By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – “Empathy” is the second mystery novel written and self-published by Hudson resident Gloria Goostray, formerly of Marlborough. It's available in paperback and Kindle editions at Amazon.com. Meanwhile, some local readers are getting autographed copies at the Hudson-Concord Elks Lodge 959, where the author attends the weekly bingo.
Goostray has been gladly accepting book orders and delivering them to her bingo buddies the following week.
“It makes me feel like a celebrity,” she said. “A lot of people bought copies. I could hardly carry the bag of books with me. They'se a great group at the Elks.”
Book purchases have also been made at the Hudson Senior Center, where she frequents.
“I like going to the Senior Center to find out what's going on around town,” she said.
Prior to writing, Goostray was a professional artist for 31 years, which began shortly after taking art classes in Marlborough.
“I went to the art class only to accompany my friend, whose husband wouldn's let her drive by herself at night,” she explained.
Her dabbling in art became a profession when her acrylic paintings of seagulls were sold at a gift shop at East Sandwich Beach, where she and her husband had a cottage. Later, her artwork impressed the shop buyer at the Mass Audubon in Lincoln.
“She said, “If you can paint birds, we'se in business,”” Goostray relayed. “I was in the Mass Audubon catalogues for 15 years. Then I did 9,600 chickadee switch plates for the Christmas catalogue of the National Audubon.”
Her artwork was also sold at gift shops nationwide.
She and her husband moved from Marlborough to Quincy, where he originally lived. When he developed Parkinson's disease, they relocated to a senior living complex. After he passed away, she joined a creative writing class.
“I got hooked on writing,” she said.
Goostray collaborated with other students on the story for her first book, “Deleted.” She soon learned that collaborating on a mystery can result in lots of drama.
“A lady wrote a chapter and I killed her character off, and then she didn's speak to me for three months,” Goostray said. “I felt bad because I liked the lady, so I decided to rewrite it. I had the character get shot in the head and get amnesia. She still didn's go for it.”
Around that time, Goostray moved back to Marlborough and then to Hudson. She and three students from the writing class met monthly until they completed and self-published “Deleted.” Goostray found the process of collaborating a challenge, but she values the advice of the class instructor.
“The first chapter in any book is the most important because a person gets hooked and then they want to read it,” she said.
Even before readers get to the first chapter of “Empathy,” its essence is depicted on the book cover.
“On the cover is my Waterford glass with my scotch and ice cubes, my daughter's knife, and fake blood,” Goostray said, explaining the photo taken at her home.
“Empathy” tells the story of a young woman, Lucinda, who spirals into a life of juvenile delinquency and serves time in jail. The author wants readers to become empathetic toward the character.
“Lucinda has a devious mind, yet she's a very nice lady,” she said. “She didn's have a good beginning because her parents were both killed in a car accident. She wanted to better herself.”
Goostray hopes to write another mystery novel, but still needs to sleep on story ideas.
“Every night I go to bed and I think about what I could write next,” she said.