Monday, 2 May 2011

A Hard Lesson by Charles Jay Harwood: Games of Teacher and Pupil

A teacher finds herself tutoring a nightmare pupil. Up against a legacy of countless teachers who could not face up to the challenge, this meek fledgling teacher does not fare her chances well. But the trials he throws at her are just the beginning.

Kindle Thriller on Dyslexia

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A Hard Lesson, now available on audio as well as Kindle, tells the story of, Sarah who is haunted by the memory of her dead brother. She encounters her prospective pupil, Josh, through her then boyfriend, Frank on a routine visit. Sarah falls into the trap of tutoring this ‘obnoxious grunge.' The ensuing scenes describe how he makes things very difficult for Sarah by employing his selection-box of games of Teacher and Pupil, such as Blackmail a Teacher, Compromise a Teacher’s Personal Life and Make a Teacher Grovel. This made the scenes fun to write, but poor Sarah soon realises it doesn’t end with his games.
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Idea for A Hard Lesson

Sarah discovers that there is more to Josh’s family than meets the eye. His mother tenaciously upholds that her son is not dyslexic but merely lazy, and routinely enrols him on literacy courses in the belief he will achieve good grades and move on from his dead-end job. Sarah also finds herself getting drawn into the inner workings of her boyfriend’s tightly-knit gang headed by psychopathic but charismatic, Kurt.

What may at first appear to be separate worlds begin to exhibit connections Sarah didn’t foresee. The story unfolds, testing the callibre of each character to the limit and causing the tension to unfold with gathering momentum. Sarah ultimately must face her greatest fear, not least Kurt himself.

A poignant scene within this novel consists of when Josh becomes a suspect to a stabbing, and Sarah employs kinaesthetic exercises (guiding his hands through the air) to help with his letter-orientation.

The prologue and epilogue of the story gives Frank’s point of view. The main story is told from Sarah’s. Now available as an audiobook,

Take a listen to the opening sequence of the prologue.

A Hard Lesson Story Development

I wrote A Hard Lesson before The Shuttered Room, but published the latter first. A Hard Lesson is a plot idea that had been buzzing around my head since I was a teenager. It began as a short story, evolving into a full length novel. I wanted to explore the idea of a seemingly small and insignificant event having huge consequences upon what would appear to be an unbeatable system. Namely Sarah up against Josh, and ultimately Kurt.

Everything would seem to be up against Sarah: her guilt about her dead brother, her inexperience in teaching a dyslexic pupil, the dark secrets of his family and Frank’s commitment to his cause within Kurt’s criminal gang.

Thankfully, my brief term teaching has never yielded such a horrendous pupil, but my imagination took relish from trying out different scenarios with the object of testing the heroine to the limit.

A Hard Lesson is my second book between the Shuttered Room and Falling Awake.
Read an overview of Charles Jay Harwood novels. Paperback measures 8x5in and 262 pages. Also available in large print.

Note: since publishing this, A Hard Lesson can be found within a four in one thriller bundle book, Eclipse Quartet, 4 Psychological Thrillers, which is a little cheaper than purchasing my four novels singly.

Related links on my author website

How the family dynamics and the hierarchial gang
Stories with taboo themes

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