Swoon Author Karole Cozzo: My Debut Novel is Finished… the Rest is Still Unwritten

Once upon a time, Publication (yes, with a capital P) was the Holy Grail.

holy grail

In the time that has passed since June 2014, when I learned that Swoon was gifting me with the Holy Grail, I’ve experienced so many wonderful highs. “The Call.” (I mean, Holy Claudia Kishi, that’s Jean Feiwel on the other end of the line!) Sending off my first round of edits, such a hugely nerve-wracking experience, and hearing that I’d done well, risen to the occasion. Seeing covers, real book covers, that artists had designed for my work. Receiving the book design pages, seeing what my story would look like as a book for the very first time. Holding the ARC in my hands. And finally, in July 2015, holding the final version of my book, seeing how all of it had come to fruition, the end product of a dream a decade in the making.

Thing is, no one really talks about what would become of a person if they were to find the Holy Grail. So August 4th came and went, and I realized I was having a bit of a Tangled moment.

new dream gf

The dream was within reach, I was holding it in my hands, and I was scared of what came next. I didn’t particularly want to take Flynn Rider’s advice and find a new dream. The truth is, I just wanted to keep living this dream, again and again.

My publishing confidential: Becoming a published author, life doesn’t change overnight. And none of us are entirely sure how to hold onto the dream, to truly turn it into real life.

Publication doesn’t grant you instant success. Publication does not provide you with a handy dandy industry roadmap marked “Destination: Success.” There’s no direct progression, no climbing a corporate ladder of career advancement, there’s no “one way” of taking the next step.


But I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find it’s not daunting or overwhelming, not knowing exactly what comes next. Actually, it’s a perfect time to get back in touch with my inner writer. After I celebrated on release day, attended my first ever book signing, and hosted a party to honor the accomplishment as well as those who had supported me in getting there, I sat down and opened up my laptop again.

And even without a roadmap in hand, these are the feelings that guide me, this much I know:

I relish the feeling when a scene comes together exactly as I imagined.

I relish when a scene I imagined becomes something else entirely.

I love when my character’s words pop into my head. I love when they’re funny, or sad, or surprisingly deep.

I adore seeing, in my mind’s eye, the looks on the other character’s faces when they say these words.

I adore starting a new chapter. I adore finishing one.

I’m invigorated thinking up new stories.

I love spending time with familiar friends when I revisit old stories.

I love opening my laptop on a quiet early morning, getting lost in a world entirely of my own making, and feeling like I’m exactly where I belong, doing exactly what I should be doing.

The past fourteen months have been an incredible learning experience, and one thing I’ve learned is that, quite possibly, publication itself is not the Holy Grail I once believed it was. The love of the craft is. I had the Holy Grail, right within me, all along. Huh.

So as well all contemplate the next steps* on our writing journeys, I hope that we can all remember why we’re on those journeys in the first place. Likely, we don’t know where they’re taking us or where they will ultimately lead, but truly, it’s about the joy that brought us to the road in the first place. And I’m super excited to keep on truckin’, not because some sort of prize awaits, but because the prize lies, quite literally, in what is still unwritten.


*#intheworks #secrets #cantwaittoshare #Pax #nuffsaid

Author spotlight

Karole Cozzo

KAROLE COZZO is a school psychologist by day, a wife and mother of two by night, and a writer of …

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