Friday, November 4, 2011

Author Interview: Q & A with Nicole O'Dell

I'm so thrilled to be presenting the first Read Love Author Interview!

Joining us is Nicole O'Dell, author of The Wishing Pearl. If you missed my recent review it's here.  
I'm grateful that Nicole was willing to take time out of her busy schedule as an author, mother of six, and radio host to answer some questions. The Wishing Pearl is part of a new series called The Diamond Estates novels.  Each book will introduce readers to a different girl whose life circumstances drive her to Diamond Estates, a residential home for troubled teens.  Book Two, The Embittered Ruby, is scheduled for release in April 2012.

Q: Let's start with your newest release, The Wishing Pearl.  I really enjoyed reading about Olivia and watching her journey unfold.  In what ways is Olivia's story based on or inspired by your own experiences as a teen?
A: When I was a young teen, I started making some really bad choices in response to some things that happened to me. My life spiraled out of control, and I got to the point where I didn’t think I’d get it together unless I got out of my circumstances. I went to live at a residential home for girls called Teen Challenge. I lived there for about eight months, and so much of what you read about Diamond Estates is how it was at Teen Challenge.

Olivia’s story is not completely my own, but her life and the lives of the girls she meets at Diamond Estates (and the ones in books two (The Embittered Ruby) and three (The Shadowed Onyx) are sort of a conglomeration of all I saw and experienced. 

Q: I particularly enjoyed Olivia's relationship with her brother Jake, and later with Tammy.  How the deaf are perceived and treated is very important to Olivia, and her interactions are respectful, kind, and compassionate.  It's interesting that Olivia may be best heard by these deaf characters.  Is there a real-life inspiration for Jake or Tammy?
A: No, there's no specific real-life inspiration from my own life. But everyone who steps beyond physical limitations and other things that people might see as setbacks inspires me. The inner strength and resolve to overcome is a beautiful picture of human strength. Also, in Olivia's case, you're completely right in identifying the connection between Olivia only feeling truly heard by the two deaf characters. Being heard is a real struggle for Olivia, and we find out toward the end of the book that much of the pain from her past is rooted in misinterpretation of the facts.

Q:  Tell me about Teen Talk Radio and the work you do with and for teens.
A: Teen Talk Radio is a weekly talk show that airs live at on Thursdays at 10PM EST. Listeners can also subscribe for free on iTunes and receive each show in their iTunes folder. You can do that right here:

On the show I deal with topics like peer pressure, sex, relationships, dating, friendships, loyalty, self image, etc. Anything that pops up of interest to teens. I also have guests on each week whom I believe will be an inspiration to my teenage listeners.

Rockome Gardens, photo copyright
Q:  On your Facebook Page, you mentioned going to Rockome Gardens in Arcola, Illinois.  You said you planned to "hang out among the Amish...and do some research for a book."  Are you planning to write an Amish novel? Please share!
A: Ah! Very observant. lol Yes. I can't share the details just yet, but I will say that this won't be your typical Amish series. Definitely not what you'd expect from an Amish story.. :)

Q:  Okay, for our last question let's talk a bit about reading.  What was your favorite book as a teen? And what do you enjoy reading now?
A: The Hiding Place, anything by Bodie and Brock Thoene, Randy Alcorn's The Deadline.... Funny enough, I'd still pick any of those up for a re-read. Most of my reading now is to review books for the radio show, my blog, or for my friends. I love having access to so many books!! 

Nicole O'Dell on the Web: 


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