#RespectYourElders: As one of the best-selling suspense authors in the United States for more than four decades, Mary Higgins Clark continues to produce new works today. Higgins Clark (born 1927) published her most recent novel in April.
Higgins Clark began writing an early age, composing poems or short plays to act out with her friends. She worked as a secretary, copy editor and Pan Am flight attendant before settling down with her husband and starting a family. After her husband passed away in 1964, she began writing short stories and radio scripts to support her family before eventually trying her hand at novels. When her first novel, “Aspire to the Heavens” — a fictionalized account of George Washington’s life — didn’t sell well, Higgins Clark decided to try out writing suspenseful stories. This proved to be a success: she’s since sold more than 80 million copies of her 51 books in the U.S. alone.
While she was writing novels, Higgins Clark also had a lot more on her plate. To provide a good example for her five children, she entered Fordham University at age 41 in 1971 and graduated summa cum laude eight years later. During this time, Higgins Clark also found time to publish her first best-seller, “Where Are the Children?”, in 1974.
Higgins Clark has also been commended for her work in Europe, where she’s been honored several times. In France, she was named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 2002. In the U.S., she’s received the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Spirit of Achievement Award, the National Arts Club‘s Gold Medal in Education and the Christopher Life Achievement Award. She also was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in 2011, and holds honorary doctorate degrees from eighteen universities.
Higgins Clark has been so successful in her genre that Simon & Schuster, her publisher, named an award in her honor. The Mary Higgins Clark Award is given out by the Mystery Writers of America to exceptional suspense fiction authors.
Since the 1980s, Higgins Clark has turned around roughly one novel a year, and she shows no signs of slowing down. Her most recent novel, “I’ve Got My Eyes On You,” was published in April 2018 and topped the U.S. best-sellers list.
Have you read any of Higgins Clark’s books? What are your favorites?