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TODAY   |  April 09, 2013

Mary Higgins Clark talks about her 32nd novel

New York Times best-selling author Mary Higgins Clark, 85, tells TODAY’s Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb that she got the idea for her latest novel, “Daddy’s Gone Hunting,” from a friend who kept setting fire to his failed businesses.

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>>> she's the queen of expense, releasing a brand in book every year every year since 1975 .

>> now "the new york times" best-selling author mary higgins clark is out with her 37th suspense novel and 44th book overall. she's such a slouch. it's called "daddy's gone a-hunting." it's great to see you.

>> i'm like a dandylion in spring, i come back.

>> we're sorry that you were sick.

>> it was just a cough.

>> she mentions jimmy o'leary's pub in every single book.

>> this time he has a speaking part.

>> your books are so unique and interesting. but often they come from the headlines, because that's where you get a lot of your inspiration. where did the inspiration for this book come from?

>> this book starts with a family complex , a furniture complex going up in flames. and the oldest daughter, age 30, is in there when it goes up. with a disgruntled employee. and the quick reason why i got the idea for that is, years ago when i worked in new york, there was a restaurant across the street, and it was very successful and we all popped in, and had a quick glass of wine and then ran to the carpool. he built one on long island and it didn't work. so it went up in flames. he built one on the west side and it didn't work. and it went up in flames. and the cops said -- jimmy, next time have a flood.

>> sometimes it's family businesses go up pardon the pun, in flames. for all kinds of reasons.

>> right.

>> so that kind of gave me the idea. but also, if you have someone missing in the family, a 22-year-old girl, musical comedy , breaking in on broadway and disappears. and 28 years later, as the story opens, some things come to light.

>> is every single one of your books, when you put a book out, does it go on the bestsellers list right away?

>> this one is coming out and it will break my heart if it's not number one.

>> it has to be number one.

>> danielle steele must just --

>> danielle does wonderfully well.

>> not like you, not like you.

>> wonderfully, and people say to me, i recognize you. i know who you are. danielle steele .

>> they do? how is your daughter doing?

>> she's great. carol has her own book, coming out little later this year.

>> we'll see her.

>> we love you, you're adorable.

>> next year, the dandylion.

>> all right, baby.

>> coming up tomorrow for the