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Mary Theresa Eleanor Higgins Clark Conheeney known professionally as Mary Higgins Clark is an American writer of suspense novels. All her novels have been best-sellers, selling more than 80 million copies as of 2007 in the United States only. She was born in the Bronx, New York on 24 December, 1927 to Irish immigrant Luke Higgins and his wife Nora. She was the middle child with and older brother and a younger one. She became interested in writing since an early age, composing her first poem at the age of seven and often crafting short plays for her friends enact. She also began writing a journal at that time. Her parents ran a pub which eventually had to be shut down by the time Higgins was eleven due to the declining conditions of business during the great depression and the sudden death of Higgins father. Nora Higgins, now an unemployed widow with three children, was forced to move out her daughter of her bedroom so that she could rent it out to paying boarders. Six months after their father's death, Higgins Clark's older brother cut his foot on a piece of metal and contracted severe osteomyelitis. Despite the frightful predictions of the doctors, Joseph Higgins survived. Higgins Clark credits his recovery to the power of their prayers. When Mary graduated from Saint Francis Xavier Grammar School she received a scholarship to continue her education at the Villa Maria Academy, a school run by the nuns of the Congregation de Notre Dame de Montreal. There, the principal and other teachers encouraged her to develop her writing. At sixteen Higgins Clark made her first attempt at publishing her work, sending an entry to True Confessions which was rejected. She worked as a switchboard operator at the Shelton Hotel to help her family pay the bills. She often listened in to the residents' conversations. Despite Mary's contribution to the family finances, the money her mother earned babysitting was not enough, and the family lost their house and moved into a small three-room apartment. When Joseph graduated from high school in 1944, he immediately enlisted in the Navy, both to serve his country during war and to help his mother pay her bills. Six months after his enlistment he contracted spinal meningitis and died. The family received a pension for life as his dependent and her help was no longer needed. Soon after her brother death, Mary graduated from high school and attended Wood Secretarial School on a partial scholarship. After completing her coursework the following year, she accepted a job as the secretary to the head of the creative department in the internal advertising division at RemingtonRand. She enrolled in evening classes to learn more about advertising and promotion. Her talent and her natural beauty were noticed by her boss and others in the company, and her job was expanded to include writing catalog copy alongside future novelist Joseph Heller and to model for the company brochures with an unknown Grace Kelly. After some time, Higgins interest shifted. Although she enjoyed her job, she underwent rigorous interviews to earn a position as a flight attendant (then known as stewardess) for Pan American Airlines, earning less than as a secretary. Most of her time during 1949 was spend aboard Pan Am International flights traveling through Europe, Africa and Asia after which she gave up the profession happily to marry Warren Clark. They married on December 26 , 1949. To occupy herself, she began taking writing courses at NYU and, with some of her classmates, formed a writing workshop in which the members would critique each other's works in progress. The workshop, which persisted for almost forty years, met weekly, and at each meeting two members would have 20 minutes each to present their latest work. The other members would then have three minutes each to offer constructive criticism.
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For her first NYU writing assignment she used her own experiences to write a short story called "Stowaway", about a stewardess who finds a stowaway from Czechoslovakia on her plane. Although her professor offered high praise for the story, Higgins Clark was continually frustrated in her attempt to find a publisher. Finally, in 1956, after six years and forty rejections, Extension Magazine agreed to purchase the story for $100. After selling that first short story, Higgins Clark began regularly finding homes for her works. Through the writer's workshop she met an agent, Patricia Schartle Myrer, who represented Higgins Clark for twenty years until her retirement, and became such a good friend that Higgins Clark named her fifth and last child for her. The couple had five children whom they raised well, encouraging them to get meaningful education and become independent successful individuals, something the parents achieved in due time. In 1959, Warren Clark was diagnosed with severe angina. He suffered three heart attacks within the next five years, each time returning from the hospital in poorer health. After the last heart attack in 1964 they felt that Warren would be unable to work again, so Higgins Clark called a friend who wrote scripts for radio shows to see if there were any job openings. The day that she accepted a job writing the radio segment "Portrait of a Patriot," Warren suffered a fatal heart attack. His mother, who was visiting him at the time, collapsed at his bedside. In one night, Higgins Clark had lost her husband and her mother-in-law. Higgins Clark's initial contract as a radio scriptwriter was to write 65 four-minute programs for the Portrait of a Patriot series. Her work was good enough that she was soon asked to write two other radio series. This experience of fitting an entire sketch into four minutes taught Higgins Clark how to write cleanly and succinctly, traits that are incredibly important to a suspense novel, which must advance the plot with every paragraph. Despite the security offered by her new job, money was tight in the beginning as she strove to raise five children aged five to thirteen alone. For their first Christmas without Warren, Higgins Clark's only gifts to her children were personalized poems describing the things she wished she could have purchased for them. Taking advice of her agent, Higgins began writing her first novel. Aspire to the Heavens a fictionalized account of the relationship between George and Martha Washington was published in 1968. Although the book gave her a small amount of advance, it encouraged her to continue writing novels. Four months after the publication of the novel, Higgins Clark's mother Nora Higgins died. To ensure that her children would not have to struggle financially, Higgins Clark was determined that they should have good educations. To provide a good example she entered Fordham University at Lincoln Center in 1971, graduating summa cum laude in 1979, with a BA in philosophy. Her life changed with her second book, "Where Are the Children?" published in 1975. She decided to follow a formula that has worked so well in many genres write the kind of books you like to read. A recent murder trial in New York involving a young mother accused of killing her kids gave her an idea for a story of a young mother convicted of killing her own children. She set it in Cape Cod, Mass., where Clark still spends part of her summers. When she finished, she dressed in a black and white suit and dropped off the manuscript with her agent. One of the industry's sharpest executives, Phyllis Grann then an editor at Simon & Schuster and later the publisher of Penguin Putnam snapped up the book for $3,000. Three months later, in July 1974, Higgins Clark received word that the paperback rights for the novel had sold for one hundred thousand dollars. For the first time in many years she had no immediate financial worries. Two years after its publication Higgins Clark sold her second suspense novel for $1.5 million. In 1981, she was in Washington D.C the day that President Ronald Reagan was shot. Because she had a press pass she was able to join the media waiting to hear the President's prognosis. Higgins Clark was one of the few people chosen to ask a question.

