Interview and Giveaway With Nicole O’Dell

Today I'd like to welcome to the blog Nicole O'Dell, author of the Scenarios for Girls series! Nicole is a great author with a heart for teens, and someone I've enjoyed getting to know. Stay tuned for info how you can win a signed copy of one of her latest releases Magna and Making Waves.

Jen:  Tell us about your newest releases.
Nicole: Magna and Making Waves are both part of my interactive fiction series, Scenarios for Girls, in which the reader gets to make a life-changing moral decision for the main character and choose between two alternate endings.

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 friends? Girls ages 10 to 15 make the choice in this interactive story and see how the consequences change Molly's life. Includes a contract and prayer to remind the reader of the importance of making godly decisions.

Making Waves:Kate Walker joins the swim team and becomes obsessed with practice and making it through the championships with flying colors. With a scholarship on the line and pressure from everyone, 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? Girls ages 10 to 15 make the choice in this interactive story and see how the consequences change Kate s life. Includes a contract and prayer to remind the reader of the importance of making godly decisions.

J: I got to read Making Waves recently and really enjoyed it. Okay, Nicole, describe yourself Twitter-style in 140 characters or less.
N: @Nicole_Odell loves doing impossible things and showing how big God is. Laundry and dishes r not big things. Gotta go, baby fell off the couch…….
J:  Finish this sentence. I wouldn't be caught dead wearing:
N: Stirrup pants (I hear they're coming back), plastic shoes, a bikini (I had triplets, folks).
J: And this one: I would step in front of a bus before eating:
N: Brussels sprouts.

J:  Good call. Ick. So now you're on a stranded island with only one book. What is it? (And they have a Bible in every coconut tree, so it can't be that one.)
N: A photo album of my kids. Oh? That's not what you meant? Randy Alcorn's, Deadline. I love that book! I've read it several times. He has such a way with heaven and if I were stranded on an island alone, I'd want to think about heaven.

J: Your books are like Choose Your Adventure. Tell us why you went with this approach to your series.
N: I didn't just want to tell a story about cause and effect. I wanted the reader to be able to live out the consequences of her own moral decisions. I believe she'll learn from her choices–both options–by putting herself right in there and taking responsibility for what the main character does.

J: You can check out the series trailer HERE. But Nicole, why in the world are you writing for teens?  (Like, who would do something crazy like that?)
N: I like them…and they scare me. Equally. 😉
J: You REALLY need to come hang out at our high school. It would be (quotey fingers) fun (more quotey fingers).

J: If you could go back and talk to your high school self, what would you say?
N: This, too, will pass.
J: Like zits? Or the ability to eat a whole pizza without gaining a pound?
N: Seriously. Everything is so grave at that age. It's all so life-shattering and everything has to be in such a rush. I would love to tell my teen self to slow down and enjoy the fun moments and don't rush the adult ones. Oh, and that Scott Davis isn't going to be very cute later on–so don't waste the tears.

J:  What advice would you have for teens who want to write?
N: Just start writing. Take classes like Creative Writing, Literature, etc. See if your church or a local club has a writing group that meets regularly. It's a great way to get around people at varying stages of writing. The main thing is to just enjoy the process and not worry so much about the mechanics at these early stages. Just put words on a page and enjoy it!
J: I love that–just enjoy it. And I'd add–just be yourself. I always tried to write like authors I admired, but I wrote terrible stuff until I started writing like me. (Now it's only semi-terrible…) What's the best part about writing for YA? The hardest?
N: The best part is that I get to talk to lots of teens, I get to do fun events, and it totally keeps me young–ish. The hardest is knowing whether it's still okay to say things like “it totally keeps me young.” I ask my youth group about words I'm unsure of. They keep me in touch with today's teens–unless they're just toying with me to see what they can get me to put in print. That's a distinct possibility.

