Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

An Interview with Lorna Schultz Nicholson, Canadian Children’s Writer

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I first met Lorna Schultz Nicholson when I took a course on children’s and YA writing at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society. I loved how enthusiastic she was about writing for kids. Lorna Schultz Nicholson works in both fiction and non-fiction, writing for youth and adults, and has helped some pretty big names in hockey tell their stories. She is passionate about getting kids into reading and is very knowledgeable about the youth she writes for. That all said:

I bring you, Lorna Schultz Nicholson.

When did you start writing?

When I do school visits children ask me this all the time and I love to answer it because I started writing when I was young. I entered contests and actually sent something away to a magazine once, just to be rejected. The first of many. As I got older though, I gave up the creative writing and focused more on technical writing. When I look back on my career path I’m not surprised to see that I was always writing. I really started writing professionally when my children were little and I wrote an anecdotal column on raising children and from there I got back into the fiction writing that I loved so much as a child.

What or who influenced you to write?

This is easy, my mom. She wrote poetry and took me to the library every week. She gave me the love of reading and writing.

Why types of writing have you done?

Fiction, non-fiction, magazine writing, script writing for radio and television, and even some technical writing. Oh yeah, and I even wrote a comic strip once. That’s how my Puckster books began.

How did you get started writing for youth?

I have a really good friend named Jacqueline Guest, who is a fantastic author. She wrote children’s sports books and would call me for information on off-sides and stuff like that. Finally, I said, I’m going to write one of those books. And I did. Interference was my first published book. It’s a middle grade fiction about a hockey player.

What age group to you write for?

All ages. I have picture books, middle grade and YA plus a two book series that is sort of a cross-over type novel. I have even written adult mysteries.

What makes writing for youth so entertaining?

They have so much drama in their lives and little problems become monumental. I love writing for children and especially YA. I mean, honestly, high school has so many stories.

Can it be challenging too?

Oh yeah. Proper lingo is important. My children often read my manuscripts and give me feedback and they will say, “Mom, no one says that!” So language is important as are current trends.

Why is YA important?

Simple. We need to keep teens reading. Reading is so important for writing and for life skills.

Why do teens need their own genre?

Because they are going through their own stuff. They have different problems than adults and they need to be able to relate. They are exploring life and living with ups and downs that are their own. Their problems may seem insignificant to adults but they are not insignificant to them. We need to write about the stuff they are dealing with. Their stuff.

What had been a highlight of your writing career so far?

Whenever I get a child or teen who says they read my book and loved it. To me that is the ultimate. Did I move them? Did they learn something about themselves or a friend from my writing? To me that is a highlight.

What is your latest project?

I am working on a teen series called the Podium Sports Academy. It was a six book deal and number five just came out. Podium is a sports high school similar to Fame but for sports. Each athlete has a sport and an issue and they are all friends and date and break up and make up and go through teen drama. But they also compete in their sport so the pressure on them is ten-fold. They are elite athletes but teens. It has been a wonderful series to write! I’m also writing a children’s picture book series about the Hockey Canada mascot, Puckster.

Where can people find your work?

Best place is: My website
Or Amazon.ca, Amazon.com or Lorimer or Tundra Books

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Related item from our archives

Kim Firmston

Kim Firmston is a writer and creative writing instructor in Calgary. Her teen novels Schizo and Hook Up were Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Bet Selections. Her short story "Life Before War" was shortlisted for the 2008 CBC Literary Awards. Her most recent novel for teens is Touch, about a teenage hacker with a troubled family life.

Go to Kim Firmston’s Author Page