CNN - Jackie Collins - Mar. 23, 1998

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On happy endings ...

288k WAV audio file
900k QuickTime movie

Why Hollywood reads her books ...

288k WAV audio file
928k QuickTime movie


"American Star"
"The Bitch"
"Hollywood Husbands"
"Hollywood Kids"
"Hollywood Wives"
"Lady Boss"
"Love Killers"
"Lovers and Gamblers"
"Rock Star"
"The Stud"
"Vendetta: Lucky's Revenge"
"The World Is Full of Divorced Women"


Collin's book Thrill!


"Lara Ivory stepped carefully toward the camera, managing to appear cool and collected under the crushing weight of a heavy crinolined gown, her slender waist cinched in to an impossible seventeen inches, lush cleavage spilling forth above ..."

Read the first chapter here.

(The first chapter contains profanity that may be offensive to some readers.)

Sex, drugs and Hollywood

Tinseltown stories thrill Jackie Collins

(CNN) -- With 16 titles to her credit, Jackie Collins has sold more than 200 million copies in some 40 countries. "CNN Sunday Morning" anchor Bobbie Battista recently talked to Collins about her newest book and her unique perspective as a Hollywood insider.

BOBBIE BATTISTA: Hi, Jackie, good morning. How are you?

JACKIE COLLINS: I'm fine. How are you, Bobbie?

BATTISTA: I'm fine, thanks.


BATTISTA: You know, it's appropriate, I think, that we talk to you on the weekend before the Oscars. Because so many of your books involve Hollywood and the film industry, of course.

COLLINS: Uh-huh.

BATTISTA: And you kind of like blowing the lid off Hollywood, just a little bit. Don't you?

COLLINS: I really do. You know, I think that actors like reading my books, too. Because they find them very truthful about what actually goes on. Because you get the real truth about Hollywood, not one of the tabloids, and that's kind of interesting for them. They go: "Oh, yeah, you really got that."

But I like my readers to play the guessing game, you know. I don't want to say who the characters are. I want them to guess who the characters are, which is more fun for them.

BATTISTA: That's one of the great things about reading your books, though, is you spend half your time trying to figure out who it is you're either doing a composite of -- or, maybe, it really is that person.

COLLINS: Yeah, it's like that in "Thrill!" I have this gorgeous actress Lara Ivory, and she's so fabulous, and she's kind of intimidating to guys. Because she's 30 and very beautiful, and they are too frightened to go out with her so she cannot get a date.

And then she meets this very street smart guy who's a bit part actor, called Joey Lorenzo. And Joey kind of zooms her in, in a very kind of sexual way, an unusual sexual way. And he kind of captures her heart, and her friends are outraged. They're going: "Who is he?" "What do you know about him?"

And I have this character that runs through the book who is a bad character, and you don't know which of the male characters it is. So it makes people keep reading and keep guessing, which is kind of fun when you're reading a book.

BATTISTA: Does anybody ever get mad at you?

COLLINS: Oh, yeah, I've had people mad at me. I've had women say to me, especially when I brought out a book called "Hollywood Wives." They would come up to me, and they would say: "You wrote about that faded superstar. That's my husband. How did you dare do that?"

And I would say: "Well, you know, there's a lot of fading superstars in Hollywood. And that's not your husband."

That did not placate them. They were still mad at me until the books were very successful, and then they accepted me. And I'm very accepted, and people like telling me the stories. I guess that it's fun for me. Because I'll be sitting at a dinner party, I'll have a producer on one side, and a famous director on the other, and they will be telling me all the stories from the set, the real stories.

BATTISTA: It's flattering to them, too. It's not like, "You'll never eat lunch in this town again."

COLLINS: Exactly. I always disguise the people very well. So when you're reading Lara, and you're reading the drugged-out actor, and you're reading the crazed director, you're not really going to be able to know who it is. So that's the fun of it.

BATTISTA: Speaking of Lara, you almost always center your books about -- around a really strong female character, especially the Lucky Santangelo series.


BATTISTA: Which was one of my favorites. And you...

COLLINS: Well, she's coming back.

BATTISTA: Oh, good.


BATTISTA: I want to talk about that in a minute.

COLLINS: Uh-huh.

BATTISTA: But, really, a woman has to be that strong to survive in the environments that you put them in.

COLLINS: I think so. Yes, and I think the interesting thing about the character of Lara Ivory in "Thrill!" is that she's very nice. She's one of the nicest heroines I've written. But she also has a strength and she also has secrets.

