Thursday, April 7, 2011

GIVEAWAY and interview with Scenarios for Girls author, Nicole O'Dell

She writes. She talks. She reads. She changes diapers. Nicole O'Dell is a mom of six--including a set of toddler triplets who may or may not be potty trained sometime in 2011. Jury's still out on that one. She is the author of a bunch of YA books, including the popular Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction series and the upcoming Diamond Estates Series, 10/11. She's also the host of Teen Talk Radio at www.choicesradio.com. Find her books and links to all the fun social stuff at www.nicoleodell.com.

I had the privilege of being one of Nicole's critique partners a while back and have read some of her Scenarios for Girls interactive books. These are awesome books for tween/teen girls. Nicole's latest title, SWEPT AWAY, is hot off the presses and I am excited to be able to offer a copy for one of you! Simply leave a comment on this blog post, letting me know why you want this book. I'll randomly select one winner next Friday, April 15th.

SWEPT AWAY is actually 2 books in 1. In High Stakes, seniors and best friends, Amber and Brittany, are neck and neck in a good-natured com- petition for a car being given away by a local business. In Essence of Lilly, sophomore Lilly Armstrong is always looking for ways to escape the confines of her unhappy home. She “invents” youth group activi- ties just so she can hang out with her boyfriend, Jason—the only one in Lilly’s life who makes her feel special. What happens when Amber and Lilly are faced with making difficult choices? How will they handle the risky business? Readers help Amber and Lilly make the difficult decisions and see how their choices create consequences with life-altering results.

All of Nicole's Scenarios for Girls books are interactive, meaning that each includes two endings, based on the two choices the character has to make. Readers are then able to commit to making their own right decisions by signing a contract at the end of the book. Pretty cool, right?

Before leaving your comment, get to know Nicole a little better in this fun interview.

PLEASE SHARE A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR FAMILY.

NICOLE: Ah, my favorite topic. My son Erik is 19 and is headed off to serve his country in the Air Force.

Natalie, 13, and Emily, 10, are both working with me on a neat little book called Girl Talk, based off an advice column we have on my blog. I also have a set of two-year-old triplets. . .three little slices of heaven. Logan, Megan, and Ryleigh. Ahhh. You’re making me want to go wake them up for some cuddles. My one complaint about having kids is that it goes sooooo fast! My hubby, Wil, is a musician, artist, flooring guy, and all-around great guy. He’s never met someone who didn’t quickly become his best friend.

I thank God for every one of them. He sure knew what He was doing!

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

NICOLE: I’m continuing on in the Diamond Estates series and the Drama Ensues series. I’m also wondering why I named them both with DE titles? Isn’t that a strange coincidence? They’re very, very different series—I hope you check them both out. Diamond Estates deals with troubled girls in a group home, to state it very simply.  The Wishing Pearl, book one in Diamond Estates, is releasing on October 1, 2011. You can check it out on my website. Drama Ensues starts its appearance in 2012. It has a different style—quirky, drama club, artsy—yet it’s compelling in its coverage of the issues.
 
WHAT INTERESTS DO YOU HAVE OUTSIDE OF WRITING?

NICOLE: Diapers?

No, seriously, I love what I’m doing. I’m living my dream. I’ve given up a lot of outside things to give more time to my passion. How many people can say that about their work? Someone brilliant once said that if you’re able to do what you love, you’ll never work another day in your life. I’m grateful to God for what he’s given me, and I happily give my spare moments to my writing and all that goes along with it. I do exercise. Sometimes.

Oh, and I speak at events, lead a local writing group, and teach a publishing course at the community college.

I also host Teen Talk Radio—a weekly radio show where I bring guests on to talk about anything and everything today’s teens might be interested in. You can find it at www.choicesradio.com.

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE YOUR SETTINGS FOR EACH BOOK?

NICOLE: I wish I could say that I got inspiration for my stories from my exotic travels. But it’s more based on the characters. They speak to me. I tried to have Carmen from The Embittered Ruby (book two of Diamond Estates--coming soon) hail from Virginia. But try as I did, that girl was from New York, no matter how hard I tried to make it otherwise. I love it when that happens!

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED WRITING NOVELS?

NICOLE: Honestly, what comes to mind is the one thing I’m glad I didn’t know. I had no idea how difficult the process was supposed to be. I didn’t know about people enduring years of rejection letters. I didn’t know that many writers had unpublished manuscripts gathering dust in the corners of their offices. I hadn’t heard the stories of pitches and near misses. I just had some stuff to write. So I did.

