The Hippo


May 27, 2020








Meet Amy Ray

Barnes & Noble, 1741 S. Willow St., Manchester: Saturday, Nov. 22, from 2 to 4 p.m., meet and greet with Dan Szczesny
Greenland Women’s Club Craft Fair, Greenland Central School, 70 Post Road, Greenland: Sunday, Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dover Public Library, 73 Locust St., Dover: Monday, Dec. 1, at 6:30 p.m.
RiverRun Bookstore, 142 Fleet St., Portsmouth: Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m.
Water Street Bookstore, 125 Water St., Exeter: Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m.
Nashua Public Library, 2 Court St., Nashua: Thursday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m.
Portsmouth Public Library, 175 Parrott Ave., Portsmouth: Saturday, Dec. 6, at 2 p.m.
Last Stop Christmas Shoppe, Hampshire Inn, 20 Spur Road, Seabrook: Sunday, Dec. 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Plot twists and publishing
Amy Ray on how Dangerous Denial became a book

By Kelly Sennott

 It was after reading Great Expectations during freshman year of high school that Seacoast writer Amy Ray discovered her love of mystery novels. Yes, mystery novels.

“I didn’t foresee this plot twist at the end of the book. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. This is so good.’ I loved the surprise ending,” Ray said in a phone interview.
So in a way, Charles Dickens is partially responsible for Ray’s most recent venture, a debut mystery novel called Dangerous Denial. It was published last spring, and Ray will be attending events promoting the book around New Hampshire this fall and winter.
The book centers around a charity ball in Boston. BK Hartshaw, a rising star at a public relations firm, meets her ex-boyfriend Trevor Mayhew for the first time since their break-up here. Both guard secrets that are in danger of unraveling, particularly as BK’s friend doesn’t show up to the ball and a gunman holds the entire room hostage.
Ray began working on the book back in the ’90s; she even had an agent then whom she hoped would contribute to the book’s publishing. Then her daughter was born.
“Everything gets put on the back burner when you have a baby,” Ray said. “I didn’t do anything with it for quite a long time.”
When her daughter entered high school, she decided to pull it out and work on it again.
“I’m going to be facing the empty nest in a year and a half. I figured I’d better either become a writer and get published, and make a push there, or to figure out something else to do. I knew I needed to distract myself from this empty nest,” Ray said. (And become a writer she did — she recently learned that her children’s book will soon be published too, and her short story will be printed in a New Hampshire anthology called Love Free or Die.)
Even when she wasn’t working on Dangerous Denial, she was keeping up with the industry. She’s been a member of the New Hampshire Writers’ Project since the 1990s, and she regularly attends New Hampshire Writers’ Day and works on the board as secretary.
“Taking workshops through the New Hampshire Writers’ Project really helped me to become a better writer,” Ray said. “From joining the board to the connections I’ve made — I didn’t meet my publishers through the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, but making other writing connections has helped in my being able to promote my book.”
She says New Hampshire has an incredibly supportive community for writers for all stages in their careers. Her favorite local mystery authors are Brendan DuBois and Dan Brown.
“There’s really not that competition you might find in other fields because people read many books. It doesn’t matter if mine gets published and somebody else’s doesn’t. Everybody’s hungry for books,” Ray said.
Ray didn’t study writing; she earned a business degree at UNH, but when it came to snagging a publisher, that came in handy, too. Barking Rain Press requested that submissions include not only a manuscript, but also a marketing plan.
“Normally you’re not asked for that when you submit,” Ray said. “There are just so many books out there. If the author isn’t actively pushing the book and trying to make it known to the public, then the book isn’t going to do well. The publisher wants to make sure you’re willing to put that effort out there.”
Her second mystery novel is written, and she’s currently working on final editing details. 
“This day and age, it’s so hard to get published unless you are persistent and believe in what you’ve written. That’s the only route that will take you to publication. There were many times along the way when I could have given up, but something in me drove me forward,” Ray said. “I think it’s not so much about what I like about writing, it’s just that I have to. The stories are formed in my head, and if I don’t put them down on paper, they’re just going to stay in there, bothering me.” 
As seen in the November 20, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

®2020 Hippo Press. site by wedu