Barbara Casey, Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight

Kathryn Kelly: The Moll Behind Machine Gun Kelly is a biography of the woman who made a career of crime. With a lust for danger, she masterminded the crimes that took her and her husband, and others who included her own mother and stepfather, on a spree across Minnesota, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Texas. Starting with smaller crimes that included bootlegging, smuggling liquor onto an Oklahoma Indian reservation, and other petty crimes, she encouraged her husband, George Barnes aka George Kelly, toward a life of more serious criminal activity that eventually escalated into bank robberies, kidnapping and extortion. Many believe that it was Kathryn, after giving him a machine gun, who developed George’s feared persona and the name of Machine Gun Kelly.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was even convinced that the two were somehow connected in the Lindbergh kidnapping. Kathryn and Machine Gun Kelly were eventually captured after kidnapping Charles Urschel, a wealthy Oklahoma City oilman, and collecting a $200,000 ransom the largest ransom ever paid at that time. Eventually, the two were captured in Memphis, where Kelly had grown up as a boy. During their trial in Oklahoma City, movie cameras were allowed into the courtroom for the first time as curious spectators across the nation watched. Kathryn, while claiming to be an innocent victim in a bad marriage, remained unrepentant, smiling and primping for the cameras, and writing threatening letters to the judge and attorneys assigned to the case as well as her victims. Convicted in 1933, Kathryn served twenty-five years of her life sentence at FPC Alderson, West Virginia, when in 1958 she was finally released into obscurity. Although much has been written about Machine Gun Kelly, there is very little known about Kathryn. Through narrative, FBI files, rare quotes from George Kelly’s son and other relatives and associates, extensive research, and several photographs, Kathryn Kelly ¬The Moll behind Machine Gun Kelly is the first book ever written about a woman who chose to follow a life of crime during the Prohibition era.

Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Barbara Casey whose book Kathryn Kelly: The Moll Behind Machine Gun Kelly thrilled me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love true crime but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for Barbara Casey, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Barbara Casey will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Barbara Casey!

Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University, and N.C. Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history.  In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service.  In 1995 she established the Barbara Casey Agency and since that time has represented authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, she became a partner with Strategic Media Books where she is involved in acquisitions and day-to-day operations and oversees book production.

Ms. Casey’s two middle-grade/young adult novels, Leilani Zan and Grandma Jock and Christabelle (James C. Winston Publishing Co., Trade Division) were both nominated for awards of excellence by the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, the National Association of University Women Literary Award and the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award.  Shyla’s Initiative (Crossquarter Publishing Group), a contemporary adult novel (occult romance/mystery), received a 2003 Independent Publisher Book Award and also an award of special literary recognition by the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.  The Coach’s Wife (ArcheBooks Publishing), also a novel for adults (contemporary/mystery), was semi-finalist for the 2005 Dana Award for Outstanding Novel and listed on the Publisher’s Best Seller List.  The House of Kane (ArcheBooks Publishing), released in 2007, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination.  Another contemporary novel for adults, Just Like Family, was released at Christmas 2009 when it received “Special Recognition from the 7-Eleven Corporation,” and The Gospel According to Prissy, also a contemporary novel written for adults, received a 2013 Independent Publishers Book Award for Best Book in Regional Fiction.

Now, how wonderful does Barbara Casey sound?! Barbara Casey is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of Barbara Casey’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and Barbara Casey, I hope that you enjoy Barbara Casey’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!

Thank you for joining us today at Red Headed Book Lover! Please tell us more about yourself.

Thank you for having me.

I started out as the Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at a small college in North Carolina. At that time, I was also doing freelance editorial work—primarily book editing for several of the professors. When I decided to write my own book, I gave myself a year to write it and find a publisher. Eleven months later, my first book was published, and I had a contract for the second book. I have been writing books ever since. In addition, I have continued doing editing, and in 1995 I opened the Barbara Casey Agency, representing authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. Three years ago I became a partner with Strategic Media Books, a small independent traditional publisher of nonfiction/true crime books. So I feel I have pretty much covered all of the bases in the publishing world, but it is the writing that is still my passion.

Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?

Kathryn Kelly: The Moll behind Machine Gun Kelly is something my publisher suggested that I consider writing. Before Kathryn, all of my published books were fiction—either novels for adults or young adults. So this was a new experience for me, and I found that I really enjoyed doing the research. There are no other books published about Kathryn, so I had to do quite a bit of digging in a lot of places, such as old newspapers and books from that time period, and FBI files, trying to read hand-scribbled notes by Director J. Edgar Hoover and others, to be able to piece together her story.  It was an interesting process, and as a result, soon after Kathryn was published, it was optioned for a major film.

What would your advice be for aspiring writers?

It is so important not to get frustrated with rejection letters. Also, it really is important to get your manuscript edited by a professional book editor before you start sending it out. As writers, we are too close to our own work, which makes it easy to overlook mistakes. When submitting your work to a publisher or an agent, you usually only get one shot. So it is crucial that your work be as perfect and polished as you can make it.

 In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book? 

With the broad use of computers today, so many people are writing books and trying to get them published. I would say one of the most important things about a book is its originality. If the subject or theme has been done already, publishers aren’t likely to take an interest. If you have ideas that are fresh and original, however, that will at least open the door for your work to get read.

What is your writing process like?

I have always been a (very early) morning person. That is when I feel my most creative. So I get up between 3:30 and 4 every morning, feed Benton, Reese, and Earl Gray (my hound mix and two kittens who adopted me), and then write at my computer with a cup of coffee for a couple of hours. The rest of my day is pretty much taken up with my agency and the publishing house, but at the end of the day, I will make notes of things I want to include in the manuscript I am writing, or make a list of possible research to follow up on.

Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?

I am definitely a person who thrives in a routine. I am very protective of those early-morning hours that are for my own writing. By the same token, I make sure nothing interferes with what I need to get done during the day for my agency clients and for Strategic Media Books. That is what works best for me in order to accomplish everything I want to in a single day.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

My agency receives between 20 and 25 queries and/or full manuscripts each week, and I read them all. Then there is a lot of reading I do for the research of my own books—both fiction and nonfiction. That doesn’t leave me much time for my personal pleasure reading, but when I do, I tend to gravitate to some of the older British and American mystery writers.

Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?

Thank you for asking. One of my writing projects over the last four years has been a young adult mystery series called The F.I.G. Mystery Series. It is about three girls who are orphans, all three geniuses, and who have developed coping mechanisms that give them special talents. The first three books are published—The Cadence of Gypsies, The Wish Rider, and The Clock Flower. There will be one more book to complete the series, which I am working on now. It should be released in the spring/summer of 2019. I have to add, of all the characters I have written about in my novels, I will really hate to say goodbye to these three “FIGs.”

In addition, I am working on another nonfiction book for adults and am gathering researching for it now. I hope to have it ready for the publisher within the next three months.

Aimee, thank you again for hosting me and for your interest in my work—I loved answering your questions. I have enjoyed visiting with you and your readers, and I wish you all my best.


Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Barbara Casey! If you have liked what you have read about Barbara Casey and are interested in learning more about Barbara Casey and reading Barbara Casey work, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.

Goodbye for now book lovers,

Kathryn Kelly: The Moll Behind Machine Gun Kelly: Amazon U.S. – Amazon U.K. – Goodreads

Barbara Casey: Website – Barnes & Noble


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