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tout soul - one year on

May 8, 2013


So finally...some figures. Until 31st March 2013, Tout Soul had sold: 3183 print copies; 3460 ebook copies – a total of 6643 copies since its launch in March 2012 (February 2012 for the ebook).

This means that the total amount raised in the book’s first year (or just over a year) for brain and spinal injury charities, at a donation of 50p per copy, is £3322.

I have donated £1661 to Stoke Mandeville Spinal Foundation which works closely with the National Spinal Injuries Centre.

The other £1661 has been donated to the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at King's College, London, which carries out pioneering academic research into stem cell therapies for repairing damaged brains.

The research team works closely with King's College hospital, which is one of only four major trauma centres in the UK, dealing on a daily basis with patients who have sustained life-changing spinal and brain trauma injuries.

Although the King's website chiefly mentions damage to the brain caused by strokes, the research will also help those who have sustained serious brain injuries and spinal fractures as a result of road traffic accidents and other traumatic incidents.

I am especially pleased to be able to donate to the King’s College research as it is my former university. And because the donation is over £1000, Luis will receive a special mention on the King’s website as part of the ‘Circle donors’.

In both cases the money has been paid directly to the charities, rather than via an intermediary website, which means they will receive the full amount. Letters of acknowledgement from each charity will be posted here in due course.

Thank you to everyone who bought Tout Soul and made this possible.

A great many readers have written privately to thank me for writing the book. Some sent emails to say that despite his flaws, they too had fallen in love with The Lion, felt as if they knew him personally, and were devastated by news of his death.

But the most important question is: would Luis have thanked me for writing the book?

I will never know for sure, but from what I knew of his character the answer is almost certainly ‘yes’. He had a big personality, liked to be the centre of attention and would not have been averse to the idea of complete strangers falling in love with him.

By contributing to pioneering brain research, Tout Soul will hopefully help others with traumatic brain injuries. Deep down, Luis was an intelligent, generous and graceful soul, and I'm quite sure that he would have wanted that.

comments (24)

1. Posted by Stella on May 8, 2013 7:26 PM

Where have I been?!? This is truly FABULOUS news!!

2. Posted by Bryony Craig on May 8, 2013 7:29 PM

What wonderful news x

3. Posted by Val on May 8, 2013 8:12 PM

Wow that is fantastic news! Great progress is being made into the brain and how it works and this is going to help others so much.

4. Posted by Donna Klein on May 9, 2013 5:17 AM

Fabulous. You have taken a personal tragedy and transformed it into a way to benefit many. I loved the book and your story, and anxiously await finding out what happens next.

5. Posted by Melanie Cory on May 9, 2013 8:15 AM

I think Luis would have been very proud of you and he would have loved reading Tout Soul.

6. Posted by Loraine on May 9, 2013 5:02 PM

Awe that is fantastic Karen. As Melanie said Luis would have been very proud of you. Through you generosity more people will be helped. Must say, I loved Tout Soul. Hope you have a wonderful summer. xx

7. Posted by Sue W on May 9, 2013 5:03 PM

I think it was very brave of you to write about your story with Luis, and such a generous, heart-warming thing to do to turn the tragedy into something positive which will help others. From what you have written about Luis I would imagine he would be the Portuguese equivalent of 'thrilled to bits', and be very proud of you. Looking forward to your next book - not too long now! Very best wishes to you, hope this becomes a bestseller, and that 'Tout Soul' continues to do well too.

8. Posted by Diane Bircan on May 9, 2013 5:36 PM

You have done a really wonderful thing. I am sure Luis would be honored to know you have done this and because of him (and you) alot of people will hopefully get much needed help. You have a heart of gold, Karen. Hugs and Love to BIFF :)

9. Posted by Jacky Rolls on May 10, 2013 12:40 PM

Love your books Karen, and also feel I knew Luis personally. I am certain you are right, he would have loved being the centre of attention and would be proud of you for sharing your story. Brilliant donations :) x

10. Posted by Carol Gee on May 12, 2013 8:59 AM

What a truly generous thing to do - I'm sure Luis would be so proud of you , as I am. So looking forward to the next exploits!

11. Posted by roy foster on May 14, 2013 7:04 PM

When you watch the news and see such depressing things people do in this world, its heart warming to know their are still people around such as yourself.
I can only imagine what your going through with life after luis, but is it time to let us all know with a new book. I for one look forward to the release, if there is to be one.

