On a Sunday in May 2012, I had some people round for lunch, among them my friend, the author Lisa Jewell. As we all sat down she told us that she’d just given up on her psychological thriller. She’d written the first chapter, but hadn’t been able to go on from there.
“What happens in the first chapter?” I asked.
“Oh, a boy wakes up and his mother has gone.”
I felt my skin prickling all over.
For the rest of the meal I was only half listening to the conversation, because my brain was racing with the story of the boy and his disappeared mother. That night I didn’t sleep, but watched the plot unfold on the screen on the inside of my forehead. I started writing it all down the next day, and by the middle of the week I’d churned out a good 10,000 words.
And then I thought, “Shit. I’ve stolen Lisa’s idea. Say if she really minds.”
(Continued in Stealing.)