I read all kinds of books: theology, history, philosophy. A few years ago I added fiction. Recently I even added "tween" books. Tween books? Yes. I learned about books for tweens from Nicole O'Dell. I have both of her new books and have read one of them, Truth or Dare. I liked the book and what Nicole is attempting to do with her writing projects. So, I requested an interview with her for Family Fountain and she gracious agreed. I hope you will enjoy this post. And if you have teen or pre-teen girls, this post is especially for you. My comments or questions are in bold lettering; Nicole's response is in regular print. WB
Nicole, please tell us something about yourself and your family.
Let's see. Wil and I are rehabbing an old Victorian home in hopes of fitting our family of 8 comfortable within it's somewhat crumbling walls. We have six kids--three of which are one-year-old triplets. It's a busy household!
What exactly is 'interactive fiction' and how did you get the idea for this series of books?
In the Scenarios for Girls books, when the main character arrives at an important, life-altering moral dilemma, the reader must make a decision for the character. That decision (that the reader makes) determines the ending. I got the idea for this from a game I play with my kids. I throw out scenarios of things they might face one day, and give them options for their response to that situation. We then discuss what they decide. It's been a great way to sort of put them into those situations before they actually face them and have to deal with the pressure to follow their friends.
"Truth or Dare" is about peer pressure. Why is peer pressure so much of a problem for tweens and teens? (And what is a tween?)
A tween is basically someone who is a part of the age group that's between child and teen. It kind of spans the age of a pre-teen and overlaps into the young teen range--approximately ages 10-15.
Peer pressure is a huge problem for girls this age. When I think back, I can't remember anything I did wrong that wasn't because I was coaxed by a friend or peer. The need to identify and be liked is so great, tweens will go to great lengths to please their friends. This is especially true when they find themselves faced with a tough choice and aren't prepared with a response already. That's the goal of the Scenarios for Girls books--to put them right into the situation and give them a chance to prepare their choice for the day their are faced with it in real life. The contract and prayer at the end of each book helps to solidify that commitment.
Without giving away the plots, give us a quick brief of both of your new books.
In Truth or Dare, Lindsay Martin and her friends begin a game of Truth or Dare. Over the weeks, the stakes get higher and higher until Lindsay is forced to choose between doing what she knows is right and losing her friends forever, or following through with her dare and risking everything.
In All that Glitters, Drew Daniels finally has what she thought she wanted—popularity and a cute boyfriend. But now she’s faced with choosing between pleasing her boyfriend by sneaking out and going to a party where there will be drinking, etc, and doing what’s right and possibly losing her boyfriend and her new friends.
What feedback have you had from tween or teen girls about these books so far?
I thought that these books are amazing books to read for teaching lessons, giving advice, and learning how to make the right decisions! --- Lydia, 13
I plan to share this with my church and my youth group. I think they'll love this as much as I did. I really appreciated that Mrs. Nicole O'Dell pointed out that no matter how bright the world seems to glitter, that God will always shine brighter. --- Stephanie, teen
It is like there is an author out there who cares and knows life as a teenager is not easy. ---Elyse Hahn
I'm sure you have some other writing projects in the works. What can you tell us about them?
The next two Scenarios for Girls books, Magna and Making Waves, release in April and are in the final stages of editing. I'm also working on books 5-8. They kind of gradually increase in intensity and maturity. Together, they should cover just about every major issue that teens face: drinking, drugs, stealing, cheating, lying, depression/suicidal thoughts, sexual intimacy, cyber stalking issues, and general disrespect. They are all written with the age group of 10-15 in mind. But, remember, the whole point of these books is to give the girls a chance to "experience" some of these situations and their consequences so she can make decisions about them before they take on real life stakes. We can't really talk about drugs unless we talk about drugs. Hope that makes sense.
If you have any questions about the books and their appropriateness for the girls in your life, please email me directly at email@example.com.
Thank you, Nicole, for being my guest on Family Fountain Today.
Thank you so very much, Warren, for your constant support of my efforts and for the way you've really taken on this project as a worthwhile cause for reaching our young girls. Thanks for having me here, today. Many blessings to you and your readers.
Note: You can read about Nicole's writing projects here: Nicole O'Dell Christian Author and Speaker.