Kelly Banaski is a freelance crime writer. She began writing over 20 years ago for magazines and in newspapers and eventually as a crime writer for a newspaper in Manchester, Tennessee.
In the ensuing years, Kelly has written for various nonprofit industries, websites and newspapers. Most notably, for The Woman Condemned, a blog in which she chronicles her interactions with the woman onUnited States death row and other infamous offenders.
Kelly’s childhood and young adult years left a distinct impression on the woman she would come to be. Her stepfather was a notorious local criminal in and out of correctional facilities from the moment he came into her life at 5 years old. With crimes ranging from the uber-violent to exceedingly stupid, there were often times the family would pick up and beat a hasty retreat. As a result, she spent each year in a different school until she was just about to start high school.
Her mother was a consummate narcissistic enabler and Kelly grew up with a certain all-around knowledge that the cops were out to get her and her loved ones. "Prisons make money for the President." her dad said time and again. They were working class stiffs, her mom would explain. They couldn't make it on the regular wages, other people were scraping by on, handed to them by an establishment designed to keep them down. No. Dear old Dad loved them way too much to settle for that. He was supporting his family in the way he knew best.
As she grew up, her personality morphed and meshed and went into survival mode to find a way to make life manageable among the criminal element that was her family, friends and peers. For the most part they were all nice, normal people with a penchant for peril, but she was occasionally creeped out by some of the men her step-dad would have around and kept a running fear that one of them, or someone, would hurt her or her little brother or even her mother. This lifelong, recurring fear served only to draw her closer to the very element that scared her.
Eventually, as she became a nonfiction writer and covered the crime beat in her home town she became familiar with the cops and the criminals. She interviews investigators and lawyers, victims and family and of course- the criminal.
“More often than not I see the many ways the crime could have been prevented, the victims spared and the future a little brighter for everyone. There is always a trigger; a trigger set in place by forces other than that person. I hope the actions I take to understand and humanize our nation's inmates is a step toward reducing recidivism by making the United States more accepting and welcoming of prisoners starting a new life.”
The Woman Condemned blog led her to interviews for a VICE Magazine documentary about women who love serious violent offenders and by JMAC productions for their documentary on prison wives. She has appeared on the popular women's blog Women on the Fence as well as Thriller Writing with Fiona Quinn. You can also see her work in The Serial Killer Anthology Vol II from RJ Parker Publishing in December 2014 and 2015's Shirley Turner= Doctor, Stalker, Murderer. She appeared in an episode of Snapped on ID Channel. Kelly is also a member of the Nonfiction Authors Association.