Meet Casey Kelleher author of No Fear

Today's Thriller Women interviewee is prolific crime thriller author Casey Kelleher. Her most recent novel No Fear was published in paperback in October 2021.

The ebook of No Fear is available from Amazon and at the time of publishing this blog post it's free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. Buy the paperback from all good booksellers or from our Thriller Women list at NB: if you buy books through this link we may earn a commission from, whose fees support independent bookshops.

So where does Casey find her ideas from, which books does she read to wind down, and how did she manage to publish three books this year?

TW: Casey, your books are often described as ‘gritty’ with an element of realism to them. Why did you choose to write thrillers and what interests you about the genre?

CK: I write what I love to read, and for me I really do find the darker side of life interesting. Getting inside the minds of people who commit all kinds of crimes and more importantly I like to focus on the victims of the crimes. The survivors. I want to my readers to experience the good and the bad and all the elements in-between.

TW: You’ve published a huge number of novels. How challenging do you find it coming up with new ideas to keep your writing fresh? How do you start planning a new novel?

CK: I’m really lucky that usually, by the time I come to the end of one of my books, another idea for the next book has already started to form in my mind. Often, it’s more of a character that I'll start thinking about. A seed of an idea around their situation or predicament and I'll go from there. Building the story around them as I go. 

I work really hard at keeping each story as fresh and different from the last one as possible. I mostly write gangland/gritty thrillers. But I’ve recently published my first psychological thriller called Mine, and my latest books have more of a police procedural vibe about them. Lucy Murphy is police officer working on a really rough estate in London. All I had when I first started writing the series was a little girl who witnessed her mother’s murder. The story just grew from there. Lucy became a woman seeking justice not only for her mother, but for other victims of crime too.

TW: What inspired you to become a writer and how did you land your first publishing deal?

CK: I was inspired by my grandad, who in his 90s bought himself a laptop with the intention to write his life story. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to finish his story, but that’s exactly what inspired me to start mine. I wondered if the saying was true – that we all have a book inside of us. I also felt that I should do it now, start right away, rather than saying that I’ll do it one day, because you never know when the chance will be taken from you.

I self-published my debut crime thriller Rotten to the Core and very quickly found myself in the Amazon bestseller charts. I met a fantastic editor at a book launch I was attending for a fellow author. The editor informed me that she’d spotted my book doing well in the charts and showed interest in me submitting my next book to her and her publishers, which I did. And soon after, they signed me up. I’ve since gone on to publish 12 books in total.

TW: Of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favourite, and if so, why?

CK: That’s almost like having to pick your favourite child, isn’t it! If I had to pick one, I’d go with The Taken. It’s a very dark, heavy story about a woman called Lena who is trafficked from Albania, along with her daughter Roza. I did a lot of research on her home life back in Albania, as well as her journey across Europe and her time spent at The Jungle migrant camp in France. Lena’s story wasn’t an easy one and I got very attached to her.

TW: When and where do you write?

CW: I write during the day mostly. I have a lovely office that is all set up with special eye-level Mac stand that helps to improve posture and relieve shoulder pain. Only, a lot of the time I end up writing from my bedroom. It’s much cosier space and my dogs end up sleeping at my feet while I write. And after this crazy year, and having my sons move back home for various reasons, I’ve now been evicted from my office and it’s being used as a bedroom once again.

TW: What aspect of being an author have you found most challenging?

CW: For a long time, after I first self-published I suffered with imposter syndrome. I think because I self-published my first three books, I still needed that validation of having an agent and a publisher behind me to give me the reassurance that I was good enough. It took a long time to feel comfortable in my career and to not take the few negative reviews that all authors receive from time to time, so personally. Which I’m happy to say, I no longer do. I love reading every one of my reviews and am very much on the understanding that reading is so subjective. What one person hates another will love.

I also feel as if I’ve found my place as a writer now too. I feel very lucky to have such loyal, supportive readers. They are who I focus on when I’m writing.

TW: Which thriller authors do you like to read, or do you prefer a different genre to unwind with?

CK: I tend to edge more towards psychological thrillers as my own genre feels too close to feeling almost like work. My favourite book is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I also absolutely loved Room by Emma Donoghue, Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent, Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell and Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land.

