Born in Cuckfield, West Sussex, Casey Kelleher is somebody who's always loved the world of crime fiction, falling in love with the texts of Martina Cole. Working as a beauty therapist and bringing up her three children with her husband Casey, she found the time to pen her debut novel Rotten to the Core, finding success that meant she could give up the day job and focus on writing full time.
Since that point, she's published a string of titles including Rise and Fall, Heartless, Bad Blood, The Taken, The Promise, The Betrayed, and The Broken, and today (August 7), she's published her brand new novel, The Forgotten.
1. How I got into writing
I’ve always been a bookworm but it was actually my granddad who inspired me to write. In his nineties, he bought himself a laptop with the intentions of teaching himself how to use it, and also to write his life story. Sadly, he never got to finish his story and after his passing I decided that instead of just secretly wondering if it was possible for me to write a novel, I was just going to go for it. It was now or never. I was working as beauty therapist at the time, and my boys were younger so life was busy but I set some time aside every few days to get some words down and a year later, in 2011 I had completed my first novel, my debut Rotten to the Core.
2. My biggest writing inspiration
Ever since I can remember I’ve always loved books. The very first story I ever fell in love with was The Little Match Girl – by Hans Christian Andersen. I was only five years old and I still remember making my mum read it to me over and over again. As I grew older, I left the fairytales behind me and devoured books such as The Famous Five and Nancy Drew. Gradually moving on to authors Danielle Steel, and Virginia Andrews. Until one day, in my late teens I discovered Martina Cole.
Her writing style was so different to anything else I’d ever read. The grit, the shock factor, the dark, murky undertone of the criminal world. That was it for me. I had found the genre that I really love and my all time most favourite author.
3. Why crime thrillers? Whats the appeal?
My books do cover some pretty disturbing storylines, and whilst most of my readers enjoy my books, I know that some readers do find some of the subject matters difficult to read. Especially if there are children or animals affected. But the issues I write about do happen, they are out there. I like to focus on how a crime can effect not only the victim, but their entire family. How tough and resilient people can be when they have no other choice. With every dark, murky tale, there is always a survivor: a strong person who battles through and that is what I love the most about crime thrillers and they are the characters that I champion when writing.
4. Which book did I enjoy writing the most?
This is where I should say yes, my newest release, The Forgotten. Go and buy it!
I've really enjoyed writing all of my books but I think the one that really stands out to me is The Taken. I did so much research for the storyline, really delving into my main character Lena's harrowing plight, that I actually got really attached to her. She had a really tough time in that story. I also love how it all came together in the end. How so many characters and so many different strands all connected up. It kept my readers guessing.
5. My writing process
I try to stick to a daily word count of 1500. Though I have been known to do more than that when approaching my deadline. I think the most i've done in a day was almost 4000. I like to try and write in short, sharp bursts but I have a terrible habit of going over what I've written and editing the text as I go along. Which slows me down. I don't plot out an awful lot of the outline before I begin, though I usually have a couple of characters in my head and the main idea of the storyline already mapped out in my mind. I know some authors plot out every last detail, but that wouldn't work for me. I like the element of wondering where my characters are going. The idea that anything could happen.
If there's a deadline looming then suddenly I'll want to clean my oven or something equally as mind-numbing that I never, ever want to do. Anything so that I can delay the writing process just that little bit longer. I think it's how I deal with the pressure.
My biggest distractions on a normal day are social media, and Netflix. It's all there to tempt me away from my laptop and a lot of times it wins. So I have to be really strict and really focused.
Repeat after me 'I will not watch ten episodes of The Real Housewives this morning. I will not...'
7. What I do when I'm not writing
I love spending time with my friends and family. Walking my two little dogs at the beach. Watching trashy TV. And I've just started going to a bootcamp class which i'm really loving. I think exercise is so important not just for physical well-being but for your mental well-being too. Especially for writers. It can feel very solitary if you don't get out and connect with people. Also, it's helping me shift my 'writers bum!'
8. What has been the best part of my writing journey so far?
There's so many things that I love about being an author but I think that the thing that I really love is connecting with so many like-minded people. Readers, book bloggers and other authors. It's like a whole secret world. All the amazing book festivals, the book clubs and launch parties. It's just lovely to be surrounded by people who love books as much as I do.
9. My advice for aspiring writers?
Since being published, I've had so many people come to me for advice on how to write their own book. As any writer knows the hardest part is making a start. The dreaded blank page. So my advice to them is always, “Just write!” Make a start. Write anything. And keep writing whenever you can, as much as you can. Persevere and it will all come together.
10. Can you tell us what you are working on next?
I'm already writing my 10th book. This one is a little different to my others. I don't want to say too much yet, as it's very early days, but I wanted to try and go in a slightly different direction with this one. Especially as it's my 10th book. It feel's a bit like a milestone. I'm excited to see how this one will come together and more importantly how my readers will receive it. One thing that I'm determined to do is make sure that every one of my books feels very different from the rest.
The more people you love, the more you have to lose…
Nancy Byrne might be the head of the notorious Byrne crime family, but she’s determined to give her little daughter, Scarlett, the best start possible.
After the death of her beloved father, the notorious gangster Jimmy Byrne, nothing’s stopping Nancy from making money on her own terms – even if she has to combine motherhood with providing for her entire family. But with enemies at their door, she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her loved ones.
But then comes the day when Scarlett goes missing, snatched by a stranger during a trip to the local park, and Nancy’s world is torn apart. Amidst the terror of losing her precious daughter, Nancy is sure of only two things. Someone has taken her daughter … and when she finds them, there’s going to be hell to pay.
Can she find Scarlett – before it’s too late? Or will Nancy’s life of crime come back to haunt her in the worst way possible?
A gritty and hard-hitting thriller packed with shocking twists… Fans of Martina Cole and Kimberly Chambers won’t be able to put this down.
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