Higgins Clarks celebrate Mother's Day as best sellers

Sat May 8, 2010 3:44pm EDT
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By Sue Zeidler

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Suspense authors Mary Higgins Clark and her daughter Carol Higgins Clark are set to celebrate Mother's Day in high literary form -- by residing together on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Both women released mystery novels on April 13, with the elder Clark's "The Shadow of Your Smile," ranking No. 6 on the Times' Hardcover Fiction best sellers list on May 7. Her daughter's "Wrecked," the 13th in her series featuring private investigator Regan Reilly, ranked 28th on the same list.

"We like to release our books on the same day so that we can travel together," said the proud mom, 82, the author of 28 previous suspense novels.

The elder Higgins Clark's books have sold over 100 million copies in the U.S. alone, and two have been made into feature films, including "Where are the Children" and "A Stranger is Watching."

Born and raised in the Bronx, Mary Higgins Clark said she always wanted to be a novelist but attended secretarial school and also pursued a brief career as a flight attendant in 1949 for Pan American Airlines until she married Warren Clark in 1950. She explained how that career came to an end.

"You had to quit. You couldn't be married and fly in those days," she told Reuters. "They felt that a married woman had to be home with her husband."

The decision proved to be fortuitous. As soon as she returned from her honeymoon, Higgins Clark decided to take a short story writing course in New York City that "taught her everything" she knows about writing books.

She began writing short stories, selling her first one to Extension Magazine in 1956 for $100. Then her life took a turn when she was left a young widow and mother of five by the death of her husband from a heart attack in 1964.   Continued...

<p>American novelist Mary Higgins Clark poses near the beach as she attends the MIPCOM in Cannes, October 9, 2001. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard</p>