Each of Jackie Collins’ 29 books has hit the New York Times’ Best-Seller List – totaling over 500 million copies sold. Her new 30th (!) release, hitting shelves February 4th, is the novel “Confessions of a Wild Child” – a chronicle of the early years of her recurring heroine Lucky Santangelo.
Ms. Collins is a favorite guest around here because she comes prepared to handle the inevitable etiquette questions raised by all the glamorous, steamy, and occasionally devious situations our listeners regularly find themselves in. Today she tackles romantic plagiarism, Hollywood egos, and making men cringe with embarrassment.
Brendan Francis Newnam: She writes popular fiction – really popular fiction. More than 500 million of her books have been sold in over 40 languages. Her latest book – this will be her 30th – is called “Confessions of a Wild Child,” and Jackie, welcome.
Jackie Collins: Thank you so much. It’s good to be back.
Brendan Francis Newnam: We’re excited to have you back, but I have to say when I saw the title of this book Jackie, I was hoping it was a memoir, “Confessions of a Wild Child.”
Jackie Collins: Well you know that I am writing a memoir, yes. Actually there is a lot of me in “Confessions of a Wild Child.”
Brendan Francis Newnam: That was my question, but I know that this is actually a prequel to your Lucky Santangelo series.
Rico Gagliano: Lucky’s the female hero. But it is true that Lucky’s youth sounds a lot like yours. You were both sent away to boarding school.
Brendan Francis Newnam: You were both mischievous youth to put it mildly. So is it safe to say that Lucky is your alter ego?
Jackie Collins: I think it is, in this book, yes. I think she did all the things that I did, and she’s kind of such an interesting character to write about because she becomes such an amazing woman, and I wanted to show how…
Rico Gagliano: If you do say so yourself.
Jackie Collins: No no no, she’s not me, she’s the woman I would like to be in another life, and women write to me all the time. They go, “Oh, you know, I broke up with my boyfriend and then I was lying on the bathroom floor crying and I suddenly thought, what would Lucky do? And then I got up, and you know what, I’m out in the world again.” She does give women inspiration.
Rico Gagliano: What about her isn’t you? You were saying she’s the woman you’d like to be. What do you imbue her with that you wish you had?
Jackie Collins: Well, I think that she’s the woman that every woman would like to be. She does what she wants to do, she says what she wants to say. She doesn’t take crap from anybody. She is a bit like me actually.
Rico Gagliano: You do all that. So, I’m waiting.
Jackie Collins: This is terrible, this is terrible. You know, she’s just crazy, Lucky. I love the character, I love writing the character.
Rico Gagliano: Well you know, speaking of writing Lucky, on the back of the book you advertise the next Lucky Santangelo book, which is due in February of next year. We’ve only been on the air for a couple of years and, in that time, this is your third appearance hyping a third book. Forget just creatively, just physically how can you write this much?
Jackie Collins: I don’t know. I think I first came on this show with “Poor Little Bitch Girl,” right?
Brendan Francis Newnam: No no no, it was the one about the oligarchs.
Rico Gagliano: “Goddess of Vengeance.”
Jackie Collins: “Goddess of Vengeance.” Oh no, you mean “The Power Trip.”
Rico Gagliano: Look! You can’t even remember the titles of your books you’re writing them so fast!
Jackie Collins: I know. Actually I only write a book a year but it seems like more. This year I’ve done two books because “Confessions of a Wild Child” and then, “The Lucky Santangelo Cookbook.” And she makes the best meatballs you’ve ever tasted.
Brendan Francis Newnam: It’s not just cigarettes and drugs? Okay.
Jackie Collins: No, no.
Art Imitating Life – Without Consent
Brendan Francis Newnam: All right, let’s answer our listener’s question, shall we? This first question comes from Cody in Arkansas, and Cody writes, “My husband is a writer and often steals my jokes. Worse, he often names the mean femme fatale after me. Don’t you think this is rude?”
Jackie Collins: I think it’s very rude. I think if you’re going to write about family members, you’ve got to be very very careful to disguise them. Certainly don’t use their jokes because they’re probably not that good in the first place. But I think you really have to use another name, give them a different hair color, and then when they come to you and say “That’s me,” you say “No no, of course it’s not.”