12. Posted by Amanda Gray on May 16, 2013 11:07 AM

Karen you are an inspiration. I read all three books back to back after my mum recommended Tout Sweet. To allow the reader into this time of heart-wrenching agony and turn it into a positive for countless people in the future is truely remarkable.

From what you have told us all about Luis, I think he would be incredibly honoured and proud of you for writing his story and making such a valuable contribution.

Can't wait until 6th August to find out how you have managed since your tragic loss. Big hugs to Biff please! :) x

13. Posted by Julie Surycz on May 16, 2013 7:50 PM

Well done Karen. You are a super writer and I look forward to your next book. Well done on donating money to such worthy causes.

14. Posted by Emma Horton on May 17, 2013 9:23 PM

I have thoroughly enjoyed your earlier books, but this one touched my heart. So tragic to have lost the man you loved and for him to have passed so young. I sobbed when I read the book. Kept hoping for a happy ending ... but this is real life, not fiction. Very brave of you to have written the book and hope to hear more from you soon x

15. Posted by christiana on May 21, 2013 12:14 AM

Congrats Karen on the amount of money raised and donated in honour of Luis,he would be very proud.
Am so looking forward to your new book.
Warm wishes to you and cuddles to Biff xx

16. Posted by Jennifer on May 27, 2013 10:28 PM

What wonderful gestures you have made. Of course when we bought the book we had no idea of the ending: so sad but such a great book, all 3 were great! You are a really great writer!

17. Posted by Donna on June 21, 2013 6:43 AM

Karen, thank you so much for your books and for your generosity. I broke my neck in a car crash three years ago, but was lucky enough to benefit from medical advances and recover well. Your gift is a very special thing, in every sense.

18. Posted by Ola on June 23, 2013 8:52 PM

I have read your three books and love them all! Today I finished Tout soul and I must say that it was one of the most touching book I have ever had in my hands. Simply, breathtaking!
I have recommended your books to my friends and they fell in love with them as well. So Looking forward to the forth one!

19. Posted by Diane on August 30, 2013 7:34 AM

Hi Karen

Oh my sweet girl, I finally read Tout Soul, finishing it last night - and wept with you. Beautifully written, absolutely from the heart. Luis would be so proud (as a Lion for sure) of what you are doing in his name.

I await your next book eagerly.

A big hug to Biff, and love to you, Di xx

20. Posted by Rene Campbell on September 1, 2013 9:59 PM

I too have read all three of your books....you write with such style and warmth. Please continue writing about your life in France, with new adventures from the village.
Wishing you much happiness.
P.S. So glad you took the "for sale" sign down. Villers wouldn't be the same without you!
Best, Rene

21. Posted by Jo Bignell on September 13, 2013 5:22 PM

I've just finished all 3 books and loved them! Looking forward to the next one..... ;-)
I also live in France, and have a mad dog who thinks she is human, so I felt I could relate to the books completely.
Sadly haven't come across any 'le danse country' yet, but I'll keep looking!

22. Posted by Claire Turner on September 14, 2013 9:25 PM

Karen, I read your first book out of interest. my husband is threatening to relocate my family to France and I was looking for inspiration. your descriptions of France are so beautiful but also realistic. I became completely hooked on your story and have read your 3 books in 3 weeks. You are a complete inspiration and tout soul was so beautifully written.
thank you for sharing your story. I think you are strong and brilliant.
keep writing. I can' t wait for the next instalment.
I am currently a nurse and have been for 20 Years. I am scared I don' t know how to do anything else but if relocate to France I am seriously considering a creative writing course. Thank you.

23. Posted by Gemma on September 20, 2013 8:44 PM

Hi Karen,
Only half way into my second book but madly in love with it...and Biff! I googled you, found this site and now almost wish I hadn't due to news about The Lion, who you haven't even fallen for in your book yet.......
Oh dear......I am so sorry.
I spent two weeks in the Charente last year, your books are reminding me of it but I am so sorry I have lots of sadness to read.
Wishing you well,
Gem x x

24. Posted by Denise on February 10, 2014 3:36 PM

Hi Karen,
Thank you for writing with so much passion. I felt I knew the Lion and your village and could identify with the 'if only' thoughts you shared so honestly. Yours books have made me laugh and cry. I wanted to change the end of the third book, Tout Soul to a happier outcome... but sadly it is a reality and not fiction. To turn a tragedy in to something positive is a great gift and there are many lessons on leading a positive life within your books.

Wishing you lots of happiness and looking forward to your next book.

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