Everybody in the book has secrets, and I think that kind of adds to a person's strength. Because they know what they have in their background that they want to keep underground. But she also is being chased by an obsessed paparazzi, a female paparazzi. This idea came to me one day when I was walking into a premier behind Sharon Stone. And I love Sharon, she's such a huge star and so glamorous and gorgeous. And Sharon is walking in, and I was watching the photographers. There was this one female photographer who was going: "Sharon, Sharon, I took photograph of you last week at that other opening. And here's an envelope for you."

And she was handing Sharon the envelope and one of her publicity people took it, obviously. And Sharon kind of waved and walked on and didn't pay that much attention to any of them because, of course, she smiles and walks on, as all movie stars do.

And this woman was really mad. You could see that she thought to herself: "I'm her friend. Why isn't she being nicer to me? I'm her friend."

So I created this character in my head of Alison Sewell who is in love, absolutely enamored, with Lara Ivory, but thinks she can be her best friend. And when she can't, love turns to hate.

BATTISTA: Some of people, or some critics, in particular, will pan your books, because, basically, they are ... sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

COLLINS: Oh, they always pan sex, don't they?

BATTISTA: ... Yeah. But we read them. Don't we? That's the thing.

COLLINS: Well, you know, I've had some really good reviews on "Thrill!," I must say, to surprise even me. But one reviewer did say: "Jackie Collins manages to get more sex in one sentence than any other writer today." So I thought that was kind of cool. And somebody else called it the best winter beach read. So I liked that, too.

But people are kind of frightened by sex. You know, they're not frightened by violence. We walk into the book store and we see all these books about serial killers and lawyers, and people are reading dark books. My books are fun, and I make sex fun. The sex in my books is a turn on, as opposed to a turn off, as when you read Chapter 27, you will find out in "Thrill!" So ...

BATTISTA: And you usually have a happy ending. Are you a romantic at heart?

COLLINS: I love happy endings. The late Louis Malle called me a raunchy moralist, and that's what I like to be known as. Because it's a great description. One of the things, my biggest critics are the people who have not read my books, they don't realize that it is a story, and its the characters that drive the books, not the sex. The sex happens because it happens in life and I'm writing about life.

Also, I have great married sex in my books, which you don't see too often in books, the wife is always getting a divorce, the husband is always chasing after a hot secretary.


COLLINS: Something is always going on. But I have great married sex, in my books.

BATTISTA: Do you ever feel like writing anything against type? Or against what you've done?

COLLINS: Well, you know, I've written 17 books. And, to me, they've all been very different. There's the Santangelo saga, which is about Lucky Santangelo. And that's four books -- "Lucky," "Chances," "Lady Boss" and "Vendetta," which was last year. Then I wrote a book called "Rock Star," which was about rock stars.

I wrote a book called "Lovers and Gamblers," which is about a plane that crashes in the Brazilian jungle and everybody has to get out, and so it's about survival. I've written about marriage. I've written about relationships, Hollywood. So, to me, all my books are very different. Of course, I write about very attractive people. Maybe it's because those are the people I've mixed with in my life, but I write about people who have everything and people who have nothing. So you're getting a wide spectrum of characters. Also, ethnic characters are always in my books because they are part of life. And my characters range from, you know, 15 years of age to 70. There's something for everybody in them.

BATTISTA: Uh-huh. And it's what we want to read about, to be honest with you, all of those things that you mentioned.

COLLINS: Well...

BATTISTA: Now you just -- you just said a few moments ago that you're working on a new Lucky book.

COLLINS: Yeah, I am. It's called "Dangerous Kiss." And Lucky has a half brother who is a very successful black lawyer, and the two of them are going to Washington and they're going to meet the president. Only I am going to have to make up a president, because the real thing, at the moment, is much too bizarre.


COLLINS: I would be laughed off the page if I wrote what is going on now. I really would.

BATTISTA: So you'll be dipping into the political world...

COLLINS: So I'm doing that, and I'm also writing a serial novel called "L.A. Connections," which is coming out in September. It's going to be a four-part serial novel, original paperbacks, very cheap, so people can kind of get it and go: "Oh, what's going to happen next month?" And that's power, obsession, murder, and revenge, all the good subjects.

BATTISTA: One quick question before you go. We always ask our authors this. What are you reading now?

COLLINS: I am reading Mario Puzo's, "The Godfather," because I read it every year. I read it every year! I just love that book.

BATTISTA: I do too.

COLLINS: I love Sonny. It's such a great book and I can't put it down. I only have time to read a limited amount of books and that's it this year.

BATTISTA: Well, Jackie Collins, thanks so much for taking time out to share with us. We appreciate it.

COLLINS: It was fun. Thank you.


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