Sue Lawley's castaway is writer Jack Higgins.
Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the thriller writer Harry Patterson - otherwise known as Jack Higgins. Harry Patterson grew up in the midst of the violence and disarray of 1940s Belfast and the turmoil he witnessed there has been an enduring influence on his work. He always knew he wanted to become a writer, but he wasn't a promising pupil at school and left without qualifications. He took himself off to evening classes, gained a degree and trained as a teacher - but he spent every spare evening dreaming up plots for thrillers, always hoping that they might earn him 'an extra bob or two'.
A chance encounter with one of his old teachers made him change his style and develop his characters more fully. He took on the pseudonym Jack Higgins and, in his mid-forties, wrote the book that made him a household name: The Eagle Has Landed. He's written more than sixty novels and sold hundreds of millions of books worldwide. He is one of the few British writers to be as successful in America as here and, at the age of 76, is still creating new plots and new characters.
[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]
Favourite track: Let's Face the Music and Dance by Fred Astaire
Book: Complete works by Charles Dickens
Luxury: Mobile phone