I had the privileged of getting to interview Nicole O'Dell the author of one of my favorite new books, which is actually the second book in The Diamond Estates Series. You may recall my review of The Embittered Ruby. I think you'll find both Nicole and her stories unbelievably real and amazing!
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
I’m a mom of six—three of the kids are three years old. They’re triplets! I’m also a student working toward my degree to teach English or writing at the college level. I’m married to Wil—he’s an amazing artist and singer and just an all-around good guy. J
How did you come up with the idea for the Diamond Estates Series?
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 in many ways.
Olivia’s story, in book one, The Wishing Pearl, 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 all sort of a conglomeration of all I saw and experienced.
In The Embittered Ruby Carmen makes a significant choice to lie to her loved ones to try to better her life, What in your life gave you inspiration to build her character?
Our enemy is so good at telling us the lies we’re programmed to believe.
When they crop up, it’s often hard to recognize them as lies because they’re the things we’re most afraid we’ll see in ourselves. Inadequacy, inability, insecurity, etc. All things that are the exact opposite of what God says about us and what He wants us to see in ourselves.
When there’s a disconnect between the truth of how God sees us, and what we really believe, lies are at the heart of it. It starts with those we hear and believe, and then becomes those we tell. It’s in desperation for love and acceptance that people (in this case, teenage girls) pretend to be someone they aren’t or lie to make circumstances what they wish they were.
Did you grow up in a home like Carmen's New York life, or her New Jersey life?
I’d say it was a cross between the two. I never wanted for anything. I was pretty privileged, but it wasn’t to the extreme and there were times of cutbacks for one reason or another. I think I personally identify more with the New York life than I do with the New Jersey one. And, spiritually, my home was kind of divided sometimes, like Carmen’s was.
You seem to have a good knowledge of the mind of a teenager, can you describe yourself as a teenager in 20 words or less?
I felt pulled to extremes and couldn’t find myself in the balance.
What books have been an influence to you in your writing?
There are so many! I love books. Fiction has been a big part of my past and my personal growth, but studying the Bible has been the biggest influence on me. As far as my writing, James Scott Bell wrote a book called Plot and Structure that really did me a lot of good.
Connect with Nicole
Thank you Nicole for being willing to chat with me! I can't wait to read the next book!