Friday, October 09, 2009

Interactive Fiction Series for Girls

Barbour Releases New Interactive Fiction Series for Girls

I learned of this unique and exciting idea through an email sent to the American Christian Fiction Writers group, and I’m thrilled to bring it to your attention today. I’m sure after you read about it, you’ll be excited as I am. Especially if you have a young woman in your life.

Barbour Books Uhrichsville, OH—Written specifically for tween girls faced with difficult decisions and lots of peer pressure, the new Scenarios series debuts with Truth or Dare and All That Glitters by Nicole O’Dell in August 2009. Lessons of right and wrong are put to the test when readers use their own decision making abilities in an eye-opening but safe way. Each book follows a character up to the point where she has to make an important, life-changing decision—then it’s the reader’s turn to choose!

In Truth or Dare, Lindsay Martin is faced with a tough choice: Does she give in to peer pressure and make her friends happy or does she do what she knows is right—even if it means losing her friends forever? All That Glitters finds Drew Daniels with popularity and a cute boyfriend—everything she thought she wanted. But now she’s faced with choosing between pleasing her boyfriend and doing what’s right. Tween readers make the choices in these interactive stories and discover how the consequences change Lindsay’s and Drew’s lives. Both books include a contract and prayer at the end to remind the reader of the importance of making godly decisions.

Truth or Dare by Nicole O’Dell. August 2009. $7.97. 192 pages.
ISBN 978-1-60260-399-8.

All That Glitters by Nicole O’Dell. August 2009. $7.97. 192 pages.
ISBN 978-1-60260-400-1.

Author Bio:
Nicole O’Dell lives in Illinois with her husband and six children, three of whom are triplets. With a heart for young girls and a special passion for the relationship between mothers and daughters as they approach the teen years, Nicole created the Scenarios: Interactive Fiction for Girls series to help girls develop sound decision making skills. Her writing also includes devotionals and Bible studies for women of all ages.

Nicole, I am so happy to have you here on Joy in the Journey to talk about this project with Barbour. Can you first tell us a little about yourself?

My husband is Wil O’Dell, and I’m a mother of six kids. They range in age from 17 all way down to my infant triplets. I work from home with all of my kiddos underfoot, which presents challenges of its own but has also been a huge blessing. The past two years have been interesting, to say the least. I spent several months on bed rest while I carried the triplets. Then, I was in the hospital for six weeks. I actually submitted the finished manuscripts for Truth or Dare and All that Glitters from my hospital bed just days before I welcomed my three little angels. Phew!

Triplets! I'm impressed. I get distracted by my two dogs. May I ask when did you discover your love for writing?

When I was in the fourth grade, I entered a district-wide literary contest. I had to take a blank, white, hardcover book and write a story with illustrations to fill it. My book, The Girl on the Runaway Pogo-Stick, took first place. It was printed and placed in the school libraries in my district. I was hooked from that moment. I remember the process of writing that book. I was sitting on my bedroom floor (with green, shag carpeting, of course) leaning against the side of my bed. As I was writing about the girl bouncing her way through town, passing all of the businesses and waving hello to various townspeople, I realized that she'd need to pass them in reverse order on the way home. Something in me clicked, and I realized that things like that didn't just happen by accident in books; someone did it on purpose. Suddenly, I wanted to be that person—the one who made things happen and told the story.

How did you break in to the publishing world?

It took me a long time to actually attempt any kind of formal publishing. I mainly took classes and wrote for myself through those many years. Finally, a few years ago, I dabbled with a few queries for some ideas that I now see were never going to work—and they didn't. But, once I had an idea that I couldn't let go of (Scenarios) and a far better understanding of how the industry works, I gave it a real try. I actually only sent out one query for the Scenarios series. That query eventually led to a two-book contract, and here we are ready to release those two books, with the third and fourth books already in the works and slated for release in May 2010

What drew you to the YA market?

Fear! Seriously. When I was a young girl, my mom was my hero. I really believed that she could do anything and that she knew everything. Somehow, when I entered my early teen years, that all changed. I became angry and really gave her a hard time. I regret much of those years now that I see the truth of them. My mom is now my very best friend; I wish I had known then what I know now and just how temporary all of that angst and confusion really was. Ever since I had my daughters, I have feared those years. My parenting has really been shaped by my desire to avoid as much of that destruction as possible. My heart’s desire is to reach hormonal, confused, pre-teen girls, protecting them from themselves, and their families from the confusion that can ensue as the girls face those life changes.

Tell us a little about your novels...

In the Scenarios series, each main character is faced with many choices and moral dilemmas. Eventually, they find that their choices have led them into a situation that requires them to make a very difficult and potentially life-altering moral decision. When the story has fully unfolded, and the main character arrives at that moment of truth, the reader makes the big decision for her and then turns to the corresponding section in the book where the resulting circumstances unfold. This places the responsibility for those decisions squarely on the reader’s shoulders, in hopes that she will learn from her personal experience as she lives it through the eyes of the book's character. She will learn the importance of good decisions as well as the truth about forgiveness and grace. Even when poor choices are made, the redemptive power of Christ is evident as forgiveness is sought, offered and received.

How can we find you on the web?

My Web site is There, you can find my blogs—one is a blog about my writing career, and it actually offers a lot of tips and insight into the publishing industry for people trying to get started; the other is just a personal family blog. You’ll also find links to me on Facebook and Twitter. And, I’m excited to announce we have launched a Web site for teen girls at the same time as the release of the first two Scenarios books. It is a fun, interactive and insightful place for teens that meets them where they are.

There will be awesome product reviews with giveaways, a blog, lots of advice and insight into the teen world and plenty of spiritual guidance mingled in. Girls can sign up now for reminder mailings by e-mailing me at

What are your goals for the future?

More than anything, I hope to grow this ministry for teen girls. I have a real passion for them and for the mother/daughter relationship as it approaches and weathers the teen years. I believe that our enemy seeks to destroy the family, and one of the ways he does that is by affecting teenagers through temptations and emotions that they aren’t ready to face. It seems that mothers and daughters often have the most difficult time during those years. On the horizon, I have speaking events and outreaches where I intend to bring a message of hope and promise to women and girls who are facing those difficult years.

If someone would like to book you for an author event or a speaking engagement, how can they reach you?

They can contact me through my website:or email me.

Lastly, how can we meet you? Where can we come see you?

You can find out all about my upcoming events at my Web site. AIf you’d be interested in hosting a speaking event, please e-mail me. I hope you do take the time to come on out and meet me at one of my events! You can also find me on Facebook or at

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