Jack Higgins is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 60 thrillers, including The Eagle Has Landed and The Wolf at the Door. His books have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide. Born Harry Patterson, he grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The political and religious turmoil in Northern Ireland became a significant influence in his books, many of which prominently feature the Irish Republican Army. Before becoming a full-time writer, he had a career as an academic. He now lives in the Channel Islands.
What author has influenced you most?
I could read by age three and read most of the greats by ten. I always scribbled but The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald totally inspired me. It’s still my favorite novel.
What historical events do you draw on when writing?
As an academic with a doctorate, research is second nature to me, but my early life in Belfast was one of perpetual violence. Shooting and bombs were common. I’ve written about the IRA more than any other modern author.
What is your method of researching events/details in your books?
It’s simple these days, put the right names into the computer and the information is there for you.
What news sources do you turn to for current events?
BBC News is tops in my opinion, but I keep up with American TV, too.
Other than The Great Gatsby, which books inspire you?
The Count of Monte Cristo—Alexandre Dumas
One of the greatest swashbuckling stories of all time. This story of a man wrongly imprisoned who escapes, finds the treasure and becomes the mysterious count hell bent on revenge has been filmed many times.
The Day of the Jackal—Frederick Forsyth
The turning point in the modern thriller, almost thirty years ago it was a world sensation with its description of the attempted assassination of General De Gaulle. The combination of genuine historical figures and fiction opened up a whole new world.
A Christmas Carol—Charles Dickens
The greatest novel about Christmas ever written. I read it myself every year as part of the festivities.
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