Karole, what was your inspiration for writing HOW TO KEEP ROLLING AFTER A FALL?
Working as a school psychologist, and as the mother of a little girl, I find the complicated dynamics of girl friendships to be really interesting. It's crazy how young girls are when 'girl drama' starts, and it's heartbreaking and troubling to see the impact of the ways girls can be mean to each other play out during adolescence. There are so many anti-bullying efforts going on in schools today, which are important and necessary, but there's no easy fix. There are so many various factors and influences on all parties involved, and I really wanted to explore that from the "mean girl's" perspective rather than the victim/survivor of bullying. I wanted to keep discussion about the topic going, in the context of what I hope is an enjoyable read. It's not meant to be another lecture, but a story to get young readers thinking, reflecting, and talking.
How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?
I think the first time I saw a manuscript all the way to completion was in 2006. I didn't receive word that my first novel, How to Say I Love You Out Loud, was selected for publication on the Swoon Reads website until June 2014. So... the road was long! I was working full-time, got married and had two children during that time, and finding the time to write and query was difficult. I think I wrote 5 or 6 complete manuscripts in that time that never saw publication. That was one of the wonderful things about finding the Swoon Reads community - it was an awesome way to take my story directly to a publisher without having to find an agent in the meantime. It eliminated a lot of time-consuming hurdles that sometimes felt insurmountable.
What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Never, ever feel like you're wasting your time by pursuing your passion! There may be more practical ways to spend time here and again, but our passions keep us feeling alive, our passions make us who we are. At times when I told myself I really needed to give up on the dream of being a published writer, I always felt like I was trying to turn off a part of myself and it was an awful feeling. If you want to write... write.
What are you working on now?
I'm extremely excited that Swoon Reads/Macmillan just recently announced the 5/17 release of my third novel, The Truth About Happily Ever After, which is in the editing process right now. The main character, Alyssa, is one of the Cinderellas at a popular theme park, and she's forced to rethink her happily ever after when her so-called Prince Charming breaks her heart. A lot of the book is set in the theme park, which is lots of fun, and Alyssa learns that sometimes you find happy-ever-after where you least expect it.
ABOUT THE BOOK
How to Keep Rolling After a Fall
by Karole Cozzo
After a cyber bullying incident turns her life upside down, a handsome wheelchair rugby player shows a former mean girl that everyone deserves a second chance.
The party was at her house. The photos were posted to her Facebook account. That's all the evidence anyone needed to condemn Nikki Baylor for a cyberbullying incident that humiliated a classmate and nearly resulted in the girl's suicide. Now Nikki's been expelled from her old school, her friends have abandoned her, and even her own parents can't look her in the eye. With her plans for the future all but destroyed, Nikki resigns herself to being the girl everyone hates - almost as much as she hates herself. But then Nikki meets Pax, a spirited wheelchair rugby player who knows what it's like when one mistake completely shatters your life. Refusing to judge her because of her past, he shows her that everyone deserves a second chance... and everyone deserves to be loved.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karole lives outside of Philadelphia, PA with her loving husband, exuberant little girl, and smiley little boy. She adores YA Romance, because it would be awesome if life in general had a requisite feel-good happy ending rule. Vices include obscene Haribo gummy consumption, addiction to Starbucks NF vanilla lattes, and tendency to hoard Bath and Body Works 3-wick candles.
Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Anisaa, Sam, Erin, Susan, Michelle, Laura, and Kristin