- Does writing energize or exhaust you?
In all honesty, it does a bit of both. I get so energized from the thinking, creating and writing. But the mind is a funny thing and once I/we (my editor and me) are down to the nitty-gritty edits, it starts shifting towards my next project. Ideas start popping up and I have to hold them down. This is often the time when I also wake up in the night and think…I made a mistake and then I lose sleep over that one mistake. Often I get up in the night and make the change, then I can’t go back to sleep. Does this make any sense?
But writing does give me charge.
2. What is your writing Kryptonite? I want to say my dog because he is always wanting to go for walks but then when I walk I get energized and my mind frees a bit and thoughts come through. So that isn’t really true and I don’t want to blame him anyway, he’s too good a dog. Well sometimes. I know that coffee and chocolate are my reverse Kryptonite’s. Maybe being with friends?
3. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I haven’t really thought about that. Right now there is no need for me to do that.
4. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have tons of author friends. I dog walk with Karen Spafford-Fitz and Debby Waldman and I eat dessert or talk about eating dessert with Natasha Deen. I get together with Sharon Jennings, Karen Bass and so many others when I’m in Toronto. They all help me because they write such amazing books and reading their books makes me better. And talking about plot problems, character problems or even publishing problems is really helpful.
5. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I have done both. I have written series. In fact the 4th book in my One-2-One series has just been released and all the characters are connected through their high school Best Buddies group. But I have also written stand-alones and have one pitched as I’m writing this. No confirmation but it is pitched. I also take on the odd non-fiction project. I’m currently writing a 40th anniversary Oilers book which has been a huge project as I interviewed so many people. Just different work.
6. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Years ago, I took a trip to the NWT and I paid out of my pocket but it was such a great trip and gave me insight into my characters and their landscape. I went to Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk and it has stayed with me. Years later I went back to the NWT with the TD book tour and loved it all over again.
7. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I loved to read as a child and my mother really encouraged us to read. I remember reading Anne of Green Gables and I loved Anne so much. The scene with Matthew and the puffed sleeves has stayed with me for years. I also loved Trixie Beldon and wanted to be in the Bob Whites of the Glen.
8. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
That is a super hard question because I don’t think any novel is under appreciated but I know what you are asking. You know, I can’t answer this question if I’m honest. I’m thinking and thinking and to me all the books I’ve read and loved are appreciated by me. It’s a hard business and sometimes as a writer you wonder why your book doesn’t get this or that, why you don’t get foreign sales or front spots in Chapters, then you get an email from a reader who tells you how much it meant to them. That means it was appreciated.
9. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Wow, you ask really amazing questions. But they are hard. I’ve never thought about this but once I went to a shaman and he said perhaps I was a deer in a past life. So maybe a deer. Because sometimes I need to slow my work down, and fill the holes. I’m a fast worker and I like to get to the end so it would be helpful to slow down every now and again BUT deer can get moving too when they have to and can they jump!
10. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Tons. I have a few adult mysteries, an early reader, a middle grade reader and a couple of teen novels. Boo hoo. No one wanted them. Oh, and I have a one-act play and a screenplay.
11. What does literary success look like to you?
This is something that keeps changing as I raise the bar for myself. At first it was to get published. Then it was to get a second book published. Then it was to try a non-fiction and a teen novel. Now I want to maybe do a teen thriller, something completely different. I would also love some foreign sales. BUT…all that aside, what is important to literary success is the reader telling you they read your book and got something from your story. I think in the end that will be my definition of literary success.
12. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I do a lot of research. How long I spend depends on the book and what I know or don’t know about the subject matter. I can research for months before starting a novel.
13. How many hours a day/week do you write?
This really depends on my travel schedule. I travel a lot, and do a lot of author visits to schools and sometimes this disrupts the writing. When I’m home, at my desk, I can work 4-5 hours on a new project before I have to answer emails and questions like I’m doing now. Lol.
14. How do you select the names of your characters?
Names just come to me. Although once I wrote an entire novel knowing I didn’t like the one character’s name and when I finished it and was doing my second draft I changed it. And the name worked.
15. What was your hardest scene to write?
I wrote a bullying scene in a novel titled Born With (One-2-One series) and it was hard to write because I know that it was mimicking reality and that made me sad. My character getting bullied was gay.
16. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I write in many different genres because I’m always trying to improve my writing and challenge myself. For instance, I’m writing this Oilers project which is non-fiction and I’m almost nearing the end – woo hoo- and I can’t wait to write a middle grade novel I signed a contract with Orca. Did I tell you I can’t wait to go back to fiction??? So exciting.
17. How long have you been writing?
Since I was little. I took a break in high school to play sports and be a jock and in university to get a science degree. But I did write a lot when I was young.
18. What inspires you?
Everything and anything. My mother wrote poetry and loved books so she is a huge inspiration to me.
19. How do you find or make time to write?
I don’t believe in writer’s block. I call it procrastination. I just make time to write because I can’t not write. Even when I wasn’t published and was getting rejected and wanted to quit. I just couldn’t not write.
20. What projects are you working on at the present?
I have my non-fiction Oilers book which will come out in the fall, and I’m currently doing photo captions for. I will go back to my work as soon as I finish this questionnaire. (Nice break.) And I just had a teen novel A Time To Run: Stuart and Sam be launched, so I should do some media stuff and get my website updated. I have a middle grade I’m going to write for Orca Currents in the spring and another hockey book in my Amazing Hockey Series.
21. What do your plans for future projects include?
Not sure. I’ve pitched a couple of teen novels and I’m playing around with a teen thriller. Not sure where it will go. It’s fun sometimes to play around.
22. Share a link to your author website.
lornasn on Instagram
Lorna Schultz Nicholson on facebook
Lornasn on twitter
Lorna Schultz Nicholson has published over thirty-six books, including picture books, middle grade fiction and non-fiction, adult non-fiction and YA fiction. (She is currently working on a 40th Anniversary Edmonton Oilers book.) Many of her books have made the CCBC Best Books list, been Resource Links picks and been nominated for awards. Her children’s books are about kids and their diversities and friendships and school and family life and emotions and feelings and… the ups and downs in life. We all have those ups and downs, and we’re all different, which makes us all special. Lorna lives in Edmonton with her hubbie and two dogs, a whiny Bichon Shih Tzu, and a naughty, hyper puppy she rescued from Mexico. Well, he’s not a puppy anymore but she treats him like he is. Over the years she has been a television co-host and reporter, radio host and reporter, theatre and murder mystery actor, fitness coordinator and rowing coach. Now she is full-time writer. She travels to schools all across Canada to inspire children about her love of reading and writing, and she loves talking to adults about writing, and leading writing workshops. She remembers her before-published days and wants to encourage writers to keep pursuing their dreams. Being an author is a dream come true.