Mary Higgins Clarke known as "The Queen of Suspense" is one of the current popular suspense genre writer. She has written 40+ English novels.
On contrary to most of the current writers, Mary Higgins Clarke's personal life itself is a self-motivating story for many of us!
Mary Higgins was born on Christmas Eve in 1927. She started her first journal and also composed her first poem at the age of seven.
When she was ten, her family faced severe financial crisis and her father died soon after. Her mother now a widow with three young children was forced to offer shared accommodation in their family home. Later her mother also took up Babysitting jobs to take care of her family.
To help her mother, Mary took up part time jobs like working as switch board operator in Hotel. But still the family couldn't avoid losing their family home.
After finishing her school and working as secretary for some time, Mary took up flight attendant job in Pan America Airlines. After working for a year, she gave up her career to marry her neighbor Warren Clarke. The couple had five children.
After fifteen years of married life, Mary lost her husband to a fatal heart attack in 1964.
Though Mary had been writing short stories and scripts for radio series, even before her husband died, she decided to write her first full length novel named "Aspire to the heavens" based on the suggestion of her agent and friend Patricia Schartle Myrer. Though the book was published, the advance she got for the novel was very meagre.
Then Mary decided to quit her job and start her own company. The family went through a very rough phase during these initial stage of her career. Based on the encouragement of her agent, Mary wrote her first suspense novel "Where are the Children?", which was sold for just $3000.
Three months later, in July 1974, the paperback rights for the novel was sold for one hundred thousand dollars! And for the first time in many years she had no immediate financial worries. "Where Are the Children?" became a bestseller and was favorably reviewed.
Two years after its publication Higgins Clark sold her second suspense novel for a whopping $1.5 million.
1. She is a bestselling author in America and France.
2. She has earned the distinction of being named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in France in 2000.
3. She has also been honored in France with the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière (1980) and the Deauville Film Festival Literary Award (1999)
4. She has won the Horatio Alger Award (1997) and the Passionists' Ethics in Literature Award (2002), as well as the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University Spirit of Achievement Award (1994) and the National Arts Club's Gold Medal in Education (1994).
5. She has been awarded eighteen honorary doctorates, including one from her alma mater, Fordham University.
6. The American-Irish Historical Society granted her the Gold Medal of Honor in 1993, and in 2001 she won the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
7. She has also been named a Bronx Legend (1999).
8. Higgins Clark has served as the Chairman of the International Crime Congress in 1988 and was the 1987 president of the Mystery Writers of America.
9. For many years she also served on the board of directors of the Mystery Writers of America.
10. In the 55th Annual Edgar Allan Poe Awards, Higgins Clark was inducted as a Grand Master.
11. In the highest honor that can be offered to a layperson by the Pope, Higgins Clark has been made a Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, and has also been honored as a Dame of Malta and a Dame of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
12. The Franciscan Friars have given her a Graymoor Award (1999) and she has been awarded a Christopher Life Achievement Award.
13. Higgins Clark also serves as a board member for the Catholic Communal Fund and as a member of the Board of Governors at Hackensack Hospital.
14. Higgins Clark was inducted into Irish America magazine's Irish America Hall of Fame in March 2011.
References - wikipedia.org