Today, I am so glad to welcome Nicole O'Dell, author of the new Scenarios series books for young girls. Yesterday I reviewed Book 1 and 2 in the series -- TRUTH OR DARE and ALL THAT GLITTERS (you can read the reviews here and here.) Both books are just filled with wonderful messages about growing up with Christian values. I am just thrilled that Ms. O'Dell has taken time out of her very busy schedule to answer a few of my questions.
Booking Mama: You are a mother of six with infant triplets! As a mother of two, I am just in awe of you. How do you manage everything? How in the world do you find time to write books?
Ms. O'Dell: It's not always easy. I'm so grateful to be able to be home with my kids, but I still need hours to work where I don't get interrupted. So, I work during nap times, after bed time and early in the morning. Sometimes I don't need much more time than that. But, when I do need more, I'm thankful for my husband's flexible work hours. We work it out so I have enough time to do what I need to do. And, when a deadline is approaching, he really steps in and takes over. Now, when the babies are two--ask me again! :)
Booking Mama: What made you decide to write Christian Fiction for Middle Graders/Young Adults?
Ms. O'Dell: I have a real passion for middle grade and early teen girls. Those are such difficult years. They kind of sneak up on poor, unsuspecting families who were clicking along just fine until they woke up with a hormonal, moody teenager in the house. I think parents can be blindsided by those changes and the girls have no idea what's happening to them. I want to offer tools to help prepare them for what they're going to face.
Booking Mama: I love the idea of the Scenario books -- a story where the reader can choose the character's actions. What made you decide to write "interactive fiction" versus a traditional story?
Ms. O'Dell: Scenarios is a game I made up to play with my kids. I give them a story (a scenario) and they choose an ending. We discuss the consequences of their choice--good or bad. It's a safe way for them to try on the possibilities and work out the results. I've been able to help them pre-determine what they'll do in certain circumstances and then I pray for them that they'll remember their commitments when reality catches up with our games. It has been such a good tool for us that I wanted to share it with others.
Booking Mama: Both of your books TRUTH OR DARE and ALL THAT GLITTERS deal with very real issues for today's tweens/teens? How do you come up with the characters and story lines for the Scenarios Books? Are they ever autobiographical or based on people you know?
Ms. O'Dell: They are all conglomerations of people and situations that I knew myself, experienced myself or personally watched someone else go through. They are all very real. Mom's and Dad's, the biggest mistake you can make is to turn a blind eye and assume that your child is "too smart to do something so stupid." Every teen will face some or all of the situations I describe in these books. Help them prepare their choices in advance.
Booking Mama: There are so many wonderful messages in these books. Is there anything in particular that you would like for young girls to take away from you novels?
Ms. O'Dell: It's so difficult to make a tough choice in the heat of the moment. It's FAR easier to just go along with the crowd unless you've prepared yourself ahead of time. Take the opportunity to prepare your heart and mind before you're actually faced with something you can't find your way out of.
Booking Mama: What's next for you as far as books/writing go? Any hints about the plots of future books?
Ms. O'Dell: The next two books, Magna and Making Waves, will be released on April 1st. They deal with issues of employee theft and discount sharing (Magna), popularity (both) and the use of performance-enhancement drugs (Making Waves). All four of the Scenarios books drive home the need to trust parents and to turn to Jesus. They all highlight the difference between a casual Christian and someone who has a passionate faith.
Booking Mama: It was apparent to me that you are definitely inspired by God when you write your books. Who or what else inspires you?
Ms. O'Dell: My children. They are passionate believers in Jesus and I want to help them preserve that while they navigate this world.
Booking Mama: I always ask this question in one way or another because I'm constantly on the look-out for book ideas. If you could recommend a few books to your readers, what would they be?
Ms. O'Dell: I love the book Deadlines, by Randy Alcorn--it's one of my personal favorites. And, if you're looking for other books for girls, check out Hind's Feet on High Places. It's a beautiful allegory about one's journey though life.
Thank you so much for your support of the series and your encouragement!
As you can probably tell, my daughter and I are both extremely excited about this new series of books for middle grade girls. Ms. O'Dell has graciously offered to giveaway a copy of each book to one lucky reader. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment with a valid e-mail address telling me why you'd like to win these books. To double or even triple your chances, you can blog and/or tweet about this contest with a link back to this post. This contest is open until Sunday, August 16th at 11:59 p.m. EST, and I will notify the winner the following day. This giveaway is open to those of you with U.S. or Canada mailing addresses only. Good luck!