Exclusive interview today with Girl Talk‘s young authors and their mom. I’ve had the privilege of spending time in their home (twice) and am so happy for Nicole’s girls! I couldn’t wait to share them with all of you.
Popular blogging trio—mother, Nicole O’Dell, along with daughters Emily and Natalie—offer trustworthy, biblically-based advice in Girl Talk.
Culled from actual questions they have encountered on their blog site, this fabulous resource offers real-life help for girls on issues including relationships, character, body image, fashion, gossip, and more. Girls will find 180 questions along with answers and related scripture selections that will both encourage and challenge them in their faith walk. Girl Talk, presented in a trendy format that reads like a magazine, is a super tool for girls’ small groups or for individual use.
Wow, Natalie and Emily! You two are published authors. Congrats!
Whose idea was it for you to answer questions on the blog?
Natalie: My mom’s.
Emily: Yeah. My mom’s, definitely. I thought it was crazy that she’d want our answers…or that readers would. But, it sounded fun.
How long have you been doing it?
Natalie: I have no idea. Lol. I don’t remember when we started. It’s been a couple of years, though. I could probably find out by looking back at the first post. Hmm…be right back…yep. December, 2009. Wow. I’m impressed. 🙂
Emily: What she said.
What did you think when you heard your Q&A column was being turned into a book?
Natalie: I thought it was a really cool idea, and a lot of fun. I thought it would be a cool accomplishment for me, and that it would help other girls, too.
Emily: Like, in my head I was thinking, “Oh my goodness, like, I can’t believe I’m going to become a published author like my mom. Like a published person.” (Emily asked that we not edit this answer to remove the “likes”, but the book has been edited, trust us!)
What do the kids at school think of it?
Natalie: They think it’s pretty cool–my friends are proud of me.
Emily: Some of my friends are super excited and want to read it or buy it, but the boys are all like, “How stupid.” But I don’t listen to them. My friends think it’s awesome, so I’ll go with that.
What’s the hardest question you’ve ever answered?
Natalie: This one time a girl wrote in to ask about sex. She said she was confused because she didn’t know if she’d actually had it or not. It was hard for me to answer because I definitely haven’t.
Emily: Ever? Or for Girl Talk? I’m assuming you mean Girl Talk. Come to think of it, those ARE the hardest ones I’ve ever had to answer. So, hmmm, the one that comes to mind can be found on page 72 in Girl Talk. It was about why God allows bad things to happen. Why doesn’t He just prevent them, since we know He can?
UGH. That was a hard one. In fact, I still don’t know that I feel like that question can be answered good enough. I can’t wait to ask Him myself. . .well, I can wait. . .you know what I mean.
What’s the process for answering the tough questions?
Natalie: When we were faced with a tough question, we would first decide who was the most appropriate one to answer it. Then we would read it and give it a few comments, but we’d often set it aside for a while and come back to it after we had some time to think about it. Sometimes, the questions were about things neither Emily nor I had ever encountered; so Mom had to help us understand what we were being asked so we could give a logical response. It was a definite learning process.
Emily: Most of the time, if I had a really hard question, I would just sit there and think about it for a long time. When we write the column, both Natalie and I answer each one before Mom does, but in the book, it was just one of us and then Mom. So, for the column, I could just kind of jump off from what Nat said. But, for the book, I really just had to think and pray about an answer.
Nicole: Don’t forget, too, girls. We’d also pray for the girls and ask for wisdom over the questions.
Emily: Oh! Right. Forgot to say that.
Would you change any of your answers now if you could?
Natalie: I don’t think so. I wouldn’t change the answers at all—I believe they’re biblical and right, at least to the best of my ability. But, I probably would change the confidence I had when I gave them. Since I started writing this column with my mom and since we started working on the book a while back, I’ve learned full well how challenging peer pressure and temptations can be. So I wouldn’t change the answers, I just think I’ve learned a little more about grace since I gave them.
Emily: Nope. I feel pretty good about everything I said. I’ve even been put in situations where I’ve had to live out my own advice. I’m glad I was prepared.
Any plans for future writing projects, either with Mom or without?
Natalie: To be honest, writing isn’t something I plan to pursue. I more enjoyed the relational aspect of helping people with their problems. I liked being asked the tough questions and answering them, but the writing part wasn’t my favorite.
Emily: I don’t really know if I want to be a full-time author like my mom, but I do know I want to become a famous dancer or a teacher. But I’d love to do some writing in between. I do love to write and would love to publish more books if it’s what God wants me to do.
Mom, what’s been the hardest thing about working with your daughters?
Nicole: Getting them in the same place at the same time. 🙂
One challenge was realizing that they are completely different ages and have completely different viewpoints. We needed to make sure that their experiences and opinions lined up with God’s Word and ultimately gave an edifying answer to some tough dilemmas.
What’s been the high point for you in co-authoring with the girls?
Nicole: The best part of this whole project has been the opportunity it gave me to just talk to my girls. Sure, we talked all the time, but having these questions to pour over and pray over gave us a platform for a lot of deep conversations. Each one helped me to see inside their hearts and minds just a little bit more. I’m so grateful for that opportunity.
About the Authors
Nicole O’Dell is a mom of six—ranging from 20 all the way down to a set of toddler triplets. Nicole writes fiction for teens including the popular Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction series and the Diamond Estates Series. She also writes nonfiction focused on helping teens make good choices and bridging the gap in parent/teen communication. Nicole is also the host of Teen Talk Radio where she talks with teens and special guests about the real issues young people face today, and she loves getting out among teens and parents when speaking at youth groups and conferences.
Natalie is an honor student in the eighth grade at PBL Middle School in Paxton, IL. The oldest daughter of six kids, Natalie is a very loving and hands-on big sister. She’s passionate about her walk with Christ, and almost as passionate about the game of volleyball. She holds first-chair clarinet in the school band and looks forward to high school marching band. At this point, Natalie aspires to a career in the culinary arts, but is open to other possibilities.
Emily is a straight-A fifth grader at Eastlawn School in Paxton, IL. She lives with her mom, stepdad, three sisters, and two brothers. Never found without her iPod, Emily loves to dance and sing. She’s a busy girl who enjoys swimming, skateboarding, and hanging out with friends. She’s active in her community and local church, and plans to be a teacher when she grows up.