Meet the author of HOW TO SAY I LOVE YOU OUT LOUD, Karole Cozzo!
Now that we’ve made another exciting big announcement, that we’re publishing HOW TO SAY I LOVE YOU OUT LOUD as a part of our second list, we want to introduce you to the author, Karole Cozzo. Here’s a short greeting from Karole, and be sure to read her Q&A below to get a taste of what makes her so swoonworthy. If that’s not enough Karole for you, check out her website at …
What inspired you to write How to Say I Love You Out Loud?
I’ve worked with students with disabilities for nine years and the family dynamic has always interested me. I’ve often wondered what it feels like to be the so-called neurotypical sibling when in so many cases so much of the parents’ attention and energy must go to meeting the challenges surrounding a disability. What does it feel like to be the other child in that family? How might their family relations impact social and romantic relationships as they get older? I’ve wondered if these children have ever felt at all ignored or pushed to the side. I wanted to give them a voice in this story and hopefully also create a realistic picture of what home life looks like for them, the good and the bad.
Why did you decide to submit to Swoon Reads?
I’d submitted another manuscript to Swoon when it first launched. It didn’t get selected for publication, but I’d really started to enjoy the Swoon community. I liked how accessible it felt. I appreciated the opportunity to interact with “industry people” directly and communicate with other writers. I wasn’t sure how How to Say I Love You Out Loud would be received and I truly wanted feedback. I decided even if I didn’t get selected there was still a lot of value in being involved with the site.
How long did it take you to write the manuscript?
I wrote the manuscript in about three months. I worked off a very skeletal chapter outline and tried to set weekly writing goals for what I wanted to accomplish. Once I had a draft done, my fabulous and helpful friends I’d made on the Swoon site, Theresa and Jen, helped with some edits and gave me feedback for consideration before I submitted.
What was your first thought when you saw the e-mail from the Swoon Reads address?
Disbelief! I thought it was a group email about the site. It definitely took a few minutes for it to process that it was a personal email. I was having such an awful Monday – my son was sick and I spent the better part of Sunday night holding him. I could barely keep my eyes open and then when I read the email it was better than a couple shots of espresso…talk about my mood doing a complete 180.
Who was the first person you told?
My husband – he’s good at keeping secrets. And he’s always treated the idea of publication as a very attainable goal rather than a lofty dream. His attitude helped keep me motivated at times when I wanted to give up.
How hard was it to keep the fact that your book was going to be published a secret for over a month?
Pretty hard, not gonna lie! Mostly because there are so many people I want to say thank you to – the people who read my story within days of my asking them to, my middle school English teacher who supported my writing over twenty years ago and then again a few months ago on the site, my writing friends I’ve made over the years who have always “kept the faith.” So many people were behind this accomplishment and I wanted to share it with all of them.
Now that the world knows, how are you going to celebrate?
The day I got the news, my husband brought home a bottle of Dom Perignon. I haven’t opened it yet in the name of delayed gratification, but I think it’s time to pop the cork!
How do you feel now, being an official Swoon Reads author?
Wait, I’m an author? I can really call myself that now? SQUEEEEEEE!
No, seriously, I’m thrilled and incredibly appreciative to be working with this innovative team.
What advice do you have for other writers on the site?
If you have that feeling in your gut that writing is what you’re meant to be doing, don’t let anything stifle it – time, rejections, losses, setbacks. Stick to your instincts and keep going – the path to your dreams might not be the one you expected. Become part of a community of writers – it’s hard to keep believing in yourself when you keep hearing “no” and we’re always our own worst critics. Sometimes you need others to help do the believing for you, and you for them.
Anything you want to share with readers about your experience?
I want to express my gratitude for their time and thoughtful feedback. I also want to encourage readers to continue to give honest feedback, even when it might sting. Swoon Reads is an opportunity authors don’t often get – actual comments from readers before a story is shot down and never makes it way to the masses. Constructive criticism is an awesome tool and it’s truly a gift! Even when it hurts at first, after a couple hours, we’re happy to have those negative comments so we can make our stories better. After a while, I was truly more excited to receive comments about what could be improved or what readers didn’t like as compared to comments that were entirely complimentary in nature. I appreciated the honesty and was grateful to have something to work with.