Monday, June 19, 2017

Mary Higgins Clark: Solving a Mystery by Jacqueline Seewald

Solving the mystery behind the longevity of Mary Higgins Clark as a bestselling mystery writer fascinates me. Whether you are a mystery reader or not, I’m certain you’re familiar with her name. Ms. Clark has written 52 published books, quite an accomplishment in itself.

I have met Mary Higgins Clark on three separate occasions. Each time she warmly welcomed her readers, took time to talk to each of us individually, and was genuinely friendly. A great way to build a readership for any author!

I recently read an interesting interview with the author in our Bergen County newspaper—Clark lives in Saddle River, New Jersey. She was asked what inspired her creativity. She answered that at one time she went to trials but is now too well-known to sit in a courtroom. She does, however, follow true crime stories and accounts of current trials; although she doesn’t copy them directly in her writing. At the age of ninety, she is still inquisitive.

When asked how many hours a day she spends writing, Clark responded that she aims for five hours each day. This is telling. If we learn anything from her response it’s that writers need to spend time on their craft, writing and rewriting. Clark says she edits and re-edits her own work constantly.

During the interview, Clark observed that she reads the emails she receives and appreciates that people are nice enough to write and be complimentary. She dictates  responses to her assistant believing that she owes her readers a thank you.

The interviewer asked a very important question: Is there one piece of advice you would give an aspiring writer? Clark’s answer was meaningful: Write. She goes on to explain that would-be writers shouldn’t make excuses not to write. If you really want to write then you have to find the time to do it. She suggests to older people that they write a memoir. Her own is what interests her grandchildren the most.

I admire and respect Mary Higgins Clark because she has created a successful style of mystery writing which strongly appeals to readers. She did not come from a privileged background. Her accomplishments are uniquely her own.

I know several writers who have been influenced by her style and technique. Thinking about it, I would say that my last romantic suspense mystery, THE INHERITANCE, shows her influence.

Your thoughts and comments most welcome.