Skip directly to content

Confessions of an Author : Richard Adams Carey

on Thu, 11/19/2015 - 21:52

By Renee Roy


Richard Adams Carey, past NHWP president and author of “In the Evil Day: Violence Comes to One Small Town,” took a moment out of his busy book-promoting schedule to share insight into his past and how his unanticipated move to New Hampshire led him to write one of the most shocking murder documentaries yet.

Carey, now of Sandwich, grew up in suburbs of Harford, Conn. and enjoyed the great outdoors from an early age.

    “I basically spent my childhood out in the woods or playing games of baseball or touch football,” Carey said. “My family would rent a cottage down at the Connecticut sea shore for some time during the summer and I would spend my time scavenging around the shoreline.”

As much as Carey enjoyed being outdoors, he was also fond of reading and writing.

    “I was read to extensively by my mother, and that’s how I kind of fell in love with the written and spoken word,” Carey said.

As Carey grew older, his passion for writing grew stronger. Not only was he becoming more interested in it, but he was also getting good.  

“The University of Connecticut used to run a play-writing contest for high school students, and the year I entered my play it was one of the three winners,” Carey said. “These plays were then produced by graduate students of the theatre department at UCONN. I got to go there and see my play performed in front of a responsive audience, and that was just a real kick. It was so immediate and visceral to sit there in an audience and be part of that response.”

Carey later found himself following his love for exploring once again as he made his way to Alaska, the inspiration behind his first book Raven’s Children.

    “My wife and I were teaching in Bush, Alaska and spending summers with her parents. They would rent a place for a couple of weeks each summer at Lake Winnipesaukee,” Carey said. “When we had our first child and started needing a place of our own, one day we just went out to get butter and came back with a house. That was a seasonal place for us at first while we taught in Alaska several more years, but eventually it became year round. Living in New Hampshire wasn’t intentional necessarily, but it worked out very well.”

Although Carey’s move to New Hampshire may not have been initially planned, he soon realized that there was a deeper reason behind it.

“There is a definition of happiness, I forget where I caught it from, but it seems to work for me. It is just a list of four things that you need, a roof over your head, work that needs doing, someone to love, and the last one is beauty at your doorstep,” Carey said. “That’s what we have just about everywhere in New Hampshire.”

Along with Carey’s love for New Hampshire’s scenic views, he finds peace in its simplicity.

“Another thing that makes the state congenial to me is its small-town nature. I live in Sandwich, and it’s great to live in a place where community is so strongly defined. Whether it’s because of the town model meeting, or just the geography of the state, each of the towns has to do a lot for itself in the decisions of the community. These towns are made by people not institutions or interest groups, I like that a lot.”

While Carey’s previous books, Raven’s Children, Against the Tide, and Philosopher Fish, were about humanity and nature, his most recent book, In the Evil Day, brings something quite unique to the table.

“This book is front and center about a contest between love and hate in the soul of humanity and the heart of a community,” Carey said.

In August 1997, in the small-town of Columbia, just south of Colebrook, N.H., a horrific event took place that shocked not only the nation, but the world. Carl Drega, a 62-year-old carpenter, had carried on a serious of property right disputes with the selectmen of his town. However, no one expected that these disputes would end with the murder of a selectman, a newspaper editor, and two state troopers.

“When these shootings happened I was by then a veteran resident of Sandwich, and was impressed by how easily something like that could have happened here and how tragic that must be for the community,” Carey said. “I was wondering is there anything redemptive in the story, is there any glint of light in all that darkness.”

Carey decided to write In the Evil Day, not only to shed light on a horrific event but to share the importance of community.

“I learned that in the face of tragedy it’s not just how sustaining a good family can be, but also how sustaining a community with a tight social fabric, such as Colebrook can be,” Carey said. “I went looking in search for glints of light, and I found a great many of them. I learned rather to my surprise how ordinary people when caught in the middle of an extraordinary circumstance like this can respond with surprising measures of courage, grace, and mutual devotion.”

Carey hopes that, from this chilling real-life story, his readers will take an additional important message away,

    “From the very first shot fired that day, Colebrook as a community was not a victim of gun violence, rather they were brave, determined survivors and conducted themselves as such.”

“In the Evil Day” was published by ForeEdge-University Press of New England. It’s available at your local bookstore, as well as through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.