Monday, March 27, 2006

Pro-File: Mary Higgins Clark

Ed here: Mary Higgins Clark is not only a brilliant suspense novelist and an international bestseller but also one of the nicest, most decent people I've ever worked with. I believe she was in Mystery Scene eight times over the eighteen years when I was editing it. And she always made it a pleasure. I've taught mystery fiction six times and I always lead off with Where Are The Children? It is one of the true classics of the mystery field and students are always astounded when they see how carefully and cunningly the book was structured and written. They suddenly understnd just how difficult it is to wrte a novel of that stature.

Pro-File: Marty Higgins Clark

QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FOR ED GORMAN



1. My current novel, Two Little Girls in Blue, is a story of identical twins, Kathy
and Kelly, who are kidnapped on their third birthday. After paying the ransom
Kelly is returned – Kathy is believed to be dead. At the Mass of the Angels,
Kelly tugs on her mother’s hand and says, “Kathy wants to come home now.
She is scared of the lady.” Only the mother believes that the twins are
communicating and begins a frantic search for her missing child. I’m happy
to say that Publishers Weekly says, “Clark at her best in this chilling tale of
kidnapping, murder, and telepathy.”

2. The title of the next book I am working on is, I Heard That Song Before. It’s
about a young landscape architect who marries the widowed owner of the
estate where her father has worked as a gardener. But a childhood memory
of being in that house puts her in the crosshairs of the killer.

3. There is a wonderful old saying, ”If you want to be happy for a year, win the
lottery. To be happy for a lifetime, love what you do.” I love writing. I would
write even if no one ever read what I did, but to also have been successful,
is obviously very gratifying.

4. My Irish Catholic guilt is that the volume of mail I receive is so heavy and no
sooner do I sigh with relief because I caught up with it, that an avalanche
more arrives and the guilt starts all over as I don’t get to it.

5. My advice is to tell a good story. Isaac Singer said, “I do not care how
eloquent your phrases, how polished your prose, unless you are a storyteller,
you are not a writer.”

6. I think there are many great mystery writers who in their day were enormously
popular but are not readily available in bookstores. I am sure that sometime
in the future, I will be among them.

7. My first novel, Where Are the Children, was bought by Simon & Schuster.
I thought I had died and gone to heaven. They paid $3,000 and it could have
been $3,000,000. I wrote in my journal, “I have sold to Simon & Schuster.”
I leaned on my pen so hard, I tore the page.

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