TW: What are your worst habits when it comes to writing?

CW: Procrastinating, social media, Netflix, online shopping, meeting up with friends ... everything is a distraction!  Some days I find myself googling villas for sale abroad that are often way out of my price range and in countries that I've yet to even visit. Or worst case, I’ll start doing housework. Then I really know I’m in trouble.

TW: What are your top tips to aspiring authors?

CK: Read everything. I think reading really helps you to shape your own craft. I’ve always been a bookworm and you learn so much from reading another author’s work. I love it when I find a line or a phrase that makes me physically stop and think about the words used. How powerful or poignant some words and phrases can be.

TW: Has COVID-19 affected your day to day life as a writer and how have you found publishing during a pandemic? How is it you have managed to publish three novels in 2020?!

CK: It hasn’t changed my working day too much. I think most writers are slightly more introverted and hibernate away. My sons have moved back home, so other than having a busier, noisier house for the first part of the year, my routine has pretty much the same.

Last year I didn’t release a book. I’d been working hard on my debut psychological thriller Mine – a really dark and twisted book that I loved writing and I decided to release it in January. I was also contracted with my publishers to release the first two books of my gritty new police procedural trilogy the Lucy Murphy series.

Three books in a year sounds a lot (and it really is) but I’ve been working on those books quietly in the background for the past two years. It was a lot of juggling when it came to editing and drafting but I figured that the main work had been done and releasing them all in the same year would work as long as I was willing to do the hours and put in the work.Publish three books in 2020, I mean, what could possibly go wrong? I don’t think any of us could have been prepared for the year we’ve just had, and in some ways, I feel really grateful to have been able to keep so busy.

Quick fire questions:

TW: Your favourite tipple?

CK: Gin and my favourite is (and I’ve tried a few) Tanqueray Sevilla gin with a slice of orange, sprig of thyme and ice. Perfection. 

TW: Your favourite TV programme?

CK: Happy Valley. For me it’s gritty and raw but it’s also very real. Sarah Lancashire is fantastic in the series. The character Tommy Lee Royce made my blood boil so much, there were moments when I was literally shouting at the TV. I also loved When They See Us. Based on true story of the Central Park Five, five young boys who were wrongly accused of rape. That was heart-breaking on so many levels. I’ve yet to watch something that has evoked such strong emotions in me. The cast and director did an amazing job.

TW: The book you would save if your house was burning down?

CK: I would be too busy thinking about my family and my dogs to think about the books.

TW: Your hobbies away from writing?

CK: I love working out, going to the beach, travelling and spending time with my friends and family. I’ve also got a seriously bad addiction to trashy TV.

TW: Your favourite travel destination?

CK: My husband and I were lucky enough to go to the beautiful island of Grenada for our honeymoon and fell in love with the place. On my fortieth birthday last year my husband surprised me by taking me back there once again. Another place that I have fallen in love with is the stunning island of Kefalonia in Greece. We’ve been there many times and we’ve even talked about one day moving there.

TW: Your favourite song?

CK: It changes, often. But at the moment I’m obsessed with and driving everyone around me mad with Dance Monkey by Tones and I.

Thanks Casey! 

More about No Fear:

When DC Lucy Murphy meets Debra, wife of feared drug dealer Gerard Jennings, she sees a young woman in desperate need of help. Brutalised by her husband, Debra is too terrified to tell the police what she knows. But Lucy is determined to bring Gerard down – for Debra’s sake, and for the safety of the Griffin Estate.

Meanwhile, after the death of one of his drug runners, Gerard is under pressure from his bosses to prove he’s still up to the job. Facing threats of violence as well as police interest, Gerard is getting desperate – and desperate men are the most dangerous of all.

As Lucy prepares to go undercover in Gerard’s gang to get the evidence she needs to arrest him, her beloved grandmother Winnie starts acting strangely. She mentions a man visiting her at night in her care home, but that makes no sense – does it?

Any distraction could prove deadly for Lucy and the people she’s trying to protect. But she has backed a vicious man into a corner, and he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants...


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