In my novel, More Precious Than Rubies, the central character, Paul Brager, a grade 7 student, has been called into the office of the mysterious principal, Mr. Theisen.
In his short life, Paul has already experienced tragedy: the death of his mother. His father has been nobly trying to hold his family together and this includes Paul’s younger brother, Adrian.
Below is an excerpt in which the meeting between Paul and Mr. Theisen takes place:
The thing about Paul’s memory of his mother was this: he had never let go but he could never really talk about it either. His anger wasn’t only directed at Theisen. It was directed at anyone who cared to mention his mother, even the people who were trying to help him. One day, he’d get over it, he knew, but when would that be?
Theisen crossed his arms. “How is school going for you this year so far, Paul?”
“It’s okay. I mean, it just started.” Paul looked around behind him. Theisen had left the office door open. Teachers needed to do these things these days as much to protect themselves as to protect the kids. So neither could be accused of anything. Paul was kind of glad the door was open.
“You like it here at Dorian Heights?”
“Sure. I’ve been here a long time.” Paul didn’t want to volunteer too much information.
Theisen squirmed a bit. His expression was hard to read, as if he had something very important to say. “Uh, Paul…”
“I have something to discuss with you but…I don’t know if…Well, it concerns your father.”
Paul took on a defensive look before he even realized it was there.
Mr. Theisen put his hands up as if he wanted Paul to relax. “You see, Paul, I think I know your father.”
This passage is in the first third of my book. I wrote it to establish not only some characteristics of these two people but also to establish a sense of suspense about who this Mr. Theisen really is.