‘Love, Loss, and Schizophrenia’: Q&A with Karen Winters Schwartz

— … I believe fiction has a role to play in this education. It brings humanity to those people who are dealing with these conditions. It deemphasizes the labels, humanizes, and puts a face on recovery. It’s also a tool to give to those people who just don’t get what it’s like to live through the far-reaching effects of these illnesses."

You've been busy since the release of your first published novel, advocating for mental illness education and writing a second book. Where do you find time to sleep?

“And don’t forget that I own and run my own private optometry practice, and that I am a current board member of NAMI Syracuse, that I am currently at the tail end of writing my fifth novel, that I have traveled all over the country since ‘Where Are the Cocoa Puffs?’ was released in September of 2010 presenting at various NAMI conventions, dinners, college classes, bookstores and libraries. Not to mention my two dogs, three cats, one horse, numerous poison dart frogs, two big goldfish, and two tortoises that I must take care of! So the answer to your question is that I don’t sleep! No, seriously, I love what I’m doing. At times it’s a little overwhelming, but the rewards I receive — when I have people come up to me or write to me and tell me that my words or my books have made their life a little easier — well… it makes it all worthwhile and helps me sleep like a baby!”

Winters Schwartz will be a guest speaker for NAMI Madison County at 6 p.m. June 19 at the Oneida Public Library. Then she’ll travel to Seattle for a book signing at the NAMI National conference on June 28.

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