"My women kick ass; they don't get their ass kicked!" Collins said.
And her most popular character, Lucky Santangelo, personifies that statement. The world first met Lucky in Collins' 1981 bestselling novel, Chances. Immediately readers responded and couldn't get enough of her. Six more novels were written around the perennial character, and along the way we watched Lucky fall in and out of love, run a movie studio, take Las Vegas by storm, have children, and even commit murder. Now in her 30th book, Confessions of a Wild Child, Collins takes us back to Lucky's teenage years and reveals how she became the woman she is today.
Despite what has been written about Collins and her glamorous lifestyle, she said she is not someone who needs attention. What's also surprising is for a woman who has built a career around words, she doesn't mince hers. Once you engage in a conversation, you feel like you're with your best girlfriend.
Over the years we've spoken numerous times and no topic is ever off limits. This time was no different. One can only imagine what she's writing in her autobiography she's calling Reform School or Hollywood. From her home in Los Angeles, Collins took a break one morning to chat. From the very beginning, it was clear she was ready to have fun.
This book is so different from all of your others. It seems like it's written for younger readers.
I told my publishers that I wanted to do something different because I wanted to go back in time with Lucky. So, I wrote it as a young adult book. When I delivered it they said, "Oh, no, no, no, this has got to be for everyone." But it is different. I mean, you don't have a lot of -- cocks (laughs) Is it too early in the morning to say that?
Not for me.
It's never too early, right? I'm making up for it in the next book. Trust me.
How did you first come up with the name Lucky?
It just came to me one day. I thought, "What is really a strong name for a woman?" Originally I wanted to call Chances Criminal. I thought that would make a great title. Then I thought Hoodlum. My publishers didn't like that. Gino [Lucky's father] named Lucky after Lucky Luciano, one of his idols. It's a strong name for a strong girl, and he wanted a boy so much.
Now since we last spoke you met and were honored with an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by the Queen of England.
Oh, it was such an incredible experience. I arrived in London and immediately came down with the flu. The next morning I made a miraculous recovery. It's amazing -- mind over matter. It was all very grand.
What did you say to the Queen?
She said, "Oh, Miss Collins, I understand you've written many, many books." I was just stunned for a moment and then said, "Yeah, uh, not bad for a school dropout." It shocked her, and there was this awkward silence. Then I said, "I must tell you that you look very beautiful today." She shot out her hand, which I knew was my cue to back off.
Are you obsessed with the royals?
I'm not really much of a royalist, but I thought the award was a fun thing to have.
Of course. So, you weren't on royal baby watch last summer?
No. I was more interested in seeing her [Kate Middleton] vie with Kim [Kardashian] to see who was going to have the baby first. It really drives me mad this whole baby thing, actually. It's like Hollywood in the last five or six years have discovered babies, and they're like the new accessory. "Oh, the baby bump." "Is she going to lose weight after the baby?" Who gives a shit? And then it's "Now she's had the baby; will she have another?" "Is she pregnant?" Who cares?
I want to know your take on Demi Moore dating Sean Friday, who is 24 years younger.
Well, if that's what she likes. I mean, I like a man who can teach me something. I don't want to be teaching them anything. But, whatever turns you on in life. You cannot listen to criticism.
And speaking of women who like younger men, you also helped Cher promote her song "Woman's World" last year. How did that come about?
That was hilarious, and I was kind of tricked into that. This producer I know, who is a good friend of Cher's, called me up and said, "We're going to do this fabulous thing, and it's going to go viral. I'd love for you to be a part of it." He told me that six or seven famous women were going to read Cher's new song, and it would be people like Cyndi Lauper and Kathy Griffin and this one and that one. It sounded fabulous.
But I only saw you.
Exactly! Thank you very much! I said, "Okay, this sounds like fun." So, I went and recorded it, and they asked me if I would do the whole song because they were going to edit it thoroughly with the others. I did a dramatic reading, kind of tongue and cheek. Then the next thing I know -- there I am by myself and it's all over the place!
How did they explain that?
I couldn't get any information other than, "Yours was so great that we decided to go with that." Obviously they couldn't get anyone else to do it. I was the idiot who did it! But it was fun.
It was hilarious and so campy. When you hear you reading it you realize how repetitive the song really is.
Oh, my -- It's a woman's world. It's woman's world. It's a woman's world! I thought, "How many fucking times do I got to say this!"
And after all your proclaiming, is it really a woman's world?
No, it's a man's world. We all know that. And women have to kick fucking ass to get anything they want.
Would you call yourself a feminist?
I don't use the word feminist, but I think I'm a kick-ass woman. I like discussion. I like talking with people who have something to say.
He was about 19 or 20 when I was about 13. He lived in the apartment above me. Then there was an acrobat who was in a circus. I had a crush on him, too. He was probably 28 or 29.
Older men who can teach you something! Now, Lucky's type is tall, dark and handsome. Is that actually yours?
Yes. I know it's cliché, but I like good looking men. And you do, too.
Well, no one says, "I want an ugly man."
No, but sometimes plain men are better in bed because they have to try harder. It's like beautiful women. Do you think these supermodels are fantastic in bed? And they always say a guy may be fucking the most beautiful woman in the world, but he's always got an eye out for something else.
You know what they say about men--they think with something else.
Exactly! It's not the big head; it's the little head.
You once told me you have a man for every occasion.
I do. I'm very much a loner. I love being alone with my characters. If I'm alone with my characters, I don't need to go out because I'm having more fun with them and seeing what they'll do next. I do have a man for every occasion. If I want to go dancing. If I want to have an escort. If I want to have a booty call---I do have a nice selection. I do have fabulous gay friends. My gay friends are my best friends.
What do you think of The Bachelor TV show?
Those women are desperate and needy. I mean, so are the men when they do The Bachelorette. I think it's hysterical. What do they do in the Fantasy Room? Do they get laid or do they not get laid?
I don't know. Were you ever desperate to find a man?
Hmmm ... This makes me curious about your relationship with Marlon Brando when you were 15.
It's going to be in Reform School or Hollywood. There is a story.
Before I let you go, can you tell us anything about your next novel, The Santangelos, which will include Lucky.
There is going to be an epic death. It will be one of the family. There's going to be a murder and an arrest. Then Max [Lucky's daughter] is going to become the new "It" girl of Europe.
"Confessions of a Wild Child" is available Feb. 4. Look for "The Lucky Santangelo Cookbook" coming in April. For more information, visit http://jackiecollins.com/
Author photo by: Greg Gorman