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.
#1: Jason meets Amy
The air was stale, like the old attic at his nan’s house. Beneath his feet, the carpet was dusty and covered in what looked like wood chippings. The hallway opened out to the left to reveal the living room, with decent furniture gone bad, dirty and worn.
“Hello?” Jason ventured farther into the flat and tried to get his heart rate down. And then he saw her.
The first impression he had was of metal—three flatscreen monitors, surrounded by computer towers and metal boxes, two keyboards, and wires taped haphazardly to the marked grey walls. Before this shrine to technology, a young woman sat in a high-backed office chair, typing on one of the keyboards. She was slight, drowning in loose casual clothes that had seen better days. Her hair was long, thick with grease and tied in a rough ponytail, and her skin was sallow, as if she hadn’t seen the sun or a steak for several weeks. She was also steadfastly ignoring him.
“So…um…where do you want me to start?” Jason said with as much cheer as he could muster. Her fingers never slowed on the keys, typing faster than he could keep up with, adding to the random words strung together with symbols on her computer screen. “Hello? Can you hear me?”
“Do what you like.” The voice was barely audible, a cracked whisper that only just reached him over the clacking keys. She sounded rusty, as if she only spoke twice a week, and he decided he was unlikely to get any further conversation out of her. No wonder her sister was in Australia.
Let's Learn a Little About Rosie Claverton:
What is your writing environment?
When I have a stretch of dedicated writing time, I like to sit at my bureau with my laptop and hammer away at the keys. But most of my writing time is stolen between the demands of my day job, so I get used to carrying my index cards and my tablet on the train and working most anywhere. I actually find the train one of my most productive writing places because of the lack of distractions.
Who is your perfect hero and why?
I love a hero who achieves great things despite great personal difficulties. My favourite has to be Lincoln Rhyme from The Bone Collector by Jeffrey Deaver. Despite his quadriplegia, he uses his knowledge of New York City and forensics to excel with his mind where his body fails him. I also like Dido Kent, creation of Anna Dean. A Georgian spinster limited by her family's prospects and her unmarried status, she lets her boundless curiosity and thirst for knowledge take her where the boundaries of society won't let her pass in person. In a similar way, Amy Lane uses her command of technology to take her to places that her crippling anxiety won't let her experience in reality.
What authors have caught your interest lately and why?
My TBR pile is constantly threatening to topple over, so I'm always behind the times! My last read was The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith and I've recently discovered Ngaio Marsh, whose name should always be mentioned alongside Agatha Christie's.
What type of book have you always wanted to write?
I've always loved mysteries, but mostly because I can never guess whodunit! Therefore writing my own surprise ending was a considerable challenge. My early love was science fiction and fantasy, with my late teens consumed by historical fiction. I guess I would therefore be happiest with an historical fantastical mystery, which is something I've been tinkering with for a while now. The trouble with a book that you've always wanted to write is that the stakes are twice as high, and I really don't want to let myself down.
Top 3 things on your bucket list?
I was lucky to tick off my top choice this year when I finally visited Rome in March. I studied Classical Civilisations at college and I've always been passionate about all things ancient. Remaining on the list would be Cairo and a Nile Cruise, particularly to see Abu Simbel and to visit the Taj Mahal and the source of the Ganges. However, my dream item is to see one of my novels billboarded on the London Underground.
How did you get the idea for this particular novel?
I was playing around with possible ideas for NaNoWriMo 2011 and this one bubbled up to meet me. Usually, when I write, plot comes first and then I discover the most interesting characters to take that journey. But Binary Witness was different in that Amy came first – I wanted to tell the story of this trapped woman who never felt freer than when she was at her computer, with purpose. Jason was the perfect person for her to challenge her, with his own rough edges requiring dedication and to find his way. I am fascinated by identity and how we forge that for ourselves, and these were two characters in need of definition in their lives.
What is your favorite scene in your new release?
It's so difficult to pick just one! I think it has to when Jason and the police are hunting down the killer in a hospital – the University Hospital of Wales, to be exact! – trying to reach his target before he does. I used to work in that hospital and it was great turning all that benign personal knowledge into hiding places, back entrances, hostile healthcare workers. I hope my glee at the keyboard turns into tension on the page.
What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be available?
I am working on the sequel to Binary Witness, which will be available from Carina Press in September 2014. It's called Code Runner – Jason is framed for the murder of a gang runner and Amy throws everything into proving his innocence. But when his prison transport is broken open and the guards murdered, Jason is alone in the Welsh Valleys, on the run from the police, the gangs, and the mastermind behind Jason's downfall. Amy must hold her fragile mind together while fighting to find Jason and clear his name. I am awful to Jason in these books. I would say I'm sorry for it, but that would be lie – I do love putting the boy through the ringer!
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love reading, of course, though I don't get to enjoy it as much as I would like. I avidly devour crime TV shows, my favourite of which is Castle (which is not just about my crush on Nathan Fillion!). I also love cooking and, more importantly, eating and I'm currently experimenting with Mexican and East Asian cuisine.
What would you consider a perfect date?
A three-course meal of vegetarian specialities with a bottle of red wine, followed by a night at the theatre – another of my passions! To reduce my husband's complaining, we'd go for a comedy play over a musical.
What is one interesting fact about you that readers don’t know?
When I was university, I took up pole dancing and I was quite good at it. I reached Advanced Level but I had to give it up when I moved away from Cardiff. The pole is still in pieces in my room at my parents' house.
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.
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/binarywitness
Series website: http://amylanemysteries.com
Rosie will be awarding to randomly drawn winners during the tour one of the following items: a "@" pendant, an engraved Floppy Disk Key ring, a Cardiff City Typographic Mug, a £10 Amazon voucher, 3 Binary Witness ebooks.
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning!
Follow the tour HERE