Interview and giveaway with Author Nicole O’Dell!!!

I am super excited to have author Nicole O’Dell as my guest this week. She is a prolific writer and the founder of NOW Ministries.

Nicole is giving away a copy of her new book The Embittered Ruby.  Read on for the blurb of this awesome new book…

Sixteen-year-old Carmen Castillo desperately wants her parents to restore their marriage so she can return to her once-lavish life. But when her dad lets his new girlfriend turn Carmen’s bedroom in a dressing room, her last bit of faith in her parents, and in God, shatters. Her only hope is to create a family of her own with Nate—no matter that his political family finds her ethnicity distasteful.  When that plan fails, Carmen packs up her resentment and anger, and heads to Diamond Estates seeking healing for her embittered soul. Concluding there is no such thing as ruby slippers, Carmen wonders if she’ll ever find happiness and wholeness.

And now, let’s find out more about Nicole…

Welcome, Nicole! It’s great to have you here. Please tell me a little bit about you, aside from being an author and speaker. I’m married to Wil and have six kids. Three of them are three-year-old triplets and the others range up to 20 years old. We live in an old Victorian monstrosity that we’re rehabbing slowly but surely. I am enrolled in college in pursuit of my teaching degree, and will finish the first part next year. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do with it, but it’s something I started a while back, so I wanted to finish it.

Oh wow! Three-year-old triplets? You have your hands full! So, what was the inspiration behind your latest book? The Embittered Ruby is book two in my Diamond Estates series which is loosely based on my on experiences at Teen Challenge as a teen. This story was inspired by the lives of a couple of the teenagers I knew while I lived at TC. All three books in this series are kind of a conglomeration of the people I met and the stories they told about their lives leading up to coming to Teen Challenge. They’re all very different stories, but at the heart of each of them is the need for Jesus.

That’s neat that your book is based loosely on your experiences at Teen Challenge. I’ve heard wonderful things about that ministry. Switching gears here,  what is your favorite book in the Bible? I’d have to go with Isaiah and Hebrews. I love the history and depth of Hebrews, and I love the book of Isaiah–just about everything you need to know about the past, the present, and the future is in there.
Please tell me about your teen ministry. When did you first come up with the idea? Choose NOW Ministries is dedicated to working with parents and teens to battle peer pressure, prepare for good choices, and unite families. It encompasses the website ministry of columns and resources I’ve pulled together with other experts and people passionate about families, and the radio ministry which consists of Choose NOW Radio: Parent Talk and Teen Talk. www.choose-now.com or www.choosenowradio.com.
As for when I came up with the idea, I don’t know that I did, actually. It just kind of grew out of what I was doing. First the books, then the radio show, then some speaking events, etc etc. It developed organically until one day it all kind of clicked together under one umbrella: Choose NOW Ministries. It was definitely a God thing.
I have such admiration for you regarding the difference you are making in the lives of teens. Without giving a name, can you tell me about an email or letter from a teen whose life was changed through your work. Well, we get emails weekly from teenagers who write into my Girl Talk column with a dilemma for my daughters and I to address. It’s painful to see so many needs out there. Some of the things today’s teens have to face are so intense–which is why I write the types of stories I do. I often hear from teens who tell me that by reading one of my books or something on my website, they made a better choice when faced with peer pressure.
But the most treasured letters are from girls, and even moms, who say they made a commitment to God after reading one of my books. That’s what it’s all about.
It is awesome to see how God is using you through your writing. Speaking of ministries, if you suddenly were given one million dollars to start a new charity, what type of charity would you launch and why? Right now, on the heels of finishing this series (book three is already complete), I miss thinking about Diamond Estates. I think I’d pray about starting one just like that. It would be from a blend of my own experiences as a teen and the heart and soul I poured into this books series.
Oh, great. Now I want to do just that!
I think that would be a worthwhile charity! Can you tell us what project(s) are you currently working on? I have several more book releases this year starting with Rainbow’s End, a novella anthology set in the Ozarks that releases on 5/1, and a non-fiction series for parents called Hot Buttons. The first two books in that series release on 6/1. After that, there are four other releases in 2012. It’s a busy year!
I’m also currently editing some work and praying about a proposal that’s out there waiting to find a home. :)
That’s exciting about your upcoming releases! How can readers connect with you? Everything you could want to know about me is at www.nicoleodell.com or www.choose-now.com. I hope you’ll visit and check things out. There’s so much there including columns by some of your favorite authors and speakers as well as my Girl Talk column and more. Plus, I’m giving away a KINDLE TOUCH preloaded with my books. You can enter right there on my home page.  I’m also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nicoleodell and twitter @Nicole_Odell.
Thank you again, Nicole, for being my guest. It is an honor to have you here.
All right, my wonderful readers, here’s all you have to do for a chance to win a copy of The Embittered Ruby…leave a comment for Nicole (and yes, anyone can enter, but confirmed subscribers receive two entries, so be sure to sign up to follow this blog, then check your email and confirm your subscription to be added to the subscriber list! ) Giveaway ends on April 12, 2012. A winner will be chosen at random.
Don’t forget to join me each Thursday for interviews and giveaways from some of my favorite author friends!