As the affable, hirsute gamekeeper leads us to the front door of JK Rowling’s Scottish mansion, we have only a little time to take in the palatial surroundings before the author herself opens the door and beckons us inside.
CT: Thank you for welcoming us to your home.
JKR: It’s lovely to have you here.
CT: So, tell us, Joanne, what is it that has tempted you to return to EFL teaching?
JKR: It was just last week when the idea struck me. I’d just put the finishing touches to the fifth book in my Cormoran Strike series and sent it off to the editor. I’d been having a bath to celebrate and, just as I pulled out the plug so that the champagne could drain away and stepped out onto the heated marble floor, I thought to myself, why am I here doing this when I could be cutting little bits of paper up using a blunt guillotine or deciding how to grade a Libyan businessman’s IELTS writing?
CT: Wow. I mean some of our readers will no doubt be surprised, but there have been rumours that you returned to the school where you taught in Portugal and begged the DOS to give you your job back-
As our reporter speaks, Rowling takes a HB pencil and holds it to her temple. As she takes it away, we notice a string of something ethereal following the tip of the pencil. She dunks the pencil in a cup of tea and suddenly we’re back in Portugal.
A kindly yet wizened old face peers out at a younger Jacqueline from behind a pair of half-moon spectacles. She leans over to him with a venomous look on her face.
“Fine! I don’t really need this TEFL job anyway, but I warn you that I have created seven evil lesson plans which I have secreted throughout the syllabuses, and you will not truly be rid of my until you have found them!
Suddenly, we are back in the luxury of Rowling’s Scottish mansion in the present day.
CT: So it’s true!
JKR: Yes, but it’s taken me a very long time to figure out how to do it!
JKR: The students will find out at the beginning of the year that they will be getting a new teacher, Robert Galbraith. They’ll be told that this guy’s had a motorbike accident and that’s why his head’s all bandaged up. Only at the end of the year will he take the bandages off and reveal me, stuck to the back of his head!
CT: Couldn’t you just apply for a job at another school?
JKR: And then nothing will stand between me and my ambition to cover the present perfect aspect using substitution drills!