The Reilly Family is all set to celebrate Nora’s birthday when a phone call changes everything.  Soon, Regan Reilly is on a New Jersey Transit Train to Spring Lake with a mission to find the missing woman who is in terrible danger.

"Mobbed" by Carol Higgins Clark is partially set in the Asbury Park-area

That’s the beginning of the latest best-seller from New Jersey mystery writing queen Carol Higgins Clark.

“Mobbed,” set in Asbury Park, Bradley Beach, Avon, Spring Lake, Bay Head and more meshes everything you’ll love from our area – from our restaurants and music venues to the celebrities that stop by to the “mobs of yard sale junkies” – and of course… mystery with the potential for murder!

I spoke with Carol, daughter of Mary Higgins Clark, about her new book and memories of the Jersey Shore.

Carol Higgins Clark

TBP:  Your mysteries take place all over New Jersey.  Why Spring Lake and Asbury Park for “Mobbed”?

Carol:  I chose the Jersey Shore as the setting for “Mobbed” because I grew up in New Jersey and I’ve vacationed “down the shore” since I was a child.

My grandmother was the head of a womens’ organization that had their conventions in Atlantic City. I remember being there with our whole family at a beautiful old hotel when I was about four or five years old.

Another summer we rented a house in Surf City on Long Beach Island and I have fond memories of spending a week with a friend’s family in Seaside Park when I was about to start high school.

My mother has owned a home in Spring Lake for more than ten years now.  Last year, when I was starting “Mobbed,” I decided that my character Regan Reilly’s parents should also have a home in that lovely town.

TBP:  And you write so lovingly and engagingly about Asbury Park.

Carol:  I’ve been to Asbury Park many times.  When I was a child I loved it when we’d take a ride down from our home in northern New Jersey and spend the day on the beach there.

At night we’d head over to the amusement park, straight to the bumper cars!  They were so much fun.  It had been a long time since I’d been back but in the last couple of years I’ve been there more often.  My mother and I were on the “Joan Hamburg Show” when she broadcast from Asbury Park a few years ago (2008).  I also attended the Garden State Film Festival there recently.

It’s great to see Asbury Park coming back in such great style.

TBP:  In 2005, when I told my friend Dale that I was moving here, the first thing she did was give me two of your mom’s paperbacks.  There are a lot of talented aspiring authors in this area.  What advice did your mom give you about writing that may help someone else?

Carol:  My mother taught me a lot about writing but the first thing she said was to get the story down.  Don’t be afraid.  You can edit later.  The hardest part is getting started but just do it.

She also tells other aspiring writers to take a writing class in order to get feedback.  Read the kind of books or stories you’d like to write and study them.

Most of all, don’t be discouraged.  It took her six years and forty rejection slips before she sold her first short story.

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“Mobbed” by Carol Higgins Clark is available in bookstores everywhere, online and as an eBook.