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Q+A with sports novelist Lorna Schultz Nicholson

March 29th, 2012 by Carrie Gleason

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Q: You’ve aimed at getting boys to read by writing hockey novels. Does it work? Have you seen it working?

A: One of the things I did was approach hockey tournament organizers and see if they wanted to use my books in any way. I hooked into the Kelowna Heat Hockey tournament in B.C. and they used my books as MVP prizes instead of giving out medals. So every game (and there were lots of games) one child from each team would be selected as the MVP and they were given one of my books.

The response was overwhelming. The kids loved the books and so did their parents (for a lot of them it also meant one less trophy to dust.) They wanted me to sign the books and it was so fun to see the boys reading them in between games.

My books have also been used at other many other tournaments and many Junior teams use them for their Read and Succeed programs. And that is cool because here we have teenage hockey players reading to kids. Then the boys leave them in the library and the response from librarians is always positive. They have line-ups to take the books out.

My hockey novels have also been used at the Okanagan Hockey School as give-aways and, again, it is fun to see hockey players at camp sitting under a tree during their down time, reading one of my books.

And most recently, I was asked to present at a Hockey Palooza day in St. Catharines and it was a great way to get students excited about reading sports books.

 

Q: General consensus is that boys are reading about sports, but usually on sports blogs or news sites. Are the boys you're encountered surprised when they learn that hockey fiction exists? What does it take to get them to try it?

A: The fact is that there isn’t a lot of sports fiction books for boys. And boys do love reading fiction — if it has good action. So they are surprised, and pleasantly I might add, when they discover my books and others in the Lorimer Sports Series.

I really research when I write my books so I use language that is sport specific and age specific. I use coaching manuals for drills so when a boy reads my book he can say, “I know that drill. We did it in practice.” I know that kind of information resonates with boys. Librarians can steer boys to them by telling them they are full of authentic action I have so many boys reading my books (and not just hockey players) for the hockey scenes.  

 

Q: How do boys use your books and what kind of reactions have you had?

A: At book signings (I do book signings at hockey tournaments all the time), I tell the boys to use them for their book reports. This creates a lot of excitement with the boys and their parents. A lot of parents will say, “He can never find a book.” Boys also use them in the AR program for points. And this is good too. I have a lot of boys who email me and ask me questions about my books because they need to answer questions for their reports.  I had a young boy (Connor) from an AAA hockey team who emailed me at least three times and he would say, “I love your books and I'm doing a report on Sam.” This was cool, because he was relating to the character which meant . . . he was relating to the fiction!

 

Q: Your new Podium Sports Academy series is sports fiction for an older teen audience. Why write sports fiction at this level?

A: My first book in the Lorimer Sports Stories series, Interference, was published in 2004, so many of my readers are now older. Many have asked me when I would write something that is for teens. So the Podium Sports Academy series is my response to this. I also thought it would be fun to include girls in the books because, in their teens, boys like girls. I have tried to create a school with a recurring cast of characters but still include all the necessary sports action. It has been really fun to write about some other sports in addition to hockey. I speak to a lot junior high and high school students and I’ve written stories for the series that I think they will enjoy reading for pleasure. 


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