Friday, April 10, 2015

Interview with Sue Irwin

Sue Irwin is a tiny bit of a hockey fan. I mean it's only important enough to her for her to be an avid hockey watcher, research hockey and write a book about hockey. Okay, maybe she's a big hockey fan. She's from southern Ontario and we are all hockey fans here! Sue has a great personality and is just full of so much love.

Sue's book "Safety Stars" was just released in March. Her book is about the great hockey players like Jacques Plante, Mario Lemieux, and Sidney Crosby who all helped make hockey safer. Did you know that hockey players didn't start off using helmets? Can you imagine thinking it's silly to wear a helmet while playing hockey? Some players thought it was silly to wear a helmet. Also many players, hockey fans, reporters and managers were upset at those trying to get hockey to wear a helmet! This wonderful book explains the dangers of hockey, and the brave players who paved the way for a safer game.


 Dani: Why nonfiction?

I’m a curious person. I love to read and learn. And I’m especially fascinated by other people and the things that they do – for their work and for fun. So, when I catch a glimpse into their lives, I love to share what I've discovered with my readers – by writing biographies.

Dani: How safe were you as a kid?

I was really quite safe. I endured the usual bumps and bruises as a kid, but I never broke any bones, suffered a black eye, or even needed stitches for cuts and scrapes (yawn). Secretly, I envied my friends who, after breaking a leg or an arm, returned to school wearing a cast. When they came back to school, our classmates always gathered around, eager to cover the cast in witty sayings and jokes. The writer in me wanted to compose something brilliant, but no matter how hard I tried, I always ended up just signing my name.

Dani: Finish these thoughts

My greatest injury

happened when I was about 18. My brothers, sister, and I used to go skating on a pond behind our cousins’ place. To get there, we had to hike a fair distance – crossing a set of train tracks, and walking single file along a path that twisted past a grove of trees, then down a steep slope. After this particular afternoon of skating, we girls decided we'd just walk up the hill in our skates, rather than taking the time to change into our boots first. So, I followed my cousin as she led the way back up the path, and my sister followed me. When I reached a slippery patch of icy mud, I slid backward. I could just imagine tumbling all the way down the hill – and taking my little sister with me. Instinctively, I put my hand out behind me – and skated backwards, over my thumb. This injury certainly wasn't half as serious as any injury that the players in Safety Stars suffered. But you can still see the scar that the skate blade left on my thumb!

I love

time with family and friends

old black and white photos


every shade of blue

chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake, chocolate pudding

watching my favourite hockey stars play the best sport in the world

snow days

did I say chocolate?

children’s laughter

goldfinches at my feeder

warm mittens and cozy, mismatched socks

the satisfaction of knowing that I did my best


and of course, chocolate

(is that too many?!)

Of course, with love, there is never too much of anything! 

I want to see

the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup!

Dani: What’s special about your work?

As a reader, I’ve always enjoyed reading books and articles that make me catch my breath and say, “Wow!” or “Ooooo!” or “Hey! I wanna try that!” My goals as a writer are to educate, entertain, and inspire. And I’ve been happy that most of my published writing has given me the opportunity to inspire others. For example, my first published piece was a biographical magazine article about Hannah Taylor from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Written for children from 8 to 11, Love and Ladybugs tells the story of how five-year-old Hannah began to advocate for homeless people. Now 18, she continues to raise money and awareness of their needs, through the foundation that she started – The Ladybug Foundation.

Safety Stars is the only book that I know of that combines the topics of hockey and serious health and safety issues (such as concussions and sudden cardiac arrest), and presents this information in a story-like way. Although it includes a summary of hockey history, and a section on past athletes, the majority of the text deals with current NHL players – and events that took place just a few months ago. Because of its focus on how these players fought to bring change to the sport, I hope that Safety Stars will show readers that they, too, can have a positive impact on others around them – just like their hockey heroes!

Dani: My ultimate goal in life

is to be a light in my corner of this world. I want to make a difference in the lives of others – by simply sharing a smile, giving an encouraging word, or helping those in need. I believe that love is the “greatest gift” – and that’s my ultimate goal.

Follow Susan

Twitter: @sueirwin88

You can also find me at Goodreads!

To read more about Safety Stars:

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