Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Staying in touch

Yet another success: Apart from selling millions of her books worldwide, Jackie Collins was honoured last year in November with an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) from Queen Elizabeth II. — AFP

Yet another success: Apart from selling millions of her books worldwide, Jackie Collins was honoured last year in November with an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) from Queen Elizabeth II. — AFP

Jackie Collins is still Wild and still steamy.

AUTHOR Jackie Collins still has the steam engine chugging. Her newest novel, Confessions Of A Wild Child, released two weeks ago, is a prequel to the Lucky Santangelo books and centres on the treasured heroine during her formative teen years – the book has already landed a film deal with Amber Entertainment.

The 76-year-old scribe talks about finally getting into character and staying clued-up.

Confessions Of A Wild Child is the seventh book to feature the character Lucky Santangelo.

I wanted to take her back in time and navigate her path through boys, rock ’n’ roll, drugs, how she handled it all. And what was weird was, I found that as I was writing it in the first person as a 15-, 16-year-old, that there was a lot of me in it.

I was like, “Hmm, OK.” Because I was in the south of France; I had an aunt who had an apartment in Cannes, who would let me go and stay there, and sometimes she wasn’t there, so I would just run wild. I used to take the bus to Juan-les-Pins. That whole scene where the guys are playing ping pong back at the beach, it was all deja vu.

How was that? You’re usually so quick to separate yourself from your characters.

I finally discovered that Lucky as a teenager was exactly like me. And older Lucky is the woman I would like to be in another life because she becomes so powerful and so strong. She’s such a great character to write.

Was it challenging to write from the perspective of a 15-year-old, or was it easy to go back to that mind-set?

Not at all. I had a couple of godchildren who were staying here at my home who were both 18 and they would come with stories every night, talking about going to clubs with their fake IDs and blah, blah, blah. They had all this energy that I picked up on and tried to channel. And I would read them bits.

But their energy definitely helped me remember what it was like and how the thought process is different.

You are so active on Twitter. Did your embracing of it come easily? Nonmillennials seem so in a panic over it.

It’s really important. It’s a great way of connecting with the fans. Before you would just get these pieces of paper, “Oh, I love you, Jackieeee! Please send me a picture.” That’s if I can even read the handwriting in the first place. But with Twitter, you can communicate with people. You can see what they think of your books – the good and the bad – you can tell them when something is coming out or when you’re doing a book signing. It’s a great tool to reach out to people. It does take a lot of time.

Sometimes, I’ll come home late at night – like, recently I came home from Clive Davis’ Grammy party and I had taken a lot of pictures, of Miley Cyrus, pictures of Pharrell or Lionel Richie. The fans are always dying to see stuff like that, of the life I lead, so I got home and I posted all those. Sometimes I live tweet when there’s a show on that I like.

I saw you tweeting about TV shows Shameless and Blacklist. But how do you have the time?

Oh, I am a TV addict. I have four TiVos in my bedroom. I spend my life trying to catch up. I watch everything. I loved Dexter, but that’s over now. Banshee on Cinemax – have you seen that? I love it. I watch some of the sitcoms – Mom is kind of good. I like How I Met Your Mother, and I like the one with Ashton Kutcher (Two And A Half Men). Wait. Parenthood is just great. It’s got so many things going on, which I love because that’s how I write. Oh, and Nashville – that’s so juicy. And how can we forget Scandal? I die for it.

You’ve written dozens of books – the wheels are clearly always spinning. Where’s the weirdest place you found yourself writing?

Probably the strangest of all was when I would get my children after school and every stop light I would stop to write. I’d pick up my notebook and just write away for a solid minute or so because I didn’t want to lose the idea.

What are you reading right now – and do you do Kindle or iPad or the real thing?

I’m old school. I like the real thing. I like to look at the author’s picture, I like to read about them. I just finished reading A House In The Sky by Amanda Lindhout. Really a good book. I’m just about to read the new Harlan Coben book (Six Years, Orion), which he sent me. I met him on Twitter.

Is there a reason you still prefer handwriting drafts versus doing it on the computer?

First of all, I love my handwriting. Everybody can make it out. Secondly, I love the fact that when a book is finished, I can get it leather-bound and store it in my library. To me, writing is writing. It’s not typing it on the computer. I do a lot of other things on the computer.

Preferred type of pen? Ball points are not my friend. Same for you?

Oh, yes. It must be black felt pens. Or blue felt pens. And white typing paper or yellow legal pads. There’s no other way. – Los Angeles Times/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle , Books , fiction , Jackie Collins


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