Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Rosie Claverton Talks about her Mystery Novel, 'Captcha Thief'

Rosie Claverton is a screenwriter and novelist. She 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, where she lives with her journalist husband and pet hedgehog.
Connect with the author: / @rosieclaverton /                                                           
Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
Captcha Thief is the third novel in The Amy Lane Mysteries, which stars a pair of Cardiff-based crimefighters – agoraphobic hacker Amy Lane and streetwise ex-con Jason Carr. In this book, they're on the trail of a murderer and thief, seeking justice for a dead security guard and hunting down a stolen Impressionist painting. I wanted to write something different than the usual serial killer take, so an art heist seemed like the perfect option to test my detective duo.
Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?
The first two books in the series Binary Witness and Code Runner were published by the digital-first imprint of a large publishing house, but they didn't want to continue publication. Crime Scene Books are a small independent press who were enthusiastic about Amy and Jason's adventures and wanted to see them in print. It was an unusual journey, but I'm pleased with how it's turned out.
How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing the story, or did it come later?
This book has gone through a heap of titles, like its brothers before it. I try to name the series on a theme that merges both technology and crime. It was named Stealth Portrait and Exhibit @, before we finally settled on the the much-improved Captcha Thief.
Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?
I had a lot of ideas about what the cover might look like, trying to consider the art gallery setting and the skulking criminal menace of the previous novels. However, the concept from the artist was completely different to those ideas and yet it really works well for the novel.
Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?
My designer was Mark Hobin and I worked with him via my publisher, who clearly has impeccable taste.
How was your experience working with the designer?
I gave them a lot of information upfront about what kind of themes I thought would work well with the book, and then he ran with it. He focussed on the computer side of the mystery, with the binary code and computer keys surrounding the mysterious criminal figure.
What has been the readers’ response to your cover?
They love how eye-catching it is, particularly the appropriate captcha text style. It immediately tells the reader it's a book about cybercrime, and the vibrancy of the colours feels exciting.
What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?
I was looking for a cover for my Amy Lane short story Car Hacker and my first step was asking my friends who their favourite designer was. That gave me a shortlist of reliable creators who came personally recommended. Make sure you can see a gallery of their work, particularly of books already published so you know authors have invested in their skills.
Anything else you’d like to say about your book?
The cover highlights Captcha Thief's connection to the world of computers, but it's not technical. I deliberately use broad brushstrokes for the hacking, and there's also Jason running around Cardiff with his one terrible password and a passing knowledge of Facebook. It's not all binary, code and captchas!

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