Interview with Jackie Collins

Posted by Goodreads on September 18, 2008

It's been 40 years since Jackie Collins' first bestseller, The World is Full of Married Men, gave readers an insider's view of an extravagant Hollywood lifestyle. After writing 23 New York Times bestsellers, Collins shows no signs of slowing down and has just published her latest novel, Married Lovers. True to form, she serves up her signature dish of saucy heroines and delectable men, along with generous helpings of money, sex, and scandal. Collins talked with Goodreads about her long career, life in Hollywood, and what she's writing next.

Goodreads: Many of your fans probably picture you traveling in luxury on private planes, but right now you are touring America in a bus! How is life on the road treating you?

Jackie Collins: I love how life on the road feels. My tour bus is incredible, with a queen-size bed, several large-screen TVs, and all other luxuries. It's a blast!

GR: You describe Cameron Paradise, the heroine of your new novel, Married Lovers, as "five feet, eight inches tall, with a well-toned body, flawless skin, high cheekbones, and dirty blond hair worn short and spiky, with long bangs that drifted sexily above her pale green eyes." Certainly a physical ideal, even a fantasy. Off the page in real life, what makes a woman sexy?

JC: Attitude! A self-confident look at life and a well put-together appearance. Also a sense of humor, long legs, and a feeling she can do anything!

GR: Your first novel, The World is Full of Married Men, was published in 1968 and was promptly banned in several countries because of its sexual content. Not many authors, let alone female authors, were writing about sex at that time. How did this early controversy influence you?

JC: It made me stronger. It made me more determined to succeed. It made me want to prove that women can achieve plenty, and as a school dropout at 15, it was a real challenge to ignore the criticism and keep writing.

GR: Your books often spoof the lives of the rich and famous. So what happens when you actually interact with the rich and famous at dinner parties and events in Hollywood? Are they scared to talk to you, knowing you'll immortalize their stories in the pages of your next novel?

JC: Ah...but I change their names to protect the not so innocent! My readers love playing the guessing game, and it's fun for them to try to identify the real-life characters I write about.

GR: Married Lovers is your 26th novel, and almost all of your novels have been bestsellers. What is the secret to longevity in publishing?

JC: I write what I want, not what editors and publishers tell me to do. I walk my own path, and it seems to have worked out for me. Twenty-six books is quite an achievement, and I plan to write 26 more!

GR: Did you always want to be a writer? When did you start crafting stories?

JC: I started writing when I was eight years old, and I sold stories to my classmates at school! I have a passion for creating characters that my readers fortunately seem to fall in love with. Lucky Santangelo, about whom I have written six books and three miniseries, is a classic example.

GR: Do you have a favorite scene or pair of lovers among your many stories and characters?

JC: Too many to name! But my readers inform me on my website,, that I can never separate Lucky Santangelo and Lennie Golden.

GR: Do you have plans to continue either of your two series with heroines Lucky Santangelo or Madison Castelli? If so, can you share any details?

JC: I will certainly write another Lucky book, possibly in 2009. It will be called Goddess of Vengeance, and I will also be writing another book about Madison called Heat. She has such an interesting family to explore.

GR: You've mentioned that you write longhand! Is this still true? Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you stick to a schedule? Do you have any unusual writing habits?

JC: Yes, I still write in longhand; it gives me a real connection to my characters. My schedule is tough. I lock myself away from 8:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon. The easier you make it look, the more difficult it is, but I love what I do.

GR: What are you reading now? What are some of your favorite books and authors?

JC: The Godfather by Mario Puzo is one of my favorite books, along with The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. And I am a huge Charles Dickens fan. I'm not reading anything at the moment because I am too busy promoting Married Lovers.

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