Kitchen Privileges

A Memoir

By Mary Higgins Clark
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9780743206051, 224pp.)

Publication Date: November 19, 2002

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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Description
In her long-awaited memoir, Mary Higgins Clark, America's beloved and bestselling Queen of Suspense, recounts the early experiences that shaped her as a person and influenced her as a writer.

Even as a young girl, growing up in the Bronx, Mary Higgins Clark knew she wanted to be a writer. The gift of storytelling was a part of her Irish ancestry, so it followed naturally that she would later use her sharp eye, keen intelligence, and inquisitive nature to create stories about the people and things she observed.

Along with all Americans, those who lived in New York City's borough of the Bronx suffered during the Depression. So it followed that when Mary's father died, her mother, deciding to open the family home to boarders, placed a discreet sign next to the front door that read, FURNISHED ROOMS. KITCHEN PRIVILEGES. Very shortly the first in a succession of tenants arrived: a couple dodging bankruptcy who moved in with their wild-eyed boxer; a teacher who wept endlessly over her lost love; a deadbeat who tripped over a lamp while trying to sneak out in the middle of the night...

The family's struggle to make ends meet; her days as a scholarship student in an exclusive girls' academy; her after-school employment as a hotel switchboard operator (happily listening in on the guests' conversations); the death of her beloved older brother in World War II; her brief career as a flight attendant for Pan Am (a job taken after a friend who flew with the airline said ever so casually, "God, it was beastly hot in Calcutta"); her marriage to Warren Clark, on whom she'd had a crush for many years; sitting at the kitchen table, writing stories, and finally selling the first one for one hundreddollars (after six years and some forty rejections ) -- all these experiences figure into "Kitchen Privileges," as does her husband's untimely death, which left her a widowed mother of five young children.

Determined to care for her family and to make a career for herself, she went to work writing scripts for a radio show, but in her spare time she began writing novels. Her first, a biographical novel about the life of George Washington titled "Aspire to the Heavens," found a publisher but disappeared without a trace when the publisher folded. (Recently it was rediscovered by a descendant of the Washington family and was reissued under the title "Mount Vernon Love Story.)" The experience, however, gave her the background and the preparation for writing "Where Are the Children?" which went on to become an international bestseller. That novel launched her career and was the first of twenty-seven (and still counting ) bestselling books of suspense.

As Mary Higgins Clark has said when asked if she might consider giving up writing for a life of leisure, "Never To be happy for a year, win the lottery. To be happy for life, love what you do."

In "Kitchen Privileges," she reflects on the joy that her life as a writer has brought her, and shares with readers the love that she has found.




About the Author

Mary Higgins Clark's books are world-wide bestsellers. In the U.S. alone, her books have sold over one hundred million copies.

She is the author of twenty-nine previous suspense novels. Her first book, a biographical novel about George Washington, was re-issued with the title, Mount Vernon Love Story, in June 2002. Her memoir, Kitchen Privileges, was published by Simon & Schuster in November 2002. Her first children's book, Ghost Ship, illustrated by Wendell Minor, was published in April 2007 as a Paula Wiseman Book/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

She is co-author, with her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, of five holiday suspense novels Deck the Halls (2000), He Sees You When You're Sleeping (2001), The Christmas Thief (2004), Santa Cruise (2006), and Dashing through the Snow (2008).

Mary Higgins Clark was chosen by Mystery Writers of America as Grand Master of the 2000 Edgar Awards. An annual Mary Higgins Clark Award sponsored by Simon & Schuster, to be given to authors of suspense fiction writing in the Mary Higgins Clark tradition, was launched by Mystery Writers of America during Edgars week in April 2001. She was the 1987 president of Mystery Writers of America and, for many years, served on their Board of Directors. In May 1988, she was Chairman of the International Crime Congress.

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