A FORMER social worker-turned-writer has penned her first best seller, lifting the lid on the world of social services.
Debut author Kathryn Heaps, who uses the pen name, Freya Barrington, grew up in Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, attending the local primary school before moving up to Penwortham Girl’s Grammar School.
The mother-of-three, who now lives on the Maltese island of Gozo, left school at 16 to follow her passion for horses working as an exercise jockey with Grand National champ Geraldine Rees in Sollom.
She eventually went on to run her own yard but at the age of 37,after moving to Derbyshire, went to university and studied for a diploma in social care.
Freya said: “I had become a foster carer for the local authority and my own children were then aged 11-15.
“That was when I first came into contact with a lot of social workers and thought it might be the right job for me.”
She’d also worked in schools with children with challenging behaviour.
Despite years of work experience in the field, she said: “After nine months as a qualified social worked I was burnt out and nearly had a breakdown.”
She quit then spent 14 years back in the job as child protection officer - flitting between Gozo and the UK.
Citing stress and the abuse she suffered from clients, including being threatened with a shotgun and knives, she has turned her real life experience into a book of fiction, Known to Social Services. It reached number one in the social worker section on Amazon within 48 hours of being released.
Freya said: “I am so pleased. “It is fiction but I would say that 90 per cent of it is based on things that happened to me.”
She has already penned 15,000 words of her sequel and set up a website www.knowntosocialservices.com