Monday, November 09, 2009


What has drawn you to writing for the YA market?

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 pre-teen and 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 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, protecting them from themselves and their families from the confusion that can ensue as the girls face those life changes.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

At 15, I decided that I was tired of high school. I convinced my parents to let me homeschool myself and finished three years of high school in five months. I entered Bible college a month before I turned 16.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

When I was in the fourth grade, I entered and won a literary competition. I had to write and illustrate a children’s book—I remember the feelings I had as the process unfolded and I got to see the story in my head come to life on the page. My book, The Girl on the Runaway Pogo-Stick, got “published” and put in the school libraries in my district. I was hooked!

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I really love to read literary non-fiction, memoirs, that sort of thing. My favorite book, though, is a novel by Randy Alcorn, Deadline. Of all the many hundreds of books I’ve read, I know this was my favorite because of how much I cried when I read it, how often I’ve thought of the characters and how much I miss the experience of reading the book for the first time. It’s really a beautiful book.

I love that book, too, as well as other of Randy's novels. What other books have you written?

As far as full-length published works, these are my debut. I was also a contributing writer for six devotional books for Barbour Publishing.

Whispers of Wisdom for Busy Moms (Barbour, 2008)
Whispers of Wisdom for Single Moms (Barbour, 2008)
Whispers of Wisdom for Mothers of Preschoolers (Barbour, 2008)
Whispers of Wisdom for Young Women (Barbour, 2008)
Whispers of Wisdom for Wives (Barbour, 2009)
Whispers of Wisdom for Girls (Barbour, 2008)

Unpublished, I’m working on two non-fiction parenting books about which I’m currently “in talks”. I also have one full-length fiction manuscript that I’m finalizing this year. And, most importantly, the next two books in the Scenarios series are in the pipeline.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I don’t. (ha ha) No, seriously, life IS busy. There’s no disputing that fact. The publishing world is a funny one. It’s a lot of wait, wait, wait and then, when it hits, WOW! There’s a lot to do in a short amount of time. But, that’s not all, I’m also a mom of six—the youngest of which being infant triplets. And, I’m an online college student. So, it’s even busier than people realize. But, I love every minute of it and I wouldn’t change a thing!

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of, besides family?

Besides family, I’d have to say that the release of these two books is among my proudest moments.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

Hmmm…a lobster because they are tender and fiercely loyal to their loved ones, and once they grab on to something, they never let go.

What is your favorite food?

I’m a perpetual dieter, so I’m a really boring eater. People probably hate to have me over for dinner because they never know what I’ll eat at any given time. Hmm…you’d think I’d be skinny! I do love a good salad bar, though…and lobster…!

Is it hard to break into the YA market?

I know it would be common for me to say that it took years of effort, with rejection after rejection, but that’s not how it happened for me. I had what I believed was a great idea that God put into my heart. I honed my pitch and perfected my query until I believed it was ready to go. I wrote to one publisher, one time. That one query led to a proposal, and then a contract for two books. I wrote those books; they were published; here we are. I know that it seldom happens that way, and I recognize that it was a complete anomaly (miracle) that it did.

What advice would you give to an author wanting to do that?

Write a perfect query and then a perfect proposal. Don’t send out weak work. Be patient.

What would you like to tell us about the featured books?

The goal of this series is change. My prayer is that the thinking of young girls is changed as they realize the full weight of the consequences of their decisions. The unique quality of these books is that the reader gets to make the major, moral decision for the main character. That puts the reader right into the story and lets her feel the effects of her decision as the various endings unfold.

Please share the first page with us.

Sure! This is from All that Glitters:

Chapter 1

Time for a Change

A fancy sports car on one side and a shiny, brand new SUV on the other, the Daniels’ slid into a parking spot at the mall. More than any other year, shopping for school clothes this year was a very important task. Dani and Drew, identical twins, were starting the ninth grade, freshman year, the first year of high school! They knew full well how important their first impression was, well, at least Drew did. She had spent most of her summer planning and researching fashion trends, hairstyles and make-up tips by reading Cosmo and other fashion magazines. Not that it would do her much good, she often thought. Their parents didn’t allow them to wear make-up and her long, straight, dark hair looked just like her sister’s hair and was cut and styled in the same style they had always had.

