This interview took place in November 2019. Mary Higgins Clark died Friday at age 92.
Even after writing more than 50 books, author Mary Higgins Clark isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
Her latest novel is “Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry,” which is another USA TODAY best-seller. The book follows Gina Kane, a journalist who receives a tip about sexual misconduct allegations at a national news network. What follows is the sort of mystery and intrigue that makes fans flock to her work.
But as much as “Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry” deals with the #MeToo movement, Clark says it’s not making a specific statement about the issue.
“As a writer, I want to create a story about a topic people are interested in and talking about at the time the work is being published,” Clark says in an interview via email. “I also wanted to add an additional element to the MeToo stories that have received so much publicity … The MeToo storyline provided a wealth of plot opportunities.”
Those opportunities include seeing the many angles of alleged sexual misconduct in the workplace from different points of view – and different timelines as well.
Clark chose to break “Kiss the Girls” into the three distinct parts, including a flashback, to help tell the full story. The first part tells of a present-day investigation before switching to the flashback, then moves on to the third and final act of the story.
Clark says the addition of a flashback in the middle of the book was her only choice in telling the story.
“During the editing process I tried interspersing the flashbacks with the present, but I quickly abandoned the idea,” she explains. “Because it was confusing to me, I could only imagine what the reader would have experienced!”
She also chose to tell the story from more than one point of view, switching between Gina and news network counsel Michael Carter. This approach gives the victim in the novel a chance to tell her side of the story. Clark admits she does have a favorite character, saying she has “a particular fondness” for Gina.
She also created a strained relationship for Gina and her boyfriend to build up some vulnerability in the journalist as the story progressed.
“I wanted Gina to increasingly have a feeling of being alone as she set about investigating what had happened at REL News.”
With her latest novel off the presses and in the hands of her fans and over 50 books to her name, why does the 91-year-old Clark keep working?
“I’m a storyteller,” she says. “This is what I do. I can’t imagine what I would do all day if I didn’t write. Honestly, I hope I never find out.”