NEW YORK — Simon & Schuster celebrated the 25th anniversary of its first book contract with Mary Higgins Clark Thursday by presenting the suspense diva with a $64 million gift.
On Thursday, the house inked a deal with Clark, valued at $15 million for each of four new suspense novels and $4 million for a memoir, each to appear in hardcover from S&S, in paperback from Pocket and in audio format from S&S Audio. Though the advance hinges on certain contingencies, including delivery dates for each manuscript, the total sum represents one of the most expensive book deals since publishing entered the age of e-commerce.
Prior to a gala anniversary party Thursday night, S&S prexy Jack Romanos called the 68-year-old Clark “the first lady of Simon & Schuster.” Few could dispute that title as an advance look at the May 7 New York Times bestseller lists revealed that Clark’s new hardcover, “Before I Say Goodbye” and her new mass market paperback, “We’ll Meet Again,” occupied the No. 1 in each format.
Screenplays for two of Clark’s novels, “Loves Music, Loves to Dance” and “Pretend You Don’t See Her,” both optioned by the USA Network, have recently been completed, but neither picture has been greenlit.
Clark was repped by Eugene Winick and Sam Pinkus of McIntosh & Otis, who negotiated the deal with S&S trade division prexy Carolyn K. Reidy.