Her books are written specifically for tween girls faced with difficult decisions and lots of peer pressure. Books three and four in the new Scenarios series, Magna and Making Waves by Nicole O’Dell, released in this month (April 2010.) Lessons of right and wrong are put to the test when readers use their own decision making abilities in an eye-opening but safe way. Each book follows a character up to the point where she has to make an important, life-changing decision—then it’s the reader’s turn to choose.
In Magna, Molly Jacobs isn’t sure what she should do: Should she follow through with stealing some clothes for her friends from Magna—the trendy girls’ clothing store where she works? Or should she do what she knows is right, even if it means losing her newfound popularly?
Making Waves finds Kate Walker on the swim team where she becomes obsessed with practice and the upcoming championship. What will Kate do when she’s faced with pressure from her teammates to take an illegal substance that will help her swim multiple events in their championship meet? Tween readers make the choices in these interactive stories and discover how the consequences change Molly’s and Kate’s lives. Both books include a contract and prayer at the end to remind the reader of the importance of making godly decisions.
Now let's learn about the author!
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A: I have six kids ranging in age from 18 all way down to my toddler triplets. I work from home with all of my kiddos underfoot, which presents challenges of its own but has also been a huge blessing. I’m also a returning college student and the youth leader at my church.
Q: When did you discover your love for writing?
A: When I was in fourth grade, I entered a district-wide literary contest. I had to take a blank, white, hardcover book and write a story with illustrations to fill it. My book, The Girl on the Runaway Pogo-Stick, took first place. It was printed and placed in the school libraries in my district. I was hooked from that moment.
I remember the process of writing that book. I was sitting on my bedroom floor (with green, shag carpeting, of course) leaning against the side of my bed. As I was writing about the girl bouncing her way through town, passing all of the businesses and waving hello to various townspeople, I realized that she'd need to pass them in reverse order on the way home. Something in me clicked, and I realized that things like that didn't just happen by accident in books; someone did it on purpose. Suddenly, I wanted to be that person—the one who made things happen and told the story.
Q: How did you break in to the publishing world?
A: It took me a long time to actually attempt any kind of formal publishing. I mainly took classes and wrote for myself through those many years. Finally, a few years ago, I dabbled with a few queries for some ideas that I now see were never going to work—and they didn't. But, once I had an idea that I couldn't let go of (Scenarios) and a far better understanding of how the industry works, I gave it a real try. I actually only sent out one query for the Scenarios series. That query eventually led to a two-book contract, and then another one…now we’re releasing books three and four, with five and six already written and slated for release Spring, 2011.
Q: What has drawn you to writing for the YA market?
A: Fear! Seriously.
When I was a young girl, my mom was my hero. I really believed that she could do anything and that she knew everything. Somehow, when I entered my early teen years, that all changed. I became angry and really gave her a hard time. I regret much of those years now that I see the truth of them. My mom is now my very best friend. I wish I had known then what I know now and had some kind of grasp on just how temporary all of that angst and confusion really was.
Ever since I had my daughters, I have feared those years. My parenting has really been shaped by my desire to avoid as much of that destruction as possible. My heart’s desire is to reach hormonal, confused, pre-teen girls, and to protect them from themselves, and their families from the confusion that can ensue as the girls face those life changes.
Q: Tell us a little about your novels.
A: In the Scenarios series, each main character is faced with many choices and moral dilemmas. Eventually, they find that their choices have led them into a situation that requires them to make a very difficult and potentially life-altering moral decision. When the story has fully unfolded, and the main character arrives at that moment of truth, the reader makes the big decision for her and then turns to the corresponding section in the book where the resulting circumstances unfold.
This format places the responsibility for those decisions squarely on the reader’s shoulders, in hopes that she will learn from her personal experience as she lives it through the eyes of the book's character. She will learn the importance of good decisions as well as the truth about forgiveness and grace. Even when poor choices are made, the redemptive power of Christ is evident as forgiveness is sought, offered and received.
A: How can we find you on the web?
A: www.nicoleodell.com and www.scenariosforgirls.com will both take you to my home base. There you’ll find info about my books, upcoming events, media options, book reviews, etc. You’ll also find a link to my blog where there’s something for everyone. I blog on a set schedule. Monday is always a message to parents. Tuesday is the Girl Talk advice column in which my two daughters and I answer a reader’s question or dilemma. Wednesday is always a post about writing or books. Thursday is a devotion or thought-provoking post of some kind, and Friday is for fun.
Check out the giveaways! I’ve always got books, gift cards and some kind of novelty item being offered. You can enter by filling out the contact form on the website. Drawings are held at the end of each month.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
A: More than anything, I hope to grow this ministry for teen girls. I have a real passion for them and for the mother/daughter relationship as it approaches and weathers the teen years. I believe that our enemy seeks to destroy the family, and one of the ways he does that is by affecting teenagers through temptations and emotions that they aren’t ready to face. It seems that mothers and daughters often have the most difficult time during those years. On the horizon, I have speaking events and outreaches where I intend to bring a message of hope and promise to women and girls who are facing those difficult years.
Q: If someone would like to book you for an author event or a speaking engagement, how can they reach you?
A: They can contact me through my website: www.nicoleodell.com or email me directly at nicoleodellATgmailDOTcom. This is one of my great passions, so I truly do hope to hear from you!
Q: Lastly, how can we meet you? Where can we come see you?
A: You can find out all about my upcoming events at my Web site www.nicoleodell.com. There is an upcoming events page that is updated daily, as needed.
I hope you do take the time to come on out and meet me at one of my events!
Nicole's latest books:
Magna by Nicole O’Dell. April 2010. $7.97. 192 pages.
Find Magna online at NetGalley at this link: http://bit.ly/aUtg7i .
Making Waves by Nicole O’Dell. April 2010. $7.97. 192 pages.
Find Making Waves online at NetGalley at this link: http://bit.ly/cyPMTE .