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Bookitcon: Chapter Two – An Interview With Karole Cozzo

Bookitcon 2016 is here! Don’t know what it is? Well then, you’re missing out! I’ve put ALL the information you need below, after this wonderful interview.
When I was asked if I would do an interview for the wonderful Nori, I jumped at the chance to give her a hand! I love helping out amazing people in my life, but author interviews also give me a chance to know both them and their books so much better.
It should be noted that I have not read any books from Karole Cuzzo but after reading her responses and reviews from some friends, I bought a copy of ‘How To Say I Love You Out Loud’ from Chapters. I’m really looking forward to reading her books and she has a new fan with me.
I want to thank Karole so much for taking the time to answer my questions!
Onto the interview!
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 Both of your books focus on an issue that real people can struggle with on a daily basis. What makes you want to touch on these subjects when writing your novels?
I’m a huge proponent of the adage “write what you know.” I’m a school psychologist, and over the course of the time I wrote both books, I worked in an approved private school that educated students in need of special education (primarily autistic) and also in a public high school. The topics of autism awareness/advocacy and cyberbullying/mean girl culture were issues I not only heard and read about routinely, but experienced every day at work. It’s always my hope to reach teen readers in a way that isn’t perceived as preachy, and move them to take a few minutes to reflect on their own behavior and actions as far as others are concerned. 
‘How to Say I Love You Out Loud’ touches on autism and bullying. Was there someone close to you who you watched struggle with this battle?
As I noted above, I’ve had years of experience working in public high schools over the past decade and run girls’ counseling groups focusing on girl-girl aggression and bullying. And when I worked at a school that served primarily students with autism, I was amazed by the resiliency of the families and how awesome the majority of siblings were. That’s why I wanted to write How to Say I Love You Out Loud from a sibling’s perspective. So often I saw how willing they were to accept their needs coming second to that of a sibling, and I often thought how difficult that must be, especially as a teenager and the complexity of social relationships and self-image.
‘How to Keep Rolling After The Fall’ goes into cyber bullying and suicide. Being a mother of 4 daughters myself, worries about bullying and the Internet pop into my mind quite often, especially with all the news of children and young adults taking their life due to these things. Here in Nova Scotia we have the world renowned case of Rehtaeh Parsons who took her life after sexual humiliation and bullying. How, as a mother yourself, do you approach this topic without falling into the dark hole of worrying that us mothers deal with on a daily basis with the world the way it is?
Oh man. It is SO  easy to start worrying! I’ve also worked in elementary schools, and it seems it starts younger and younger with girls mistreating each other. My daughter is five, and it amazes me how girls start out so naturally willing and excited to accept each other and it’s so baffling how it changes so dramatically so quickly. I guess writing books like How to Keep Rolling helps my mind state! I hope I’m doing something to combat the problem. If it makes even one girl pause, reconsider her actions, I’ll be happy.  
What is one thing you hope your readers take from your books?
I want them to be inspired by what is hopefully an authentic journey of how a person can grow and develop. I hope this journey feels gradual, natural, and ultimately uplifting. I think this is something my books have in common. 
In a review I read on Goodreads (From my wonderful friend Olivia over at The Candid Cover, who also reviewed How To Keep Rolling After A Fall on her blog recently as well. Check it out!), she commented about your ability to write an educational book that makes the story enjoyable. I find at times when people write  books on mental health or serious topics that it can be hard to make the book enjoyable to the reader., when it touches on serious aspects. Does it take more time when writing to balance everything out, to keep everything enjoyable without getting too serious?
Not only does it take time, it takes a strong editorial team, which I have at Swoon Reads! My natural inclination is to sometimes end up spending too much time with the angst. My editors are quick to remind me of things like “I haven’t laughed in 50 pages.” I’m becoming more attuned to considering that balance from the get-go when writing. Certainly I want my stories to be real, but if they’re just too much to take and leave readers feeling sad more than anything else… I’m not sure that’s an enjoyable read. So yes, being mindful of that balance and being sure to take the time to find it is very important. 
If you could tell a new reader of your books one thing, what would it be?
I write with emotional honesty. Emotions aren’t always pretty, and I don’t shy away from having my characters reveal their true emotions. It’s a delicate balance, because I understand how it can make a new reader potentially abandon a story if the main character at the onset thinks and feels things that aren’t so charming. But that’s part of being an authentic adolescent, and I *hope* I accomplish enough with character growth that readers will end up rooting for my girls in the end! 
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What is Bookitcon: Chapter Two?

Bookitcon: Chapter Two is a charity book event. We currently have 30 incredible authors in our lineup. The book event will include meet-n-greets with the authors, along with two panels and the opportunity to get all of your books signed by all of the authors!

If you purchase the VIP ticket, you will also be invited to a VIP dinner/after party with the authors, along with getting an extra hour to get your books signed!

Full list of authors can be found here.

Schedule:
2:30- 3:30pm VIP signing! (open to VIP ticket holders only)
3:30- 6:00pm Regular signing! (open to all attendees)
3:30- 4:15pm Surprises in Publishing Panel!
4:30- 5:45pm Facts + Fiction Panel!
6:00- 8:00pm VIP Afterparty! (open to VIP ticket holders only)

Panels:
Surprises in Publishing

Moderator: S Usher Evans

Panelists:
Anna Breslaw
Kathryn Holmes
Lee Kelly
Jodi Meadows
Julie Eshbaugh
Facts vs Fiction

Moderator: Claire Legrand

Panelists:
Beth Fantaskey
Sandy Hall
Kendall Kulper
Mia Siegert
Eric Smith

Where?
16 East Main Street Moorestown, NJ 08057
When?
Sunday, August 7th, 2016
Why?
I decided to start UBUbiz because I wanted a way to combine my passions for reading, business, and charity/community service. After wracking my brain for months, the idea of Bookitcon suddenly appeared! This is my second year hosting Bookitcon, and I can’t wait.

Bookitcon: Chapter Two isn’t just your ordinary book event. I’m working with the nonprofit Grace in the Mud and two K-8 schools in Camden, NJ to help them grow their outdated libraries. The proceeds from this event will be benefiting them.

You can find more information on Grace in the Mud by going to their website (http://www.graceinthemud.org/home.html), facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GraceintheMud), or gofundme (https://www.gofundme.com/justforgirls).
Other Info:
Interested in attending? Great! You can buy a ticket through the website: www.UBUbiz.com or just click here! (http://bit.ly/BC2tickets)

Are you dying of jealousy because you’d love to be able to attend and get books signed by the attending authors? Don’t fear, because virtual signings are here! You can purchase books by any of the attending authors and get it shipped to your house, easy peasy!

Link: http://bit.ly/BC2onlinesales

Are you currently unsure but want to stay up to date with all of the latest news? Make sure to subscribe to the UBUbiz newsletter!  http://bit.ly/1O4vM5O
Social Media Links:
Website: www.UBUbiz.com
Twitter: @UBUbiz
Insta: @ububiz_

Sarah LeBlanc

<p>★ Borderline battler ★ Bookish lover ★ Hunger Games fanatic ★ Jodi Meadows Fangirl ★ Raising Awareness of Mental Health and BPD ★</p>

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