“Mom, I think it’s time for a change,” Drew announced as they were walking through the parking lot toward the mall.

“What kind of change?” Mrs. Daniels asked hesitantly.

“You know, change isn’t always a bad thing.” Drew thought her mom might need some convincing before she tried to state her case. “Change can just be a part of growing up and a sign that a girl is secure and comfortable with herself.”

“Yes, Drew, I’m aware of that. Why do I have a feeling that I’m not going to like what you’re about to suggest?” Mrs. Daniels sighed good naturedly and looked at Drew’s twin sister who shrugged her shoulders not knowing anything about the big change that her twin was proposing. “Well, let’s have it. What have you got cooked up?”

“Oh, it’s really not a big deal, Mom. I’d just like to get my hair cut.” Drew pulled a picture of a hairstyle out of her pocket and showed it to her mom. Mrs. Daniels could see immediately that the softly layered style would cascade to a very flattering place just below Drew’s shoulders. She looked at Dani and raised her eyebrows, “Do you want your hair cut like that?”

“No, Mom, you don’t understand.” Drew interrupted with a slight whine, nervous that she wasn’t getting her point across. “If Dani cuts her hair like that, too, then I don’t want to. This is how I want to look…by myself. I want to make a change, even just a slight one like my hairstyle, to separate myself from just being ‘one of the twins.’ I want to be an individual; I want to be Drew.”

Read on to find out what Drew does to make herself even more of an individual. Does she go too far?

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Writer’s Blog:
Family Blog:
Twitter: Nicole_Odell
Facebook: Nicole O’Dell

Thanks so much for having me here on your blog, Lena! I’ve had a great time with your questions. I think I may have even learned a thing or two about myself.

Thank you, Nicole, for coming by.

Readers, we're giving away a copy of each of the books, even though we only had the first page from one of them.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of one of the books.

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


Katherine said...

These books look really good. Please enter me for the drawing.


Lady Araujo said...

These books sounds great. I'd love to be entered in your drawing.

God's blessings

Nicole O'Dell said...

Thank you for having me on your wonderful blog, Lena. I look forward to coming back and visiting with your readers/commenters.

Many blessings and thanks!

stampedwithgrace said...

I have 3 girls that would enjoy reading these!

Sheila Deeth said...

These look good. I enjoyed the read. And my Mum's my best friend and greatest cheerleader (and prayer-leader) now.

sdeeth at msn dot com

Megan said...

Nicole - finishing high school in 5 months and starting bible college at 16, that's impressive! Nice to get to know you on here!


Nicole O'Dell said...

Thanks so much, ladies.

The Herd said...

This author is adventurous!!! She might try an auto bio!!

Ashley Ludwig said...

Whether or not I win the drawing, I will be getting these for my niece for Christmas. She has a new found appreciation for reading, and these are perfect for a young teen. Thanks so much for sharing your gift.


~Ashley Ludwig

apple blossom said...

It is so hard to find good YA books. My teenage daughter would love these. Please include me in your giveaway. Thanks.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Anonymous said...

Please add my name to your giveaway...I enjoyed your interview w/ Nicole.

karen k

Unknown said...

I love to read works whose characters grip your heart. Christian fiction should specialize in that sort of thing. If you like this kind of fiction, you may also like Angela 1: Starting Over. I would love to be interviewed on your blog, if you like the book. See

Julie said...

These books sound great! I'd love to be entered to win.


Martha A. said...

These books were really good! I lent my copies to my sister to read and think I will be passing them on to my niece! My sister really enjoyed them! I will be looking forward to more of this series for them! martha(at)lclink(dot)com

Jamaie W said...

My daughter would especially enjoy these as she is currently getting very close to her teen years. I would love to enter the drawing.

hulahawaiimomma @ yahoo . com

Nicole O'Dell said...

I really enjoyed all of your comments and I can't wait to find out who the winner is.

If you don't win (or even if you do) be sure to come by We give away a signed set every month--winner drawn from new subscribers.