Jackie Collins: “My women kick ass, they don’t get their asses kicked” (Reveal)
Jackie Collins is the original Queen of Steam. Raunchy, uninhibited and sexually empowering, it’s no surprise that she’s sold over 500 millions copies of her books in more than 40 countries, making her one of the world’s most successful authors.
And, lucky for us, she’s back with an exciting new novel, The Power Trip.
When a Russian billionaire and his supermodel girlfriend invite five VIP couples onboard their super yacht, they are promised a journey to remember. And, in true Jackie style, with plenty of twists and turns that will have you gripped, it does not disappoint.
Here, we catch up with the LA-based author and find out the secret to her sucess, why The Power Trip is different to her other novels, and what she really thinks of Fifty Shades of Grey…
What makes The Power Trip different to your other books?
The characters just take me on a trip. And on this trip, I really just wanted my readers to feel that they were there. I want you to feel that you’re on the boat. That you’re with these people. That you’re eating the caviar, that you’re going to this fantastic deserted island with the waterfalls and the white sand.
When you start off writing a book, do you have a rough idea or where it’s going to take you?
I just see where it takes me. I’m trying to think who I started off with on The Power Trip. I think it was the Russian oligarch and Bianca. I started with them, and then I started thinking who they would invite.
You have a footballer and his WAG in your book – are they based on Cheryl and Ashley Cole?
A little bit! I think there are shades of a lot of people – I think people will have a guessing game trying to figure out who the characters are based on.
How long did it take to write?
About nine months. It takes that long because I still write in long-hand. I write maybe 10-15 pages a day, so even if I’m working six days a week, it’s still going to take me nine months to finish a book. I can never do it any other way. I love the result so much. I’ve got all my hand-written pages bound into leather books.
Do you have any plans for a sequel to The Power Trip?
I’ve been asked about that and definitely I would bring one of the characters, Flynn, back. You’ll see what happens at the end, and it’s open for a sequel.
What are you working on next?
I’m writing a 5,000 word prequel to the book to put on the internet for free, so people get a taste of it. I’m also writing a book about one of my previous characters, Lucky Santangelo, called Confessions Of A Wild Child. It’s a prequel as I want people to see how she evolved.
When writing about Lucky, do you have to refer back to the books to remind yourself of things?
I do! Because my readers are so knowledgable and they know more than I do, so God forbid I get anything wrong. But there are seven books about Lucky now, so I have to go back. After the next book I’m going to write a book called the Santangelos. It’s basically going to be about Lucky’s daughter Max and her son Bobbi, who is a sexy guy. I love writing about sexy guys.
Why haven’t any Hollywood blockbusters been made of your books?
Well that’s what I’m hoping will happen with The Power Trip because it’s got everything in it – locations, adventure, excitement. But Hollywood isn’t called “development hell” for nothing. You’ve got these male executives who are 30 and all they’re interested in is getting laid and making movies about guys jerking off. So you have to be in the right place at the right time to get a movie made. Hopefully this will be the one.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a bit of a workaholic, but I’m also a TV addict. I just love my TV. I can sit and watch four hours of solid TV easily. I can’t wait to watch The Voice tonight. And I’m looking forward to the new series of The X Factor USA.
Would you like to be a judge on a reality TV show?
I think it would take up too much time. I’ve had my own TV show here, Jackie Collins’ Hollywood. It was fun but it was a bit of a nightmare because I had to have my hair done every day, get my make-up done, and organise different clothes. It takes over your life and you really have to be commited. I like to be free and do what I do.
How would you describe an average day?
If I’m writing I get up very early and I go to my study at the back of the house. And I sit there all day just writing and it’s like being in prison because I can’t leave, but I love it! Sometimes I’ll write right through from 9am to 9pm. But if I’m not writing, I’ll get up around the same time and I might go to the market. I love walking around. I don’t like people doing stuff for me, I like to do things myself. I might go to Target, which is like Marks and Spencer, which is so fun to wander around. I might have lunch with a friend and maybe go to the movies. I love going to the movies, especially in the mornings because then I have the rest of the day to do things. Then I would come home and stick myself in front of the TV before going out for dinner with friends.
You’re called the Queen of Steam. But have you read Fifty Shades of Grey?
I have read it, yes.
And what do you think of it?
Well, it’s not my kind of book because I like women who kick ass, and don’t get their ass kicked. My women kick somebody else’s ass! But good on E.L. James – she’s pulled in a lot of readers.
Without giving too much away, at the very start of The Power Trip someone dies in the middle of having sex. We didn’t read anything that saucy in Fifty Shades…
[Laughs] When I wrote that intro, I had no idea who it was going to be. And you’ll see who it is in the end and you’ll be shocked. That was the first bit of the book I wrote.
What do you use to research your novels?
The internet, which is fantastic. I used to surround myself with encylopedias and now I just go to the internet and get everything I need. I do spend a lot of time on the computer, but I just don’t write on it.
You must be really proud of your achievements?
Yes, I am! I’m a school drop out, I dropped out of school – well I was expelled – at 15, so I’ve done it all myself. I am a self-made person. I think it’s encouraging to people. Even though I came from a middle class family who vaguely had money, but not a lot, I still never took anything from my parents after I left home and I did it myself. And I think it’s really encouraging for other people out there who have a talent for something.
Do you have any advice to hopeful writers?
I get a lot of emails and tweets and I always say “Don’t talk about it, do it!” If you think you can do it, then go ahead because you can. So many people talk about it. But you have to make time.
The Power Trip is out now. Download the first chapter for free at the official website here.
Published Friday, Sep 28 2012, 14:46 BST | By Nikhita Mahajan