Inspiring Author: Karen Wheeler

Last August I discovered the charming memoir, Tout Sweet by Karen Wheeler and finished it in under two days.  I was instantly smitten with Karen and her adventures in rural France.  I counted the days for her second book to arrive by mail and finished Toute Allure in record time.  I am excited to dive into her third book, Tout Soul (it’s on it’s way) and was honored that she agreed to do a Q&A with me!  I highly recommend her work and couldn’t be happier to share the interview below.

More about the Author:   Karen Wheeler, a former fashion editor, is the author of three memoirs of her life in France. She also provides regular updates on her blog Tout Sweet and on Twitter.

Hometown:  Liverpool in the north of England.

Current City of Residence:  A village close to Poitiers in south-western France.

Tell us about the new book, Tout Soul.

Tout Soul: the Pursuit of Happiness in Rural France (now available for Kindle download from is the third in my series of French memoirs, which tell the story of a former newspaper fashion editor who decamps to France to renovate a house alone.

Whereas my previous books – Tout Sweet: Hanging up my High Heels for a New Life in Rural France and Toute Allure: Falling in Love in Rural France, have been described as ‘literary Prozac’ and ‘better than anti-depressants’ Tout Soul is a somewhat sadder story concerning my former boyfriend I don’t want to give too much away, but one reader just emailed to say she was in bed sobbing as she read it, and her husband was handing her the tissues. Despite this, it is still written with a lot of humor and I have tried hard to make sure the ultimate message is uplifting.

Since your first book, Tout Sweet, what has been your main source of inspiration to continue recording your life journey in rural France?

The French countryside – I’m very inspired by the colors and scents of the nature – and also by the people around me. There are some wonderful characters – not just French people but badly behaving expat Brits – tucked away in the French countryside.

Karen's furry friend Biff who makes his entrance in Toute Allure

What advice would you give someone looking to bravely make the switch in careers the way you did?

Follow you heart not your head. If your heart is telling you to do it, then you should.

Jenn at Reel Chow wants to know your favorite meal to eat out or make at home in France?

I love steak and chips with French mustard, which despite all the talk of frogs’ legs and exotic animal innards, is pretty much the French national dish.  I’m also very partial to snails cooked in parsley and garlic.

Christine at NYCPretty would love to know how living in France has changed your sense of style or influenced your fashion, beauty and wellness?

Well, I’ve had to ditch my high heels as they don’t work on friends’ gravel drives.  I would say that the clothes I wear are much more relaxed and casual – and most of the time geared towards dog walking.  I still wear a lot of Marni print dresses though.

Finally, Karen shared a photo of her favorite spot in her Little Maison:  her bedroom.   In one word she would use to describe it:    ‘girly’.  I agree.  Thanks for sharing Karen!

Don’t forget to stop by Karen’s blog HERE, follow her on twitter HERE and pick up her books HERE.

Need more French Inspiration?   Head over to Reel Chow and NYCPretty for their “French Favorites” today in celebration of Karen’s new book!  xoxo – Mandy @ LittleMaison


20 thoughts on “Inspiring Author: Karen Wheeler

  1. Pingback: French Dressing! |
  2. Karen Campbell says:

    As a true fan of all of Karen’s books and the owner of a pooch who until recently had the nick-name ‘Angus Houdini’, I just love the blend of fashion, food, anecdotes and pet-related musings which also make the reader feel like packing up and heading for France ‘right now’. These books truly capture the essence of France for me.
    On a purely academic note, I would say that Karen truly ‘comes of age’ as a writer in ‘Tout Soul’, the book leaves a haunting, poignant reminder that life is far too precious to be squandered and we should all be prepared to live the life we have to the max!

  3. dennissalvatier says:

    Karen’s book sounds really great and I think my Wife would enjoy it. In recent years I’ve grown the desire to visit France and the funny thing is my attraction to parts of Europe have always been the countryside. I feel like it would be the true face of that particular country.

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