Since I was a young teenager, I've had the fantasy of being a thief. Dressed head to toe in black, hair braided back and hidden under a knitted cap. I'd be picking locks and climbing into second floor windows to prowl around, steal some gorgeous jewels, maybe steal a kiss and a heated embrace with some handsome, dastardly man I encountered. I recall a number of lunch-breaks through my high school years that comprised of trying to teach myself how to pick locks. Aside from some very angry lectures from teachers when I was caught, all I actually learned was that it's actually a whole lot more difficult than you read about in books. I never did master that skill, something I plan (one day) to rectify.
Times have changed since then, of course. Sure, there's still plenty of thieves around, and the romantic jewel thief is a character still locked firmly away in my head. But a set of lock picks, a soft tread and the cover of darkness is no longer the only required skills to be successful. Everything is far more technologically based nowadays. And I've come to accept the fact that the hacker is forming itself into the newer version of the old burglar.
Quick keystrokes, massaging of coding, knowing all the secrets, the back doors, the hidden gems - is how today's burglars really need to work. We all know that anything put on the internet never really goes away, and we all know that there are plenty of hidden caches just waiting to be discovered and brought into the light. It was this sort of thief, this modern day burglar that helped fuel my imagination when I sat down to write Knight Takes Queen.
Jane spends her time defending those secrets, in making sure security around The Agency remains locked down tightly. This technological world changes constantly, and one needs to be brave and incredibly intelligent to stay on top of it. I loved some of the research I did into it - and found a very deep well of respect for those who struggle daily in this fight. We still have need for our other warriors, those who have physical skills, and those who fight for our freedoms legally, but sometimes I feel our technological warriors get a bit of a bad reputation. On TV, in books, all around our computer experts are all various flavours of the same character. Nerdy glasses, hours spent locked up away from the "real" action and sunshine, pocket protectors and terrible social skills. The clichés surrounding our coding heroes can be endless.
So I wanted to blow all that out of the water with Jane. Sure, she's intelligent and she's absolutely no sultry femme fatale. But I love her sass, her hunger to follow her online research out into the real world. And there's no way she'd let Peter head off out alone, not when it's her coding and her security that's been breached. Jane might be a computer nerd, but she definitely doesn't conform to many of the usual standards in place and that made me so excited to learn more about her.
I never forget how lucky I am to write, that I can hammer out my stories and allow the people in my head to have their voices on paper, that I can share these adventures with others. I loved delving into the world of hackers, of coding and technology and wading my way through Jane and Peter's adventure. I might not be the jewel thief of my dreams. I certainly haven't the talent or patience to be a hacker extraordinaire and bring injustices to light. But I definitely have the next best thing - I have characters like Jane and Peter, and I can share their story and other adventures. And that's pretty cool.