Today we have YA author, Nicole O’Dell on the blog! I’m excited, and I do believe Nicole is the first author of young adult novels I’ve featured! Nicole has also graciously agreed to a GIVEAWAY of her latest novel, so be sure to leave a comment with a valid email, US/North America only please.

Welcome Nicole and tell us about yourself!

Who Are You?

I’m a married mom of six—three of whom are three-year-old triplets. The other three range from 12 to 20. I founded Choose NOW Ministries and host Choose NOW Radio: Parent Talk and Teen Talk. I write and speak to preteens, teenagers, and parents about how to prepare for life’s tough choices.

I’ve written a bunch of YA fiction including the Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction series and the Diamond Estates Series, and non-fiction for teens including Girl Talk, 2/1/12, which I wrote with my two daughters based on our popular advice column. You can visit www.nicoleodell.com for more info or to find me on any of the social sites.

Where Are You Now?

I’m in the middle of promoting the release of book two in my Diamond Estates series!

The Diamond Estates series is about three girls on a journey to find hope and healing. Each comes to Diamond Estates seeking solace…Each with her own unique set of struggles…and each capturing the hearts and challenging the faith of teen girls. The Wishing Pearl, book one, released on 10/1/11, and The Embittered Ruby, book two, released on 4/1/12. Book three, The Shadowed Onyx, released 12/1/12.

This series is near and dear to my heart because it’s loosely based on my own experiences as a teen going through a residential Teen Challenge program. I either took from my personal experiences or those of other girls who were in the TC program with me. I could probably fill six more books with what I saw and heard while I was there!

The Embittered Ruby, book two, is special to me because I really understand Carmen, the main character. I know she feels misunderstood—though guilty. She messes up. Big time. Many times. But…still…I understand her.

The Embittered Ruby:

 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.

Where Are You Going?

2012 seems to be the year of book releases. After The Embittered Ruby comes Rainbow’s End on May 1st and then the first two Hot Buttons books on 6/1. Then two more Hot Buttons books in October and the final Diamond Estates book on 12/1. Busy year—but what a BLAST!

What are Hot Buttons books? Well I’m glad you asked 😉

From drugs to bullying, from Internet activity to dating, tough issues have saturated youth culture . . . and may have challenged your teen. These accessible, quick reference books in a 6×6 square trim offer parents a practical way to discuss the hot buttons with their child, before the issues becomes a problem.

The cool thing about these books is the section with Strategic Scenarios. They’re actual talking points, in a game-like format, with scripting and discussion guides, to help parents talk about those tough and embarrassing subjects with their teens.

At Choose NOW Ministries, we realize you’re all so very different and we hope to be able to meet your needs. If you visit the website and would love to see another facet of teen life or of the parent/teen relationship covered by a column or answered in a Girl Talk post, please contact me.

And remember, when you’re going through the hard times, this, too, will pass. And God’s got a plan for you—He’s nowhere near finished with the work He’s doing.

“…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

About Nicole: 

Nicole O’Dell, founder of Choose NOW Ministries and host of Choose NOW Radio: Parent Talk and Teen Talk, is a youth culture expert who writes and speaks to preteens, teenagers, and parents about how to prepare for life’s tough choices. She’s author of YA fiction, including the popular Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction series and the Diamond Estates Series, and non-fiction for teens including Girl Talk, 2/1/12, which she wrote with her two daughters based on their popular advice column. Hot Buttons, O’Dell’s non-fiction series for parents helps pre-empt peer pressure by tackling tough issues. Visit www.nicoleodell.com for more info.