About Me


Hello and thanks for stopping by!



I’m a writer of contemporary, realistic YA. The subject of my  first book, The Weight of Zero, is mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder, and it explores the shame, stigma and anxiety that often complicate the management of this chronic condition. The issue is personal to me having witnessed the impact of depression and bipolar disorder in  relatives and friends.  My goal was to write a story of hope for teens who struggle with mental illness.

My path to writing and publication was a long and indirect one. I graduated from the University of Scranton with an accounting degree  and then got a law degree from Georgetown. After working as a lawyer for many years, I found myself growing interested and then fascinated with history, specifically the American Revolution. This fascination sparked the idea for a middle grade story so between family, dogs and a return to school (Trinity College for a master’s degree in American Studies), I threw myself into writing.

Success for that middle grade story never arrived. (To see my interview about that, click here.) But that was okay. Because another idea was brewing, one that moved me in a way  my first story never had. About a girl who had to deal not only with the standard pressures and stress of high school but also a much heavier weight – a mental illness. The story would be about her struggle to come to terms with it. It became The Weight of Zero. 





4 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I am a young adult literacy expert . Your work is so needed and because of its honesty and its authenticity needs to be read by high school teachers and shared with teens by counselors as well. Send me an email address I can send my review so you can see it. I am Phd literacy but also involved in law related ed.

    1. Hi Dr. Reissman,

      I’m so sorry for the delay in response. I just read your comment. I would love to see your review. You can send to me at karen@karenfortunati.com.

      Thank you so much for reading Weight. I’m happy you liked it!



  2. Hi Karen,

    My name is Brittney Dunkins. I noticed your sourced my article from my time at GW in your novel. How did you happen upon it?



    1. Hi Brittney –

      Sorry for the delay in responding to you! I found your article by doing research on college resources for mental health. I loved your article – so well written, moving and positive! Thanks for writing it!



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