And because she's awesome, Nicole is giving away a copy of her latest, Swept Away, which is 2 of the Scenarios for Girls books in 1.
To get yourself entered to win Nicole's book, leave a comment either asking a question or saying something you found interesting about her journey to publication. (US Residents only, contest closes Tuesday, April 12th.)
Who is 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.
Nicole O’Dell, Author. How did that happen? It has always been a dream of mine to work as a full-time writer, but I don’t think I ever really believed that it would happen.
When I was in elementary school, I wrote a children’s book for a literary contest, and I won. My book, The Girl on the Runaway Pogo Stick was published and put in the school libraries throughout our district. Wow! I knew even then that something really cool had happened, and I was hooked!
I actually remember my thought process while writing that book. I remember the white pages and the markers I used to draw the pictures of the girl hopping through town on her run-away stick. I remember thinking that as she hopped through each store and past the towns people, she’d have to do the exact same path in reverse order to get home. I knew to have other characters, but not too many. I knew that she had to wear the same clothes on each page and that the end had to make sense. It struck me, in those moments, that books are works of art. Nothing in them is there by accident. It was a great experience and probably biggest reason I’m doing what I’m doing today.
But, I put writing on hold after that. Oh, I still had school papers and things like that to write, but there were no books immediately following that wonderful experience. Wait, I take that back. There were plenty of books, just not ones that I wrote. I became a reader–a book devourer-er, actually. I read so often that I would run out of books and read the same ones over and over because sometimes it wasn’t even about what I was reading, just that I was reading. There was this book-exchange store that my mom and I frequented. We’d take brown-paper sacks full of paperbacks and exchange them for new ones quite often. It got to the point where I was consuming a full-length novel in one sitting.
I remember fashioning crazy devices that could hold my books open so I could read while I did other things…like cook! I love the scene in Disney’s The Beauty & The Beast where Belle is walking through town with a book in her hands, completely oblivious to the things going on around her and even some dangerous near misses that she encounters. That was me.
Along the way, life weaved itself in and out of my books. Somewhere between the teen mysteries series, the young-adult romances, adult literary fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction study books, Bible study books and parenting books, my life unfolded. I married, had six children, bought several houses (one at a time) moved across country and back, had health scares, said goodbye to loved ones, etc. All of those experiences and many others too countless to mention, worked together to fill me up with words.
So, I wanted to write, and I did. I started writing Bible studies and devotionals. I also began several fiction and non-fiction projects over the years. Some of them are closer to completion than others; some will never be touched again. But that’s okay. That’s the process of fleshing out an idea and seeing if it has legs.
Over time, I decided that I didn’t just want to write, I wanted to be an author. But, I had no idea how to go about doing that. The publishing industry was such a huge unknown to me. So you’ll never guess what I bought. I bought The Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published. I read it cover to cover and followed its advice to the letter–well, most of it.
I was asked to submit sample devotions with the possibility of being a contributor to a devotional book that Barbour Books was about to publish. I submitted my three samples and waited. Over the next several weeks, I was asked to participate in SIX devotional books. To some of them I contributed upwards of 30 writings and to others it was closer to 15. But, I was PUBLISHED in SIX books and my resume’ began to grow and so did my dreams.
Plus, I now had access to the eyes and ears of a major publisher, without an agent and was then able to propose an idea for a fiction series for young girls that I had been playing with for a while. That series was contracted before I even had close to a finished product. So, on top of those six devotionals, I had two Jr. fiction books being released and several other proposals on the publisher’s desk.
I don’t write this to toot my own horn, because I don’t believe this was my doing at all. I believe with my whole heart that God made a way for me. I believe that He had His hand in this process every step of the way and I give Him the credit for making it happen. But, I know that some of the steps I took were vital to the process.
Since 2007, I’ve contributed 201 devotionals to various books with Barbour Publishing. I’ve also seen eight books release and am looking forward to the twelve additional titles that will be releasing between now and 2013.
What a ride!