Michelle Ray loves teaching, reading and humanities at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring.
And she loves story time with her husband and two daughters, ages 6 and 9. Ray is quick to tell you she's a teacher and mom. But author?
“it took me a very long time to say I'm a writer it took until I got a book contract, actually, to say it,” she says.
With the release of her first book "Falling for Hamlet" this summer, Ray became a published writer, which is a dream come true.
“I would walk through bookstores and I would dream of having a book there,” she says. “And the school library when we would have guest authors I would think please, please let that be me someday and I can't believe it happened!”
"Falling for Hamlet" is a modern re-telling of Hamlet from Ophelia's point of view. In August, the New York Times said "there is much for modern girls to love in "Falling for Hamlet."
The biggest difference in this new story is that Ophelia doesn't die. Ray says she wanted to show teen girls a strong female protagonist.
“I didn't understand why she killed herself,” she says. “So I thought what if she didn't die, ahhhh what if she didn't die?! And before I got to the subway I had a story going.”
Ray says her book was rejected about 25 times. But she stuck with it.
She would love it to be a best-selling author like J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer. But for now, Ray just hopes to live out her dream and teach her daughters some lessons along the way.
“I hope they're learning that if you have a dream and you work really hard don't give up on it and I hope they see that hard work does pay off,” she says.
Ray says Falling for Hamlet is marketed for teen girls but she gets emails from a lot of adults who like it too. She is already working on her next novel, another Shakespeare re-telling.