Rico Gagliano: You sound like you speak from experience.
Jackie Collins: Well… This Hollywood wife came up to me when I wrote “Hollywood Wives” and she said “That fading movie star in “Hollywood Wives,” it’s my husband,” and she was married to a very famous man. And I said, “Oh no, of course it’s not. There’s tons of fading movie stars in Hollywood.” Which made her even more angry.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Yeah, I’m sure she was pleased to hear that.
Jackie Collins: Yeah, I know, thrilled.
Rico Gagliano: This is why we turn to you for etiquette advice.
Brendan Francis Newnam: All right, well there you go, Cody. So Jackie does think this is rude and he should knock it off.
Jackie Collins: Yeah.
“We’re having the babies around the same time, aren’t we?”
Brendan Francis Newnam: All right, and the next question comes from an anonymous listener in Southern California. I think we’ll know why when we hear the question. “How do you politely respond to a stranger who asks about your pregnancy when you’re not pregnant?”
Jackie Collins: Oh wow, that’s an interesting question, isn’t it? I think you have to say, “Well, I’m not pregnant, but are you?”
Rico Gagliano: To a man?
Jackie Collins: Yes, to a man. No I think if it’s a woman you say, “Yeah, we’re gonna have the babies about the same time, aren’t we?” Give her a look. But if it’s a man you say, “How dare you. Are you calling me fat?”
Rico Gagliano: You just own it.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Just the classic answer.
Jackie Collins: Yes, and make him cringe with embarrassment.
The Traditional Remove-Gag-First-in-a-Kidnapping Rule
Rico Gagliano: Yes, and I think the rule to everyone here is, don’t open our mouth until you know what’s going on.
All right, here’s something from Curious in Vermont. Curious writes, “When rescuing someone who has been bound and gagged, should you remove the gag first or free the arms first?”
Jackie Collins: Well it depends on the situation. If it’s a sexual situation —
Rico Gagliano: Neither. You’d free neither.
Jackie Collins: Yes, but if it’s a kidnapping situation, then pull out their gag so they can tell you where to catch the people who did it.
Brendan Francis Newnam: I think it might be easier to remove someone who is bound when they’re not talking to you or screaming or expressing their frustration on what happened to them.
Rico Gagliano: That’s true.
Jackie Collins: No, I disagree, because you’ve got to get that gag out so you can know what’s going on, especially if somebody is creeping up behind you with a knife. They’re gonna say, “Watch out behind you!”
Brendan Francis Newnam: Oh I see, I see.
Jackie Collins: But they can’t do that if they’re gagged.
Rico Gagliano: You need two pairs of eyes.
Jackie Collins: Yeah, you’re happily undoing their arms…
Brendan Francis Newnam: I like the idea of silence, like “You know what, we’ll get there in a second, let me just untie this knot.”
Jackie Collins: Yeah, and then meanwhile, this person comes up behind you and bangs you on the head.
Rico Gagliano: Yeah, man. You’re not thinking like a pro.
Jackie Collins: No, you have to think these things through. Gag first, hands second. You know what, gag first and then legs second because you want to be, you know —
Rico Gagliano: Mobile.
Jackie Collins: Yeah, exactly.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Oh mobile, oh I see.
Rico Gagliano: That’s gonna be your bumper sticker: “Gag first, legs second.”
Brendan Francis Newnam: Well there you go, Vermont. Now you know.
Jackie Collins: There you go, Vermont. Try not to get kidnapped.
Rico Gagliano: Curious no more. Again, this does sound like you have some experience. Your books aren’t secretly nonfiction, are they?
Jackie Collins: No, but I mean you could pick up the newspaper, I could pick up the newspaper any morning and read a three-line story, and I can turn that into a book.
Rico Gagliano: Oh man, so the next one is gonna be about, you know, healthcare reform?
Jackie Collins: No.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Not that story.
Jackie Collins: Actually it’s going to be about Afghanistan, so there you go.
Rico Gagliano: All right, looking forward to it. It’ll come out in about two weeks. Jackie Collins, thank you so much for telling our audience how to behave.
Jackie Collins: Oh, behave well and have fun.