When I was nineteen I stole the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Until I was caught. I had dropped my ring, with its distinctive symbol on it and the police traced it back to me.
Of course, it was a dream. I honestly woke up in a sweat. It had a profound effect on me.
In my mid- teens, I was obsessed with music and would often doodle the names of bands on the back of my rough book during lessons, instead of paying attention to the teacher. I was always labelled a ‘dreamer’ – I would still be today, I am sure. One of the bands was called B-Movie and I always wrote the ‘M’ as a beamed semi-quaver. Over time, I adopted this as my own stamp. In the dream, this was the symbol on the ring. I wrote a song about it the next day and for Christmas that year, my sister made the ring up for me – to remind me not to do anything stupid – like steal the Crown Jewels! I still wear it today and call it my Ring of Conscience.
I incorporated my own story into the book as Jason Chadwick’s story.
The inspiration for the storyline to Ring of Conscience came to me when I was in Las Vegas in October 2006. The kids were growing up into their teens so had their own social circles developing and were obsessed with MySpace and MSN. I found myself missing the ‘old days’ of creating games for them and treasure hunts – something they used to enjoy solving as much as I enjoyed creating.
I was looking out onto the Bellagio fountains and had an idea to set up an online treasure hunt for them instead, which they thoroughly enjoyed. This eventually sparked the idea for writing the book and the mechanics of that hunt I then adapted for scenes in the book including the setting for the heart of the action – Las Vegas.