Jackie Collins’s Lucky Santangelo Novels: They Ring True to What’s Going On (Scene of the Crime)
Jackie Collins needs little introduction to millions of readers around the globe. Her thirty or so novels of sex and sin have sold millions of copies. But mystery/thriller fans might be surprised to know that this British novelist and former actress (sister of Joan Collins) is also the author of a series of tough get-even novels featuring the Santangelo family, most of which are set in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
The books’ protagonist is plucky, adventuresome Lucky Santangelo, head of a Hollywood studio. Lucky’s tales often feature plots filled with not only steamy sex, but also crime and mystery.
Publishers Weekly noted of one of her Lucky Santangelo novels, Dangerous Kiss: “Lucky has the weight of the world on her gorgeous shoulders. Again, she triumphs in love and business, with enough violence in her wake to make Mickey Spillane shudder.” The same reviewer felt that fans “will be glued to the page.” Of another Santangelo book, Drop Dead Beautiful, Publishers Weekly declared, “Collins delivers Lucky’s usual mix of celebrity fantasy and godfather justice,” while Booklist thought that “Collins’ fans, and fans of the genre, will be clamoring for this one.”
Jackie, thanks much for visiting Scene of the Crime.
Could you describe your connection to LA?
Los Angeles and Las Vegas are two key cities that always feature in mywriting. I visited both places when I was a teenager, and the images stuck.
What things about Los Angeles make it unique and a good physical setting in your books?
L.A. is the greatest place for a writer to live. So much going on, and so many different locations to write about. Plus L.A. is a city full of characters from all across the world. I never run out of inspiration.
Did you consciously set out to use Los Angeles and Las Vegas as a “character” in your books, or did this grow naturally out of the initial story or stories?
Writing about L.A. and Vegas somehow or other always comes into my stories. My characters seem to frequent both places.
How do you incorporate location in your fiction? Do you pay overt attention to it in certain scenes, or is it a background inspiration for you?
Not at all. It just happens.
How does Lucky and your other protagonists interact with their surroundings? Are theynatives, blow-ins, reluctant or enthusiastic inhabitants, cynical about it, a booster? And conversely, how does the setting affect Lucky and the others?
Usually they come from another city, and L.A. is the lure.
Has there been much local reaction to your work?
Currently I am very big in Russia! I am published in over 40 countries, including China, Israel, and Poland! L.A. locals in show business seem to enjoy my books because they ring true to what is actually going on.
Have you ever made any goofs in depicting your location or time period? Please share–the more humorous the better (we all have).
In Chances there was a city-wide power outage, and yet my main character managed to play a CD!
Of the novels you set in Hollywood, do you have a favorite book or scene that focuses on the place? Could you quote a short passage or give an example of how the location figures in your novels?
At the beginning of Hollywood Wives I have a great Gore Vidal quote – “Nobody is allowed to fail within a two-mile radius of The Beverly Hills Hotel.” So true!
Who are your favorite writers, and do you feel that other writers influenced you in your use of the spirit of place in your novels?
Charles Dickens. Mario Puzo. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Those authors inspire me.
What’s next for Lucky?
Lucky Santangelo is back in Goddess of Vengeance, the seventh book in the Lucky series.
Thanks again, Jackie for stopping by Scene of the Crime.
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