First novel by Sunderland artist Karen Trueman of KT Heart Art

A Northeastern artist-turned-author has published her first novel to help people deal with grief and loss.

Karen Trueman, from Sunderland, made headlines in 2019 when her start-up, KT Heart Art, got people around the world to channel their inner artist by painting random, joyful messages on stones and hiding them in sporadic public places for people to find.

The campaign, which coincided with the launch of his own art gallery and gift shop selling art from the heart products inspired by his personal trauma of losing his sister a year earlier, saw thousands of stones hidden in around the world, from the United States to Australia and across Europe.

Karen Trueman of KT Heart Art, with her first novel

Fast forward three years and Karen is now embarking on a new path and helping others move on with the launch of her first novel, a book of poetry and prose illustrated by her brand KT Heart Art.

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“You Made it This Far: Mind, Body and Soul” features stories of her own trauma, from grieving the death of her best friend and sister to overcoming depression and infidelity to tales of her family’s experience of self-harm and alcoholism, the book is a touching family affair aimed at helping others deal with personal trauma.

She said: “I always told people ‘I should write a book’, so after facing family issues and being forced to give up my shop, I decided to do it.

“The art business was doing very well until then, but I put everything on hold and closed the store and the gallery in order to deal with some family issues that naturally had to come first.”

After her marriage broke up, Karen began writing to express her emotions and would later use writing to help her deal with her own unhealed trauma. She started writing poetry and prose in June 2021 and composed her first self-published book in May 2022.

“I will never forget my sales advisor at the BIC du Nord-Est who explained to me that “if you don’t know something, you can always learn it”. So I took his advice and that’s exactly what I did. I spent hours on YouTube, listening to how other authors have forged their careers, and I decided to do this.

Aware of family biases, Karen was keen to receive unbiased and honest reviews before publishing the book and released a series of copies to critics with huge acclaim, with the vast majority proclaiming how touched they were by the book and how some were ‘reduced to floods of tears’.

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“A lot of people don’t talk about the traumatic experiences that impact their lives and as a result they really struggle to deal with them,” she added. “By publishing this book and sharing my truth, I hope I can help change that.

“I’ve been there. I’ve been afraid to talk about my issues. Self-harm and suicide are just one example. They’re such taboo subjects that even your loved ones may have suicidal or gloomy thoughts. , but are often too scared to open up and talk about their pain.

“I hope people who have been through similar scenarios and struggled with life events will read my book and connect to share how they overcame their challenges and changed their lives. The hope is that the book can help others realize that there is hope and healing at the end of a trauma There is always light at the end of the tunnel and no matter how dark the night, there is always a brighter day that follows.

“There is so much hurt in the world that life can sometimes be so difficult and I just want to try to help people the best I can by sharing my struggles and being honest about the stages of grief. help a person, it will be worth it.

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Karen is now planning her book launch as well as picking up where she left off with KT Heart Art and hopes to open her gallery and gift shop again.

Gillian Middleton, Head of Innovation and Enterprise at BIC North East, said: “Karen is truly an inspiration and proof that no matter what you’ve been through, if you have the determination and the right mindset, you can accomplish anything and overcome any challenge.

“We are thrilled to have supported her on her journey and look forward to continuing to support her as she returns to her art business and starts trading again. She is truly an inspiration.

The book officially launched on July 16 and is available for purchase in paperback through Amazon.

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