In 1996, Higgins Clark remarried again to John J. Conheeney and moved to Saddle River, New Jersey. She met her third husband a widowed and retired chairman and CEO with four children, at a St. Patricks Day cocktail party that she threw to celebrate the publication of Moonlight Becomes You. Previously he was married to attorney Richard Ploetz from 1978 to 1986 but the marriage ended in divorce. Mary Higgins Clark is a prolific author. She has written about forty-eight books and some of them were adapted to television. She has also written several Christmas themed mystery novels with her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark. Her books are also number one bestsellers in France, and have earned her the distinction of being named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in France in 2000. She has also been honored in France with the Grand Prix de Littrature Policier (1980) and the Deauville Film Festival Literary Award (1999). Higgins Clark has won numerous awards for her writing and has served as the Chairman of the International Crime Congress in 1988 and was the 1987 president of the Mystery Writers of America. Higgins Clark is a "master plotter" who has the ability to slowly draw out the tension while making the readers think that everyone is guilty. Her novels feature strong, independent young women who find themselves in the midst of a problem that they must solve with their own courage and intelligence. The heroines come across as real people who make sensible decisions, which makes it easier for readers, who sometimes think "that could have happened to me, or to my daughter," to relate to the situations. Many of the books deal with crimes involving children or with telepathy. While Higgins Clark is well aware that many people claiming to be psychics are behaving fraudulently, she believes that she has met people with genuine ESP powers. A psychic Higgins Clark visited just as her second novel, Where Are the Children, was being published in paperback told her that she would become very famous and make a great deal of money. Although at the time she laughed off the prediction, the following week her novel reached the bestseller lists and she sold the movie rights shortly after, launching her career. Clarks charity work is very important. Clarks grandson has Fragile X Syndrome (a major cause of retardation). As Honorary Chairman of FraXa Research, she travels around the country to raise funds for research on medications to treat this disease. The Clarks had five children: Marilyn, Warren, David, Carol and Patricia. Two grew up to be judges, one works in radio, another works in banking and one, Carol Higgins Clark, is a successful suspense novelist and actress, with whom Clark writes a series of Christmas suspense novels. Even nowadays when she is finishing a new novel she spends about 17 hours per day writing and taking notes. Once a year Higgins Clark lectures on a cruise ship, allowing her to travel and to do some writing in a more novel location. She loves going out to parties and spending times with her family. Her novels have incorporated a number of topics that often spark controversy in real life: parapsychology, fertility clinics, medical experiments, capital punishment, multiple personalities and identity stealing.

