Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Dan Walsh is Jean Smith! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (ckrumm@litfusegroup.com)

This week Nicole O’Dell  is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of her book, The Wishing Pearl  leave a comment on this post!

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

I am a work-at-home mom of six. My oldest is twenty and my youngest are three-year-old triplets. We live in a 110-year-old Victorian home that we’re rehabbing…well, were rehabbing until I found myself pregnant with three human beings at one time. We’ve been a bit busy since then. I am also the founder of Choose NOW Ministries and the host of two radio shows on the Choose NOW Radio network: Parent Talk and Teen Talk.

The next question is always: When do you have time to write? So, I’ll just go ahead and answer that one.

I have no idea. ☺

I’m a firm believer that when we’re operating in God’s will, He not only gives us the ability to complete the work He asked us to do, but He redeems the time we need for other things like family time or a good soak in the tub. I can always tell when I’ve let myself get ahead of God’s plan because the panic sets in and frantic scurrying fills the day. Those emotions aren’t in His best plan for me or my family, and I can only hope I learn from those moments and say no to things when necessary. I’m sure Certain People are reading this and laughing because they can’t imagine I’ve ever backed away from a project. But it has happened…I think.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

I write both fiction and non-fiction for teens and for women, and I’m equally interested in all of it. For me, it’s all about choices. I try to write stories that show the importance of good decisions and the consequences of poor ones. And I write non-fiction to help parents and teens communicate about tough issues and prepare for difficult choices before the pressure hits.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing? 

_I love to write while I walk on my treadmill! It’s such a great way to get a change of scenery and get the blood pumping rather than sitting all day long. If you don’t have one, you’ve got to pick up a Surf Shelf on Amazon. It’s an awesome way to secure your laptop to your treadmill!

_I’m not a write-everyday person. Someday I hope to be, but it’s just not the life I live right now. When it’s a writing day, I usually come in around the 10k mark, but I’ve hit 20k words once or twice. I have to do it in marathons rather than sprints because it’s simply more efficient for me right now. I am blessed to have six of those marathon days a month when my hubby takes over and I am free to do my thing.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? (Explain your answer) 

Yes and no. I  kind of envisioned it to be this woodsy-glamorous existence like in Misery before Kathy Bates came on the scene. Tucked away in a cabin in the woods with lot’s of time for thinking.

But, no. It’s not at all like that, is it? 😉

What are your biggest distractions? 

My three-year olds. They’re into everything and they’re just like velociraptors. One distracts me and the other two go in for the kill…which is usually the full roll of toilet paper shoved into the toilet or a special new haircut for one of them. Both of which happened yesterday. And last week.

They’re lovely distractions, of course, but they sure do make it difficult to think sometimes. Want to find out for yourself? I have a sign-up sheet. As a special treat just for any of you, you can come and see what it’s like to spend an hour or two with toddler triplets all by yourself. I’ll sacrifice and head over to the coffee shop down the road just so you can have the full experience.

You’re very welcome.

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?

The best moments are the ones when a teenager writes to tell me that one of my books had a life-changing effect on her.

Another great moment was when Girl Talk released. It’s an advice book based on actual questions from readers. My two daughters and I wrote it together, and I’m very proud of it and of them.

A sad moment was when I found out Barbour Publishing wasn’t doing YA anymore…kind of like a bird being pushed from the nest. Bittersweet.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like? 

I’m a very social person and writing can be a pretty lonely job. That’s a hardship for me sometimes. As a mom of multiples, I’m already kind of isolated, and then writing just adds to that. But it’s only for a time, and I’m so grateful to be able to work from home and be near my kids.

What is the role and importance of an agent? 

Well, this is an interesting question because I contracted my first four books without one. Although, I probably shouldn’t have. I wasn’t ready. I’d never heard the term POV or any of the other mechanisms of fiction. An agent would have told me I wasn’t ready. No doubt about it. At least my agent would have.

What advice would you give to new writers? 

Write something. Write more. Write it again.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book. 

Other than the back-cover copy and the blurb, if I were speaking from my heart, I’d say something like:

The Wishing Pearl is the book of my heart. Loosely based on my life as a troubled teen and resident of a Teen Challenge center, it’s Olivia’s story of hope measured against despair—of the brightest light against the backdrop of the darkest night.

What’s on the book horizon for you? 

My next release is The Embittered Ruby (4/1/12), book two in the Diamond Estates series. Then, in May, I have a novella releasing in an anthology with Barbour—Rainbow’s End. And in June, the first two books release from my Hot Buttons non-fiction series with Kregel.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

Everything you might want to know about me, my books, and Choose NOW Ministries can be found at www.nicoleodell.com. I’m on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nicoleodell and twitter @Nicole_Odell.

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleeders)

Thank YOU so much!

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