I often wonder if the results—or even my efforts—would have been different if I’d known how rough it was supposed to be. I’m thankful I was protected from both the knowledge and the experience.

WHY TEENAGERS?

NICOLE: Well, I didn’t choose this age group for my focus—God did. Honestly, it’s difficult. It’s heartbreaking sometimes, and exhausting a lot of the time. I often ask myself if I’m too old or too out of touch to minister to teens. But then I get a letter or an email from someone who was touched by something I did or said. I’m reminded in those moments that God has called me to reach out to teens, probably because those were the years of my deepest personal spiritual battle.

In my teens, I was pulled hard to both extremes. God wanted big things for me, and satan wanted the opposite. My struggles, my failures, my pain—those things drive me to want more for today’s teens. I want to spare them from some of the heartache I endure and help them tackle the temptations and peer pressures head on, confidently, secure in their Savior’s love.

They’re the future.

SHARE A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEWEST RELEASES.

NICOLE: Dare to Be Different and Risky Business are 2-in-1 repacks of the first four books in the Scenarios series. Swept Away is the anticipated 2-in-1 brand new release of books five and six in the series.  In Swept Away, seniors and best friends, Amber and Brittany, are neck and neck in a goodnatured competition for a car being given away by a local business. When Amber cheats on her final exams to win the car and Brittany gets blamed for it, Amber is torn. Will she let her friend take the fall? Or will she admit she cheated and face the consequences?  The second story finds sophomore Lilly Armstrong facing the question, “How far is too far?” with her boyfriend. When Jason convinces Lilly to lie to her parents about a church overnighter so she can stay at his house while his parents are out of town, how far will she let things go?

Each issue-driven Scenarios book has alternate endings that allow the reader to make an important moral decision for the main character and follow the consequences of her choice. They’re designed to help girls make their choices before they find themselves unprepared and face-to-face with peer pressure and end with a contract and prayer to help solidify her commitment to Godly choices.

Dare to be Different contains Scenarios for Girls books one and two: Truth or Dare and All that Glitters.  (lying, peer pressure, boys, alcohol)

Risky Business contains Scenarios for Girls books three and four: Magna and Making Waves. (Stealing, loyalty, performance-enhancement drugs)

Swept Away contains the never-before released Scenarios for Girls five and six: High Stakes and Essence of Lilly. (cheating, loyalty, purity, honesty)


THANKS, NICOLE! Check out the Scenarios for Girls book trailer by visiting this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kW13j07rGDM

Visit Nicole online at www.nicoleodell.com

www.choicesradio.com

Don't forget to leave a comment on this blog post, telling me why you would love to win this book (or who you would love to give it to). 
Winner will be announced next Friday, April 15th.


**Contest disclaimer: Void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents. Odds of winning depend on number of entrants. Entering this giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility in accordance with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws. **

8 comments:

Joanne Sher said...

Oooh, Lynda. Soooo want this book, cuz the whole "scenarios" idea appeals to me BIGTIME. So very clever (reminds me of "Choose Your Own Adventure" form my youth ;) ).. And my daughter, though she's only seven, will LOVE this book in - what? - five years??? Could also lend it to my dear friend who has a middle-school daughter who LOVES to read.

Reason enough???
joanne(at)joannesher(dot)com

Lynda Schab said...

Definitely reason enough, Jo! Good luck. :-)

karenk said...

a fabulous posting...blessings to you and yours nicole :) thanks for the opportunity to read and share your novel w/ others

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

holdenj said...

Nicole sounds amazing! What a wonderful post. I would love to share her books with my niece.
Thanks!
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Nicole O'Dell said...

Thanks, everyone! Appreciate you having me here. Lynda!!

Nancye said...

This book sounds great! I especially like the fact that this is a clean book with the ability to make choices for the characters that will affect the ending. Thanks for the chance!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Lynda Schab said...

This comment is for Deborah Harper, who is unable to comment for some reason (Blogger is being naughty). Deb says she'd love to be entered in this giveaway. :-)

Sara Harricharan said...

I loved reading this interview--especially where Nicole mentioned she didn't know about all of the rejection letters and dusty manuscripts. I had no clue about those either--I might've quit if I'd known, thinking it wasn't worth the stress/drama/effort. Glad I didn't. A neat interview and now I really, really want to read this book!

scarletsierra(at)gmail