Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 28, 2016

Book Giveaway – The Weight of Zero

Karen Fortunati has offered to be the first book in the Holiday Book Giveaway Extravaganza running until the end of the year.  I have read the THE WEIGHT OF ZERO and I highly recommend it to teens and adults. It is a great book!

All you have to do to get in the running to win a signed copy is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.

WeightofZero_front cover new12.indd


For fans of 13 Reasons Why and Girl in Pieces, this is a novel that shows the path to hope and life for a girl with mental illness.

Seventeen-year-old Catherine Pulaski knows Zero is coming for her. Zero, the devastating depression born of Catherine’s bipolar disorder, almost triumphed once; that was her first suicide attempt.

Being bipolar is forever. It never goes away. The med du jour might work right now, but Zero will be back for her. It’s only a matter of time.

And so, in an old ballet-shoe box, Catherine stockpiles medications, preparing to take her own life before Zero can inflict its living death on her again. Before she goes, though, she starts a short bucket list.

The bucket list, the support of her family, new friends, and a new course of treatment all begin to lessen Catherine’s sense of isolation. The problem is, her plan is already in place, and has been for so long that she might not be able to see a future beyond it.

This is a story of loss and grief and hope, and how some of the many shapes of love—maternal, romantic, and platonic—affect a young woman’s struggle with mental illness and the stigma of treatment.


THE WEIGHT OF ZERO would not exist if not for Kathy Temean. That’s the truth, plain and simple. She morphed into my writing fairy godmother at her Avalon Full Manuscript Retreat back in 2013 (I think).  At that point, I had been working for at least three years on a middle grade manuscript, attending SCBWI conferences, workshops and critique groups and collecting around fifty agent rejections. Kathy’s retreat offered the opportunity for two industry professionals to read the entire thing and give feedback. I felt lucky to get in and even luckier to spend time with Kathy who was always so gracious with her time, experience and guidance.

            A First Page Session was scheduled during the retreat and I confided to Kathy that I had no other first pages besides my MG story. I planned on sitting it out but Kathy urged me to write something new. I had plenty of time, she said, because the session wasn’t until the following day. She was so upbeat, so sure I could whip something up that I opened a blank page on my laptop screen.

            With Kathy’s encouragement still ringing in my ears, I sat down in one of the armchairs in that gorgeous Avalon beach house and my main character popped in my head. She was older than the characters I was used to writing and her voice felt like a natural fit. I wrote the first page of The Weight of Zero right then and there and the published version isn’t too much different from what I typed in Avalon.  The Avalon writers and pros were exceptionally supportive when it was read the next day and that buoyed me to submit it to the Serendipity Literary Agency YA First Page/Novel Discovery contest that I wound up winning. Bolstered by that very first professional validation, I put away my MG story and threw myself into writing THE WEIGHT OF ZERO.  My writing had a new energy and confidence and I won the SCBWI Work in Progress grant in 2014. I finished the story at the end of 2014 and began querying. I signed with the brilliant Sara Megibow of KT Literary in early 2015 and she sent the story to the brilliant Kate Sullivan of Delacorte who became my editor. I’m thrilled that I’ll be working with Kate on my next two YA books. THE ARC OF A BULLET will be published in 2018.

            Looking back, listening to Kathy was a turning point for me. I know without a doubt that THE WEIGHT OF ZERO wouldn’t exist if not for her and that Avalon Retreat. Thank you, Kathy!



Karen is a former attorney, whose personal experiences witnessing the impact of depression and suicide inspired her to write this story of hope for those who struggle with mental illness. Her debut, THE WEIGHT OF ZERO, was named an ABA Indies Introduce title for Summer/Fall 2016, featured in Seventeen Magazine and named a Best Book of October by Apple. Her next book, THE ARC OF A BULLET, comes out in 2018.

Karen lives in Connecticut with her family and rescue dogs and in addition to writing, works part time as a museum educator.

Follow her on Twitter @karenfortunati or

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thank you! Caridad


  2. Karen, I don’t know what brought you to NJ, but I’m so happy for you that you did and that you were able to take advantage of one of Kathy’s retreats. You have experienced, first hand, the genuine caring that she has ALways put first in the many years she has been a part of the SCBWI Community, from her 10 years as our NJ R.A. and beyond. Hearing your success story made me tear up. A VERY big CONGRATULATIONS to you! 😀 😀 😀


    • And I forgot to mention—my boyfriend is bi-polar (and more) so I’m more than familiar with the torturous existence this can be 😦 This subject matter is critical, especially if it offers hope 🙂


    • Thank you Donna!!!! Kathy is a powerhouse and vital part of our community. Love her and love that she is appreciated by so many! I’m born and raised in Edison, NJ and moved to CT about 18 years ago. I had met Kathy at a NJSCBWI conference and followed this blog. Totally lucked out when a spot opened up in her first Avalon retreat. (Think it was her first.)


      • I know you’ve been at our conferences :), but didn’t know you lived in Connecticut. You were a NJ gal 😀 For several reasons I can’t do retreats and Kathy’s are the ones I’d REALLY love to do. So glad you did 🙂


      • I WON! I WON! I WON! Thanks Karen and Kathy! 😀


  3. Congratulations, Karen. What a wonderful tribute to Kathy! Your journey is an inspiration.


  4. Glad to hear about your publication journey and the book sounds great.


  5. It’s thrilling to hear about this process to publication Karen. Having met you at the retreat the previous year, I knew you were destined for publication. So happy for your success! xo


    • You were a huge inspiration with Wheels of Change about to be published! xo


  6. Congratulations, Karen! As another former attorney, I know the satisfaction of turning to a writing career. Sounds like yours is going full steam ahead! You are an inspiration.


  7. Congratulations Karen! And Kathy, thank you for being a huge support for so many of us authors and illustrators. Your generosity has encouraged so many new people to fulfill their potential!


  8. I’m going to tweet and FB this. I’ve heard good things about it!


  9. Congratulations! Thanks for sharing this reminder of the generosity of the writing community–and Kathy Temean! I’m eager to read this book.


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