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At 91, Mary Higgins Clark pens #MeToo book ‘Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry’

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.

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“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.”

Mary Higgins Clark in a pink room: Author Mary Higgins Clark

© Bernard Vidal
Author Mary Higgins Clark

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!”

a close up of a book: "Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry"

© Simon & Schuster
“Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry”

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.”

Recent allegations that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted and harassed women for years have come to light, ushering in a cataclysmic career downfall for him and many more. See the following cultural power players who have been accused of improper behavior.

Morgan Freeman, 80, an Oscar-winning actor was accused of sexual harassment, unwanted touching and other inappropriate behavior by eight people, according to a CNN investigation published May 24, 2018. The report details an alleged pattern of making unwanted advances on women while he was on movie sets and at other events. Freeman denied the accusations.

R. Kelly, 51, a singer, has been accused of sexual abuse, sexual coercion and physical violence by multiple accusers, who have come forward in the past year, alleging that the singer committed acts of sexual coercion and physical abuse. A 2017 Buzzfeed story reported that Kelly rented homes in Atlanta and Chicago for groups of women who allegedly perform sexual favors for him. He has denied the allegations.

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