ve started these books I’ve had so many parents tell me how much their boys enjoyed them and how, finally, they were able to find a book they wanted to do for a report. This is a critical age and to keep them interested is a dream of mine. I guess it also makes me feel as if I’ve made a difference to society in a funny, little way.

RT: You mention on your Web site [www.lornaschultznicholson.com] that your children are your story critics, in part because they want their friends to like the books. Have they given you any ideas for future stories?

Lorna Schultz: My son is so funny; he loves to give me story ideas. He has all these crazy ideas, too. Some are too crazy, but some are great. He also has a lot of friends who give me ideas when I’m driving the carpool to hockey. When they get carried away and have aliens in my stories I start to laugh. My girls are 14 and 15 right now, so they are a bit beyond “Mom’s stories." They would really like me to write a book like The Sisters of the Traveling Pants book instead. I do gather lots of story ideas from my school tours though. So, I’ve got a book proposal in on a story about Sam, the goalie.

RT: In addition to children’s fiction, you also write mysteries and murder mystery scripts. Do you think you’d ever write mysteries for youth audiences?

Lorna Schultz: You know, I’m game for anything. So sure, maybe one day. As my girls are teenagers, I’ve been thinking about some Young Adult books too. Maybe a mystery, who knows. I’ll keep my eyes and ears open for story ideas so stay tuned.

RT: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Lorna Schultz: I have to say, I’m having the time of my life writing these novels. I love the response I get from children and their parents. When I hear that a child who doesn’t like to read is reading, I feel great. I’m a true believer in literacy and I feel honoured and blessed that I’ve been able to publish some books, as this is helping literacy. I don’t believe books will ever be phased out. So keep reading everyone!

Lorna's Website: www.lornaschultznicholson.com.


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