How to Keep Rolling After a Fall
Publication date: August 2nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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 in this swoonworthy new novel from the author of How to Say I Love You Out Loud.
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.
1. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
I always wanted to be a writer. During summer break, I would sit down at my dad’s old typewriter with the intention of writing historical fiction romances. I didn’t know I could actually finish a manuscript until a couple decades later, and along the way, finding a more “practical” career seemed very important. I did find a career I love (school psychology) and currently I feel like I have the best of both worlds!
2. How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
Typically, it takes me about three months. Towards the end, I tend to go into “mad artist mode” and I write like a crazy person every chance I get. Then I start breathing again and trying to get my house back into some kind of shape.
3. How do you come up with themes for your stories?
My first two books can be construed as “issues” books. Working as a school psychologist, I naturally arrived at the ideas after participating in trainings and discussions and hearing a lot in the media related to Autism awareness, “mean girls,” cyberbullying, etc. I liked the idea of reaching teens and encouraging reflection and discussion about some of these topics in a non-preachy manner, and the idea of touching upon these themes in novels seemed like one way to go.
4. Do you have a schedule of when you write?
I try to keep a schedule, but juggling family demands and my “day job” sometimes makes it difficult. I usually come up with a self-imposed deadline for finishing a draft, then look at my calendar and try to cram in writing sessions wherever they fit.
5. How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?.
I keep a super organized planner and am pretty efficient with most tasks. I know I have to prioritize, and that some days writing simply can’t be a priority. And some days, if I’m in the zone, that I have to let it take over. Most of the time, then, the balance works itself out. Most of the time.
6. What elements do you think make a great story line?
Authentic character development. Gradual pacing when it comes to relationship building. And a little UST never hurts!
7. What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
I think it can be difficult to balance your creative inspiration and drive with the parameters of the industry. As I stated above, I’m a huge fan of gradual development, and if it were up to me, my stories would probably be about one hundred fifty thousand words before there was ever a ‘first kiss!’
8. How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
At this time, I have three books out or in the works. I’ve written nine manuscripts, however. I’m pretty sure my favorite will never see publication, which I’ve come to terms with and decided I’m totally okay with. This way, the characters will always be mine – they won’t be put through the grueling editing process or judged by readers. I sort of like keeping them protected that way.
8. Do you have a favorite character?
Georgia Nicolson from Angus, thongs, and Full-Fronting Snogging is laugh out loud funny. I’m pretty sure my dog thinks I’m crazy because she’s caught me laughing so hard I’m crying while in an otherwise empty house while reading that series.
10. Where do you write?
Wherever I happen to be when a few moments open up. Most frequently visited spots included my sun room, my home office, or Panera or Starbucks. I’m actually the most focused with some white noise in the background.
11. When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
As a participant in NaNoWriMo, I received an email about the launch of the Swoon Reads community. To me, it felt like such a gift! I was a full-time working mom of two young kids at the time, and finding the time to do the query process right was a huge challenge. Having the opportunity to gain direct access to a publishing company was awesome! And the crowd-sourcing angle was a lot of fun – along the way, I was able to connect with some fabulous authors who became friends and get feedback about my stories.
12. Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
My parents sort of think everything I do is perfect, so I’m not sure they’re objective! But with that being said, I get the sense that family members are proud that the books I’ve written thus far have the power to really impact young readers in terms of self-reflection and thinking about how they treat others.
13. What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
I like to plan thematic birthday parties for my kids. I like working out and have ambitions of running one of the Disney half marathons. I like etsy and Pinterest an awful lot. I like watching The Blacklist with my husband. And I’m pretty happy just staring at the different expressions that come over my kids’ faces.
14. What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
I’m a big fan of the adage ‘write what you know.’ Especially when you’re dipping your toes into the writing waters, I believe writing about familiar subject matter can result in a more authentic read and give you as the author increased confidence that you’re getting it right. When I wrote How to Say I Love You Out Loud, I definitely drew on my experience working with a special needs population and it made the process feel less like guesswork.
15. What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?
I’ve been writing stories since I was in elementary school, but I always credit Diana Peterfreund and Stephenie Meyer for making me plop myself down in the computer and go at this writing thing for real. I was reading the Twilight series and the Secret Society Girl series around the same time, and I remember thinking, ‘I love these stories so much! I wish I could write stories that readers adored even a fraction as much. I want to do that.’
16. Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
Yes, but I often feel bad depending on them because I’m pretty awful about being as awesome as they are in giving feedback in return! I wish I had more hours in the day. Now I usually bounce ideas and revisions off of my editor, Holly West, who’s the BEST.
17. Are you working on anything now?
My third Swoon Reads novel, The Truth About Happily Ever After, which comes out in May 2017, is in the editing process. This book is less of an “issue” book than my other two, and overall is just a lot of fun. It’s set in a popular theme park and the main character plays Cinderella at the park. And I absolutely adore her love interest.
18. Tell us 5 things that make you smile
- the sound and scent of my morning coffee brewing (cinnamon or coconut, for the record)
- random texts from my bff
- my kids’ laughter when they’re teaming up to be naughty together (even though the results are usually less than thrilling)
- Disney. Anything Disney.
- being a writer
19. Tell us 5 things that make you sad
- Forbidden (oof, that book was a bear!)
- that I don’t have more time to read
- winter time – I hate being cold and when it gets dark early
- that I don’t have a thicker skin when it comes to constructive criticism
- and, for one serious one, the fact that so many people in our country and the world today don’t feel like they have a basic level of safety anymore when they walk out their front door
20. If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be?
I’ve already traveled to some of the more exotic locations on the planet, so I wouldn’t mind visiting a small town in the South during a perfectly ordinary summer. I always think these make great settings for teen romance.
KAROLE COZZO is a school psychologist by day, a wife and mother of two by night, and a writer of YA romance in the wee hours of the morning. She loves camping out at Starbucks, breakfast cereal at all hours, and watching every movie made from her favorite YA books. How to Say I Love You Out Loud is her debut novel.
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