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Jack Higgins, whose real name is Harry Patterson, is a British writer who became famous in the 1970’s with his novel “The Eagle has landed”.

He left school at 15 and worked in a number of office jobs and in the British army. After his time in the army he started studying again. He later became a teacher and in 1959 he began writing novels. In a newspaper article in 1982 he talked about some of the things he wished he had known or done.

He starts by saying, “I wish I had know someone when I was 18, who was like I am now, an older person with wisdom and knowledge, not academic knowledge, but wisdom and knowledge they had learnt from life and not books.”

As a teenager he was known as “Daft Harry” because of his obsession with becoming a writer. He says, “I had pretensions of becoming a kind of Ernest Hemingway. I wish I had known my limitations but I also wish I’d known that you are capable of anything at 18.”

Jack Higgins was a teenager when being young was a handicap. It was a time when there were no pop singers or bands speaking to and for the young. In those days the emphasis was on getting a safe job. So he started working in a succession of boring clerical jobs. He says, “I wish I hadn’t wasted my energies in so many different directions before I finally got to grips with writing”

Besides his passion for writing he also took up acting. He considered himself a good actor but regrets he never pursued it  saying, “I wish I’d had the guts to try to become an actor.”

However, he continued with his writing and for years earned a modest amount of money. But it was not until 1971 that his first  break came, with a novel called “The Savage Day”. It was about political and social unrest in Northern Ireland.  

But it was not until his 36th book, “The Eagle has landed” that real success came. Before writing the book Jack Higgins took the idea  to his publisher, who said it was one of the worst ideas for a novel he had ever heard. But by now Jack Higgins had learnt to trust his own instincts and says, “I wish I’d known at 18 that other peoples opinions were not as important as I thought they were,”

He has written more than 60 novels and continues writing.

Vocabulario para escuchar inglés:

wish > desear, ojolá.  Para más información sobre wish,  ver la entrada wish.
I wish I had know someone ...
Ojalá hubiera conocido a alguien...

wisdom > sabiduría

daft > tonto

handicap > desventaja

got to grips with (get to grips with) > Llegar a controlar

took up (take up) > empezar a hacer algo
They have taken up pottery. -  Han empezado a hacer cerámica.
When she took up her new job as director cuando empezó a desempeñar sus funciones de directora

regrets (to regret) > arrepentirse de, lamentar

had the guts (to have the guts) > tener las agallas
I wish I’d had the guts to try to become an actor
Ojalá hubiera tenido las agallas para intentar convertirme en un actor
Tuvo las agallas de decirlo, she had the guts to say it.

his first break (first break) > primer exito, primer oportunidad.

social unrest > disturbios

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