Fiction

1968 - Aspire to the Heavens (reissued in 2000 as Mount Vernon Love Story) 1975 - Where Are The Children? 1977 - A Stranger is Watching 1980 - The Cradle Will Fall 1982 - A Cry in the Night 1984 - Stillwatch 1987 - Weep No More, My Lady 1989 - While My Pretty One Sleeps 1989 - The Anastasia Syndrome and Other Stories 1990 - Voices in the Coal Bin (Short story that is only available as an audio book) 1991 - Loves Music, Loves to Dance 1992 - All Around the Town 1992 - Lucky Day (Audiobook) 1993 - I'll Be Seeing You 1993 - Death on the Cape and Other Stories 1993 - Mother (With Amy Tan and Maya Angelou) 1993 - Milk Run and Stowaway (Short stories) 1994 - Remember Me 1994 - The Lottery Winner and Other Stories 1995 - Let Me Call You Sweetheart 1995 - Silent Night 1995 - Pretend You Don't See Her

1996 - Moonlight Becomes You 1996 - My Gal Sunday: Harry and Sunday Stories 1997 - The Plot Thickens 1998 - You Belong to Me 1998 - All Through The Night 1999 - We'll Meet Again 2000 - Before I Say Good-Bye 2000 - Deck the Halls (with Carol Higgins Clark) 2000 - Mount Vernon Love Story 2000 - The Night Awakens 2001 - On The Street Where You Live 2001 - He Sees You When You're Sleeping (with Carol Higgins Clark) 2001 - Kitchen Privileges, A Memoir 2002 - Daddy's Little Girl 2003 - The Second Time Around 2004 - Nighttime Is My Time 2004 - The Christmas Thief (with Carol Higgins Clark) 2005 - Where are the Children? 2005 - The Classic Clark Collection 2005 - No Place Like Home 2006 - The Night Collection 2006 - Two Little Girls in Blue

2006 - Santa Cruise: A Holiday Mystery at Sea (with Carol Higgins Clark) 2007 - I Heard That Song Before 2007 - Ghost Ship 2008 - Where are You Now? 2008 - Dashing Through the Snow

2010 - The Shadow of Your Smile 2009 -Just Take My Heart 2011 - The Magical Christmas Horse 2011 - I'll Walk Alone 2012 - The Lost Years 2013 - Daddys Gone Hunting

Non-Fiction
1993 - Mother Salut (with Amy Tam and Maya Angelou) 2001 - Kitchen Privileges, A Memoir'

Movie adaptations
1982 - A Stranger Is Watching 1986 - Where Are The Children? 2002 - We'll Meet Again 2002 - Lucky Day 2002 - All Around The Town.

Television adaptations
1983 The Cradle Will Fall 1987 Stillwatch 1992 Weep No More, My Lady 1992 Double Vision 1992 A Cry in the Night (starring daughter Carol Higgins Clark) 1992 Terror Stalks the Class Reunion 1995 Remember Me (Clark appears as the character Mary) 1997 Let Me Call You Sweetheart 1997 While My Pretty One Sleeps (Clark appears as the character Mary) 1998 Moonlight Becomes You 2001 You Belong to Me 2001 Loves Music, Loves to Dance 2002 He Sees You When You're Sleeping (directed by David Winning) 2002 Pretend You Don't See Her

2002 Lucky Day 2002 Haven't We Met Before? 2002 All Around The Town 2002 We'll Meet Again

2003 A Crime of Passion 2004 I'll Be Seeing You 2004 Before I Say Good-Bye 2004 Try to Remember

Where Are the Children? Is the second novel written by Mary Higgins Clark and the first that achieved a great success and launched her career as a mystery writer. It was published in the United States in 1975 and became a world-wide bestseller. The story was inspired by a famous criminal case that took place in New York of a beautiful young woman that was accused and found guilty of the murder of her two young children (a girl and a boy). Because of technicalities she served a short time in prison, married her wealthy boyfriend, and, maybe, lived happily. In her book Mary reversed the situation writing about an innocent young mother who is convicted of the death of her two children, gets out of prison because key witness has left the country. Seven years later, we know Nancy has moved to a new city and has changed her identity. She has started a new life and has married again. She had two beautiful children, and the terrible pain has begun to heal...until the morning when she looked in the back yard for her little boy and girl, found only one red mitten, and knew that the nightmare was beginning again...

Daddys Gone A Hunting Is the new novel of Mary Higgins Clark, the Queen of Suspense. A dark secret from a familys past threatens the lives of two sisters, Kate and Hannah Connelly. Kate and Hannah Connelly are no strangers to tragedy. Twenty-eight years ago, a boating accident killed their mother and uncle and injured their father. They were raised by their father, who owned the family antiques furniture reproduction plant and museum, but as the sisters reached adulthood and thrived as independent career women, their fathers personal life and business ventures spiraled out of control. Tragedy revisits the Connelly sisters when Kate makes a clandestine visit to her fathers business at 4:30 a.m. and is caught in a fiery explosion that lands her in a coma and kills a retired worker. Kate quickly becomes the prime suspect of attempted arson at her fathers floundering business. As the story unfolds, additional layers, clues, and twists emerge that hint that the destruction of the furniture plant is much more than an open-andshut fire-starting case.

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