Mary Higgins Clark Interview: On writing and memory

Most writers can only dream about Mary Higgins Clark’s success. Dubbed the “Queen of Suspense,” Clark is a bestselling author in both the United States and Europe. Best known for mystery and suspense, she’s one of those gifted people that can keep a reader turning pages until 4 in the morning.

I chatted with her on behalf of the Observer Tribune this week. We talked about her new book, “Daddy Goes a Hunting,” and her writing process. She’s coming to Mendham Books on Sunday, April 14 to hold a book signing.

For Clark, the most important thing about writing is the “DNA of the book,” or the overriding theme.

The DNA of “Daddy Goes A Hunting” is memory, she said — and just how unreliable it can be. As the murder mystery plot unravels, it’s clear that past memories recalled by the main character are not as trustworthy as she once assumed.

Hamming it up in Denville

Surrounded by antennas, wires and other equipment, the members of Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service in Denville are the tech gurus in town. They are ham radio hobbyists, some of them building equipment in their spare time, setting up a maze of antennas on their cars or in their backyards.

For these guys, radio offers an unparalleled challenge.

Some of them are proud of the long-distance calls they’ve made, holding interesting conversations with people in Germany, Brazil, and Australia with only a low power radio bumping off the Beacon Hill repeater in Denville.– still others love the problem-solving process of building a radio inside a tuna can or empty Altoids box.

While many assume that ham radio operators are part of a bygone era (we like to think of1940s-era military guys shouting into boxes on Normandy beach), the hobby is actually alive and well in the U.S., with over 400,000 operators currently in existence. Learn more about ham radio in my Citizen story this week.