J: My four year old niece has been using the world totally like a pro since she was three. She would make a great valley girl. So what is your most  embarrassing high school or jr. high memory? I don't have a single one, so I have to live vicariously through others….
N: OH! I was in 10th grade and we had just gotten our yearbooks. I had a big crush on Dave, so I turned to the page where his football picture was. In diagonal lines all the way down the page, except for where his picture was, I wrote I *heart* Dave! over and over again. Then, class ended and some friends and I traded yearbooks to sign. Somehow, Dave got in the mix and wound up with my yearbook. Of course, he turned to his page to sign it by his picture…naturally, right? He just signed his name and handed it back to me. I wanted to crawl under a desk.

J: I hear Dave now lives in his mother's basement and still pines for you. So what are your favorite TV shows?
N: I'm a reality show junkie. American Idol. Project Runway. Top Chef. The shows where people buy houses. I love them all.  Not a fan of the Real Housewife type, though.

J: LOVE American Idol and those HGTV “buy a house” shows. So any hobbies or guilty pleasures?
N: Life is so full or writing and being a mommy…I also take online classes. and lead a youth group. I don't have a lot of extra time for personal hobbies right now. I try to get in some exercise several times a week, and I love to read and go biking.

J: If you could meet anyone famous, who would it be and why?
N:I'd love to meet Jillian Michaels–she needs to whip me into shape! I'd also love to hang out with YOU!
J: BAH! I said famous. Not “would you like to hang out with a stressed out teacher/writer with bad eating habits?”  I'd love to hang out with Jillian Michaels too. I just ordered her new cookbook. I'm going to enjoy reading it and pretending like I cook… Thanks so much for stopping by the blog, Nicole. I'm excited about your new releases. Don't forget you can check out Nicole's website and super-informative blog HERE.

Finally, let's give away a copy of Magna and Making Waves. To enter the drawing to win one of the two books, leave a comment and answer this question: Since Nicole likes to read, but doesn't have a lot of spare time, what's a book you've read and enjoyed lately that you'd recommend she read? (No sucking up by mentioning books by authors with the last names O'Dell or Jones…)  You have until next Thursday, 8 pm central time to enter. Two winners will be announced on next Friday's blog.

Have a great weekend!


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 20 comments
Tammy - April 9, 2010

My all time favorite book is “Black and Blue” by Anna Quinlin. Currently I read nothing but inspirational fiction (hint, hint) and I’m anxious to have my 13-year-old wanting to be 20-year-old read Nicole’s books. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

Madison A. - April 9, 2010

I love the book “Ms Match” by Erynn Mangum. It is actually the first book of the three in the series, the other two being “Rematch” and “Matchpoint”. I’d love to read Nicole’s books, and maybe I’ll win!:)

Nicole O'Dell - April 9, 2010

Thanks, Jen!!! So fun!

(I have to admit that I “amazoned” (that’s a verb like googled and means almost the same thing) “Joan O’Dell” just hoping she wrote a book. Joan was as close to Jones as I could get.

Sadly, there is no such author. Maybe we should join forces and write some kooky expose’ under that pen name. No one would ever know!

karenk - April 10, 2010

just finished reading WATCH OVER ME by christa parrish.

vanessa - April 10, 2010

Fun! I love the Chronicles of Narnia series! If you haven’t read them, DO! They rock! There’s a bunch of parallels to the Bible, too!

Jessica - April 10, 2010

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston. It is an amazing fantasy novel =]

Katie P. - April 10, 2010

I really enjoy the Miracle Girls series by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt. They’re good, Christian fiction, about teen girls. It’s Ok if you don’t take my opinion, because I’ve learned not to go out and buy a book based on someone else’s opinion! This book series has no fantasy (which I enjoy, but you might not), but a lot of humor and teen issues.

Jenn - April 11, 2010

She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell
Not YA, and it’s historical-but very easy reading.
Bottom line, it’s about being real vs faking it to be accepted. The book is 1800’s, but are we really any different now?

Paris - April 11, 2010

Someone already recommended MissMatch by Erynn Mangum, so I’ll reccamend her new book Cool Beans:) I haven’t read it yet, but I can’t wait! If you like fantasy, you should read books by Wayne Thomas Batson, I love his too.

