Have You Ever Fancied A Client Rotten ??
By Katharine St John-Brooks
And have you ever wanted to read a thriller where the main character is a coach? Well I have, so I decided to write one! Thrillers are my favourite go-to.
The idea came a looooong time ago when I was writing my book on internal coaching (Karnac Books, 2014) and was immersed in a chapter on the ethical dilemmas that coaches can find themselves facing. I thought ‘What fun it would be to write a novel where the heroine is a coach and she deals with ethical dilemmas really badly … For example, she could get a new (married) client and they have the hots for each other. What would happen next?’ I thought about it a lot but was too busy to write it until 2019 when I took a step back from my coaching practice and resigned as Chairman of a local charity.
Yes – it’s taken me three years (on and off) to write my thriller but I’ve loved every minute of it. I spent twenty years at the beginning of my career working with government ministers so I decided that the relationship at the heart of the book would be my coach, Faith, landing a newly appointed government minister as a client. Faith is a 40-something single Mum and she wasn’t expecting her new client to set her pulses racing … but the book isn’t a romance, it’s a thriller, so readers have to expect a murder along the way …
I realised from the start that I wanted the book partly to educate those readers who were unfamiliar with coaching about what it involves. This proved to be a bit of a challenge. I didn’t want to bore my readers but there was stuff they needed to know. A fellow writer, in a writing group that I’m a member of, read my first long-winded attempt and said: “Why don’t you get the minister to ask Faith, at their chemistry meeting, to explain to him what coaching is, in two sentences?” That felt like quite a tall order but was a brilliant suggestion – getting information across in dialogue rather than exposition is always good and it all flowed so much better.
I was keen that Faith’s supervisor should be a character in the novel too – as I’m a big fan of supervision – and I’m really pleased that I did. He acts as her ‘conscience’ and when Faith stops telling him things about her coaching relationship with the minister it alerts the reader to the fact that she’s getting into trouble, emotionally and psychologically. And he’s my favourite character in the book, after Faith.
I’ve been lucky that a friend, who used to be a scriptwriter and has also had seven novels traditionally published, offered to mentor me through my final rewrite – which took up most of 2022. Then just before Christmas she said “I think it’s ready. It’s time to start submitting to agents.” So wish me luck! The odds are stacked against as most agents receive 1,500-2,000 manuscripts a year and only take on one or two new authors but I’m going to give it a bash. I think a novel with a coach at its heart is long overdue. If the traditional publishing route doesn’t work, I may give self-publishing a try but it sounds like very hard work! If anyone wants to read the opening scene, feel free to email me on [email protected] and I’ll send it to you.