Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Story Time with Nicole O'Dell & a Giveaway

Today I'm happy to welcome Nicole O'Dell to the blog to talk about her super-cool book series--young adult books that have alternate endings the reader gets to choose! How cool is that?

Nicole is offering a copy to one lucky winner, so to enter, leave a comment below with an email address. Or if it won't let you leave a comment, email it to me at roseanna [at] roseannawhite [dot] com and I'll post it for you. ;-)


About Swept Away


In High Stakes, seniors and best friends, Amber and Brittany, are neck and neck in a good-natured competition 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 activities 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? Readers help Amber and Lilly make the difficult decisions by choosing between alternate endings, and then see how their choices create consequences with life-altering results.


About Nicole

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. You can find her books and links to all the fun social stuff at www.nicoleodell.com.


What's your latest book?

All six of my Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction books have recently been released in 2-in-1 volumes.  Swept Away contains two brand-new Scenarios books: High Stakes, which deals with cheating in school, friendship, loyalty, and honesty, and Essence of Lilly, which covers dating relationships and purity.

I'm so intrigued by these. When I have a few spare hours I am so picking up the copies I have here. ;-) What's your favorite part of the story?

Each Scenarios for Girls book reaches it’s climax when the main character faces a major, life-changing moral decision which the reader gets to make. There are alternate endings for the reader to choose from, allowing her to take ownership for the consequences of her choices as she sees them unfold through the life of the book’s character.

I love this turning point of each story. It becomes personal at that point, and it allows for change and personal commitment. That’s where it’s at for me. I want to use my stories to affect change in the lives of my readers by allowing them to really experience the issues of each book, and then commit to Godly choices for their future.

So cool. What was the hardest part to write?

Book two in Swept Away, Essence of Lilly, deals with issues of purity. Handling this topic was a real concern for me. I wanted to be real--otherwise, what good would it do? But I didn't want to offend anyone or open young girls’ minds to something before they were ready. It took a lot of prayer and guidance from friends. In the end, my publisher, Barbour, was so supportive. They realized that the scenes had to be written as they were--not to sensationalize the issue, but to drive home the gravity of it.

Always a hard, but ever so important, balance. Okay, fun question.  Other than the Bible, what's your favorite of all the books you've ever read?

Lineage of Grace, Francine Rivers
Deadline, Randy Alcorn

What's one of the oddest or most interesting things someone has ever said about you?

“She’s so organized.” Bwahahahahaha!

LOL. What would your dream office look like—and what does your REAL writing environment look like?

Dream: A flowery loveseat near a big picture widow overlooking a lake. An antiqued-white desk with a comfy chair. A cup of steaming cappuccino near an old typewriter my computer. Hardwood floors with a vintage area rug. Lots of plants—fake ones . . .for the plant’s sake. Inspiring artwork on the walls, and a fire in the fireplace.

Reality: A beat-up desk in the corner of my bedroom wedged between my bed and my treadmill. The coffee is usually cold and the lake is about thirty minutes away. The artwork is either a pile at Bed, Bath and Beyond, or crayon drawings from my kids which is more inspiring than anything.

Are there any people (family, writing group, editors) who you rely on when writing?

I absolutely rely on my critique partner, Valerie Comer. She’s awesome, and I’d be lost without her. She has taught me sooooo much. I only wish I’d known her before my first two books came out. I honestly had NO idea how much I didn’t know. I’m so thankful for Val’s patience and honesty. I’m also thankful that she takes enough pride in my work to push me past “good enough” when I’m ready to throw in the towel on a scene or blurb. She’d pries better out of me every single time.

A good critter is SO valuable! =) Aside from writing, what takes up most of your time?

Did I mention my two-year-old triplets? Plus three other kids and a home rehabbing project. Oh, and I’m taking online courses toward a teaching degree. Oh, and I teach at the local community college part time. Oh, and… yeah, there’s a lot. =)

I only have two kids, but they keep me hopping. I can scarcely fathom triplets! LOL. So . . . if someone were to give you $5,000 to spend on anything you wanted, what would you buy? (No saving or gifts to charities allowed!)

Can I say tummy tuck? Now don’t judge! Did I mention those triplets? Walk a mile, folks. Walk a mile. J

Again, literally laughing out loud. Okay, back to serious. What are you writing right now?

I’m working on a few things. One is a novella project for Barbour called Rainbow’s End that I’m writing with Cara Putman, Annalisa Daughety, and Valerie Comer. It’s about geocaching in the Ozarks.

I’m also working on book two in my Diamond Estates series, The Embittered Ruby. Book one, The Wishing Pearl, releases on October 1st. This three-book series is the story of my heart. It’s loosely based on my own experiences as a resident at a Teen Challenge center when I was a teen.

Oh, that sounds good! Any other upcoming releases we should keep our eye out for?

On August 1st, these three Scenarios for Girls 2-in-1s also release as enhanced eBooks. Through Novo Ink, you'll be able to download the app to any eReader enabling you to access the enhanced versions. We've added links, polls, quizzes, video, audio, images, and more, right into the interface of the actual eBook. This makes reading a multi-media experience!

How neat! We'll keep an eye out for that October release too!


Thanks so much for visiting, Nicole! Readers, be sure and check out her website at http://www.nicoleodell.com. You can purchase Swept Away at Amazon.

Void where prohibited. Entry into the contest is considered verification of eligibility based on your local laws. Chance of winning depends on number of entries. Contest ends 6/21/11. Winner will have two weeks to claim prize.


  1. I enjoy reading Nicole's books! She allows me to really experience the issues in the book, and then use choices that God wouldwant us to do!

  2. Thank you so much for the chance to win this. This series of books looks amazing. I find their concept interesting. I would love to read this book. Thanks again.


  3. What fun to choose the ending.
    And I love your dream office. Sounds a lot like mine, except there's mountain outside my window.
    Thanks for the interview.

    kristengjohnson (at) gmail (.) come

  4. Great interview.SWEPT AWAY sound wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.Thanks for the giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.

  5. I agree, good interview! Nicole is a fantastic author, and triplets to boot! Blessings!