Michelle - April 12, 2010

The Edge of Recall by Kristen Heitzmann. Or anything else she has written!

Rebecca - April 12, 2010

Anne Frank and Me- by Cherie Bennet and her husband Jeff Gottesfeld. I read this way back in 2001 and it has stayed with me as hanting, beautiful, and real.

The other book was: The Pearl by Angela Hunt. This I read and thougth about for days after.
Both of them were awesome!

vanessa - April 12, 2010

Oh, I don’t know if I can go twice, but if I can’t, count this as my recommendation: The Hiding Place. Fabulous book! I totally recommend it!

Allison - April 12, 2010

Loved the interview! Jen your questions crack me up and Nicole your answers are equally hilarious! Loved the one about Dave!!! hahahaha

So I know you said “one” book, but guess what I’m going to do more. Yea I’m like that perfect student… Doing more than is required. Who am I kidding! Yea right! More like I’m too lazy to try and think back and remember what could be my favorite and just pick one so guess what Nicole now you have options! But I did narrow it down to some of my fav youth christian fiction. Guessing thats the style you want? No “Illiad”, “Crime and Punishment” or “War and Peace”? Anyways here’s the list of christian youth fiction favs I’ve read in last few months (I will not suck up and include you jenny. Even though you are my favorite. Wait was that sucking up?)

“Ruby Unscripted” and “Caleb + Kate” By Cindy Coloma

The “Carter House Girls” Series by Melody Carlson and “The Secret Life of Samantha Mcgregor” series also by Melody.

This has gotten lots of reviews but I’m going to mention again. 3rd times the charm! 🙂 “Miss Match” and “Rematch” by Erynn Mangum

I have a few more, but thats where I’ll stop. Those I read in the past couple months and I was addicted to them while I read them!

Jenny B. Jones - April 12, 2010

Great suggestions, guys! Keep ’em coming. And no, it doesn’t have to be Christian fiction OR YA. Anything goes! Well, not anything…

Allison - April 13, 2010

Oops and I forgot to mention I’ve read all the books, but “Caleb + Kate”… Don’t think thats been released yet and even I don’t have those connections to read the books before they come out to everyone else, sadly. But, I’ve read magazine reviews and things and it sounds awesome so I’m getting it when it comes out…. Just wanted to clear that up so everyone doesn’t think I’ve got the connections. No, actually I’m just your average girl who happens to have won a couple of oscars. Yes and I also have a black belt in karate and at night a transform into a superhero and save people in danger. Yep. Just your average girl. 🙂

Rachel - April 14, 2010

Ok…this is hard…i’m reading “dear john” by nicolas sparks right now and its really, really good, and then there is “if i have a wicked step-mother where is my prince” and there are so many more great books out there…so many good books…i need more free time lol

Carla Torrijos - April 14, 2010

I see she writes a lot about teens/for teens. I would recommend Silent to the Bone by Konigsburg. It’s got a little mystery and some good suspense. I recommend this because it has a boy for the main characters. As a teacher to middle school and jr. high kids, it’s always harder to encourage boys to read especially if the book is about girls. Maybe this will inspire her to write a book that boys would pick up with little persuading.
I read this book in one night. I couldn’t stand not knowing what happened so I stayed up till 3 am on a school night to finish it.

Kendra - April 15, 2010

Hey, I’ve Just recently finished reading the Christy Miller & Her Forever Friends Collection by Robin Jones Gunn. There are 3 separate series that are all linked together. The main characters of the 3 series are so different and you get to see there perspective of situations and how they handle them. I really think you should read these books!!!

joyce - April 15, 2010

I so love reading and its really tough to pick a favorite. just read Crystal Lies by Melody Carlson and Leave a candle burning by Lori wick. but my alltime favorite authors are Frank Peretti and Max Lucado

becca - February 21, 2012

I guess I would recommend the Hunger Games because even though they aren’t Christian fiction,they are really well written and have a good plot. I agree with many of the other books listed too, so happy reading!


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