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Famous Authors Books Review: Mary Higgins Clark


Mary Higgins Clark, the "queen of suspense"  and the author whose phenomenal blockbusters have  sold more than 25 million copies in the U.S.

Mary Higgins Clark is America's best-selling suspense writer. Born and raised in New York, M.H. Clark is of Irish descent."The Irish are, by nature storytellers," says Clark. She considers her Irish heritage an important influence on her writing, noting that the Irish are, by nature, storytellers. Mary's father died when she was ten and and her mother struggled to bring up Mary and her two brothers. After graduating from high school, Mary went to secretarial school, so she could get a job and help her mother with the family finances. After working for three years in an advertising agency, she became a stewardess on international flights and saw the world. "My run was Europe, Africa and Asia," Mary recalls. "I was in a revolution in Syria and on the last flight into Czechoslovakia before the Iron Curtain went down. I flew for a year and then got married." After a year of traveling, she was married a neighbor Warren Clark, she had known him since she was 16. Soon after her marriage she began writing short stories. She sold her first short story to Extension Magazine in 1956 for $100, after 6 years and forty rejection slips. "I framed that first letter of acceptance," she recalls.

In 1964, Clark's husband died of a heart attack, leaving her with five children to support. She went to work writing radio scripts and, in addition, decided to write books. Every morning, she got up at 5 a.m. and wrote until 7 a.m. when she helped her children get ready for school. Her first book was a biographical novel about the life of George Washington was not a success."It was remaindered as it came off the press," she says of her first try. Next, she decided to write a suspense novel, "Where Are the Children?",  which became a bestseller and marked a turning point in her life and career.

After years she had put all her energies into her children's education Clark decided to take the time to do the things she always wanted to do. In 1974, she entered Fordham University at Lincoln Center and graduated summa cum laude in 1979 with a B.A. in Philosophy. In May 1988, Mary Higins Clark returned to her alma mater as commencement speaker. She is a trustee of Fordham University and a member of the Board of Regents at St. Peter's College. She is an active member of the Literacy Volunteers. M.H. Clark has nine honorary doctorates and many awards.

Mary Higgins Clark has received "The Woman of Achievement": award from the Federation of Woman's Clubs in New Jersey, the 1992 "Irish Woman of the Year" award from the Irish-American Heritage and Cultural Week Committee of the Board of Education of the City of New York, the 1993 Gold Medal of Honor from the American-Irish Historical Society and in 1994, the Spirit of Achievement Award from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and the National Arts Club inaugural Gold Medal in Education.


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