Claverton, Rosie: Binary Witness
by Rosie Claverton
Police detectives rely on Amy Lane to track the digital debris of their most elusive criminals–when she’s not in the throes of a panic attack. After two students disappear in Cardiff, Amy uncovers photographic evidence that they’ve been murdered. From the safety of her computer, she looks through the city’s digital eyes to trace the steps of a killer.
Amy’s investigation requires footwork, however, and the agoraphobic genius can’t hack it alone. She turns to her newly-hired cleaner, ex-con Jason Carr. Jason is fascinated by both Amy and the work, and can’t refuse even when she sends him into situations that risk returning him to prison.
The killer strikes again and again, and Amy and Jason are the only investigators closing in on him. But Amy’s psyche is cracking under the strain, and Jason’s past is catching up with him. To stop the next murder, they must hold their unconventional partnership together at any cost.
Amy hacks the forum
Bryn flipped open his notebook over his fingers, worn wedding ring outside the shield of soft black leather. His ex-wife must be speaking to him this week. He read out the web address as she typed, and it loaded in seconds.
“Band fan forum. Nu metal.” Generic BB template, basic customization—poor effort. She could’ve knocked together a better site in fifteen minutes.
She could feel Jason leaning over her shoulder and tried to control her urge to tense, to move. He was a big guy, intimidating, a skinhead with old-fashioned tattoos wound around both his arms. But he could’ve been any guy, really. It didn’t take much to spook her.
Out of the corner of her eye, she watched him scan the text, tongue slightly protruding from between pink lips. He scratched absently at a smattering of light brown stubble on his chin—he was probably one of those guys who had a five o’clock shadow at midday. His dark brown eyes flickered across the screen faster than she expected. The educational attainment of the prison population wasn’t exactly renowned.
“Crash and Yearn? They’re more punk pop.”
Bryn looked at him with amusement. “This is what you bring to the table, boy?”
Jason scowled at him. Amy felt like the referee on some bizarre American wrestling show.
“The original post is down,” Amy said, scanning the forum. “Not the ‘dead naked girl’ types. I’ll find the archive—you got that before it went dark?”
Her simple yet thorough methodology for profiling and password trawling involved a lot of social networks and a bit of hacker’s intuition. The old science fiction trope of advanced technology seeming very like magic unfolded before her audience.
It is my pleasure to feature Rosie Claverton, author of Binary Witness, on Room With Books. I know how hectic a book tour can be and want to thank you for agreeing to be interviewed!
Please tell us about Binary Witness and what inspired you to write it?
Binary Witness is about agoraphobic hacker Amy Lane and her reluctant cleaner, streetwise ex-con Jason Carr, who hunt down a serial killer in Cardiff.
I wanted to sink my teeth into a crime novel, because I’d never tried it before, but it was these characters in particular that prompted me to pick up the pen. Amy is a fragile woman with a genius intellect devoted to computers, while Jason is desperate to prove himself after his stint in prison for stealing a car and punching a copper. And my third protagonist, the city of Cardiff, was determined to show off at any and all opportunities. You get to see the best and the worst of the city in this novel, and I’d like readers to get a glimpse of why I love it so much.
When you start writing a new novel, do you outline the story or do your characters dictate what will happen?
In a crime novel, there needs to be a certain amount of planning – who did it, how and why? I also mapped out the victims and the different details that would lead our amateur sleuths to the murderer. However, the number of fights Jason gets into and the tally of Amy’s panic attacks were more of a surprise. They also revealed a lot more of themselves than I was intending, but it was difficult to rein in their confessions. They are two very strong-minded characters!
Do you ever have arguments with your characters and who usually wins?
I usually win – just. If Amy had her way, she would spend her life hiding under the duvet and Jason would probably have fallen back into bad habits. I introduced them to each other and they now keep each other in check. I definitely don’t show any mercy – they are both ruthlessly put through the wringer, mentally and physically.
What is something about you your readers would be surprised to know?
I’m vegetarian, but I have a very strong stomach for gore. I can happily eat dinner in front of CSI. I think my years of whole body dissection at medical school prepared me well for becoming a crime writer.
If you could write with any other author who would it be and why?
I would love to write with Jeffrey Deaver. The Bone Collector and the subsequent Lincoln Rhyme novels are a masterclass in crime writing. But when I say “write with”, I’d just like to sit in a room with him and watch him weave his magic. I think my interference would probably spoil it.
When you were little what did you dream of becoming when you grew up and why?
I always wanted to be a doctor, apart from a brief detour into anthropology and linguistics (thank you, Stargate SG-1). I have a fascination with people and how they’re put together, which is why I’ve wandered into both psychiatry and crime writing. Diseased and criminal minds are both intriguing for different reasons. But it’s the people I enjoy working with the most. In medicine, you see people at their worst – you see humanity exposed. It’s informed my writing hugely. Being a doctor makes me a better writer.
When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?
I’ve always written, from my tall tales at nursery to brooding poetry in secondary school. I started concentrating on my professional writing when I went to university, and more so after I graduated as a doctor. I needed to feed my creative brain when I was being surrounded by science.
What music inspires your writing?
I put together a playlist for every writing project, with some specific playlists for particularly types of scenes – fight scene, angst, all is lost, etc.. Jason’s music taste runs more to classic rock, whereas Amy prefers a nu metal and emo sound. The theme song for Binary Witness, the one I always play to sink into the story world, is “Walk Unafraid” by REM. It speaks to me about knowing you can’t be perfect, but daring to try anyway. It’s also a good writing pep talk!
What is your favorite breakfast? Ooh, tough question! I’m partial to a fried egg sandwich with tomato ketchup, but I also love a pair of hot buttered crumpets with thick slabs of cheddar cheese.
What is your favorite color? I like a bit of turquoise green – it suits me and I have a lot of clothes in that color. My favorite color as a teen was purple and I’m still drawn to it.
What is your favorite movie? It’s a little-known romantic comedy called Latter Days about a gay party animal who falls in love with a Mormon. It broke my heart the first time I watched it and it never fails to move me. It also has a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt in it!
What is your dream car? I would love a car that could drive itself, with perfect inertial dampeners and tea and coffee making facilities. Basically, I want my own personal train.
I appreciate the time you have taken to answer questions and for allowing Room With Books to be a part of your tour!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Rosie Claverton grew up in Devon, daughter to a Sri Lankan father and a Norfolk mother, surrounded by folk mythology and surly sheep. She moved to Cardiff to study Medicine and adopted Wales as her home. Her short film “Dragon Chasers” aired on BBC Wales in autumn 2012. Her debut novel Binary Witness is due for publication by Carina Press in 2014. Currently exiled to London, she lives with her journalist husband and their pet hedgehog.
Social Media Links
Rosie will be awarding to randomly drawn winners during the tour one of the following items:
- an “@” pendant
- an engraved Floppy Disk Key ring
- a Cardiff City Typographic Mug
- a £10 Amazon voucher
- 3 Binary Witness ebooks
I encourage you to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found by clicking on the tour banner below.