Carla Gray, the executive director of marketing at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, died unexpectedly earlier this week. She was 52.

Gray grew up in Washington, Conn., attended Trinity College, and lived in the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain. She spent 20 years with HMH, initially joining the publisher as a telephone sales representative after working as a bookseller in various stores around New England.

"The world has lost a great champion of the written word, a tireless advocate for authors, and a dear friend of booksellers across the country," said Bruce Nichols, senior v-p and publisher of HMH. "HMH has lost a beloved colleague of 20 years. We will miss Carla every day."

Gray is survived by her mother, Helen Gray.