Melissa Hill has Crime in Mind | Magazine | Crime | Interviews

By Sarah Downey

So who is Casey Hill?

Meilssa Hill is one of the brightest stars of contemporary Irish woman’s fiction with an impressive number of bestselling novels to her name.  Casey Hill, on the other hand, is a brand new name on the writing block.  Sarah Downey caught up with Melissa Hill and found out about her first foray into the dark world of crime fiction, and who exactly Casey Hill is… 

Melissa’s ascent to the top of the bestseller lists, started early on with her love of reading and penning short stories, “I was one of those weirdoes at school who actually looked forward to going home and writing the English essay!”  She always wanted to come up with the kind of stories that she herself liked reading, “I particularly enjoy novels in which there are underlying mysteries to be solved and are full of shocks and surprises, so I used these aspects in my books right from the beginning.” This has earned her the title of ‘Queen of the big plot twist’, with Melissa leaving her legions of fans guessing right to the final pages of every book.

“Readers tell me they love the twists and are continuously trying to guess them, meaning that with each subsequent book I have to try to double and triple bluff. This requires considerable mental gymnastics.” She’s also very conscious of mixing it up and aims to never write the same book twice.  Her novels have dealt with issues such as memory loss while always combining the traits of a page-turning thriller with mystery, humor and romance, “I try to do something different with each one.”

Melissa’s latest novel is certainly something very different for the Dublin native, the first book in an all new crime series set in the capital city.  “The idea for Taboo had been knocking around inside my head for years; a serial killer who uses society’s most despicable acts as a means of torturing people.” She originally began writing it a few years back but became so incredibly busy she never got the chance to get back to it. “It was more of a pet project rather than a conscious decision for me to move into another genre.”

Melissa’s husband, Kevin, loved what she’d written and kept encouraging her to finish it off.  Working in the property business that has been so badly hit by the Irish downturn, Kevin found himself with time on his hands, and as Melissa says, “He decided he’d grasp the nettle and do it himself. He had some amazing ideas, which immediately got me re-interested, and more importantly knew exactly how to finish it. We had great fun switching back and forth between us until the manuscript was ready.” Melissa’s agent fell in love with the book too and a two book deal was later signed with Simon & Schuster. And Casey Hill was born, Melissa and Kevin’s pen-name.

Taboo introduces a new heroine to audiences, Irish-American forensic investigator, Reilly Steel, “Reilly has Irish roots (her father is Irish) so we wanted to give her a name that reflected this.  Her surname Steel denotes strength and reliability and also has a slightly clinical slant, perfect for a forensic investigator.”

The story follows Reilly as she makes the move from California to Dublin to head up the Irish Garda Forensic Unit and keep an eye on her father, who’s haunted by a family tragedy and turning to drink. Meanwhile, a twisted serial killer is on the loose around the city, a savage murderer who chillingly knows more about Reilly and her family than should be possible.

Avid Melissa Hill readers can rest assured though, she won’t be neglecting her bestselling women’s fiction novels.  2011 looks set to be an insanely busy year for Melissa- with the publication of Taboo and the paperback of The Truth About You in Ireland and the UK, followed by her new novel Something From Tiffany’s in May.  “In between all that Kevin and I will be writing the next Casey Hill book and I’ll also be working on my eleventh novel.”

“They say when you find a job you love you never work a day in your life again, and this is especially true of writing.”


About the author

(c) Sarah Downey for

Melissa Hill has been translated into sixteen different languages including French, German, Czech, Finnish, Latvian, and Spanish.  Melissa Hill is represented by literary agent Sheila Crowley at Curtis Brown, London  Born in Tipperary, she currently lives in South Dublin with her husband, Kevin and baby daughter.

Melissa’s books include: Not What You Think (2005), Never Say Never (2006), All Because Of You (2007),The Last To Know (2008), Wishful Thinking (2008),  Before I Forget (2009),  Please Forgive Me (2009) and The Truth About You (2011).

Casey Hill is the author of Taboo.


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