Jackie Collins revisits a reader favorite

Posted Sunday, Feb. 02, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Confessions of a Wild Child

by Jackie Collins

St. Martin’s Press, $26.99

* * * 

Audiobook: MacMillan Audio, $29.99; read by actors Sydney Tamiia Poitier and Teddy Cañez

The Lucky Santangelo Cookbook

by Jackie Collins

St. Martin’s Press, $27.99

Out April 8

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Jackie Collins has a vivid imagination — you don’t think all the steamy escapades in her books really happened, do you? — but one thing she can’t conceive of is tiring of writing about Lucky Santangelo.

“She is the woman I would like to be in another life, a supercharged version,” Collins says of the heroine of seven bestselling novels. “She does it all, and she is very much in control.

“When I pick up a pen to write, I have no idea what she is going to do next. She surprises even me.”

The only way to keep up with Lucky’s adventurous life, she says, is to continue writing about it.

Collins’ eighth Santangelo novel, Confessions of a Wild Child (St. Martin’s Press, $26.99), comes out Tuesday.

This one goes back to when Lucky, the dangerously beautiful daughter of former gangster Gino the Ram, was 15 years old.

“I wanted to show how she became the person all my readers love, how she became the Lucky she is today,” Collins says. “It’s all about her first experiences with boys, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.”

Collins, author of 29 New York Times bestsellers, also has The Lucky Santangelo Cookbook coming out in April. We chatted with her about the books.

Of all the characters you’ve created, is Lucky the most popular with your readers?

My fans love her. I’m on Twitter. I’ve got 100,000 people on Facebook. Also a big website. And all they ask me about is Lucky. They love the other books, but they keep wanting more and more of Lucky.

I’ve written about her since she was born. She was born in the book Chances, which I wrote in the ’80s. Now she’s the matriarch of the family. But in Confessions of a Wild Child, she is 15.

Her father, Gino the Ram, has always been there trying to protect her, ever since she found her mother floating dead in the family swimming pool when she was 5. But finally he lets her go to a boarding school in Switzerland, where she immediately starts getting into trouble, running away and chasing boys.

You were 15 when you dropped out of school. Is that more than coincidence?

It’s funny. When I was writing Lucky, I was just thinking of her. But when I read it after I finished, I realized there was a lot of me in her. Like, Lucky in the South of France. I actually was there when I was a teenager. I remember playing pingpong on the beach and meeting boys and all of that.

So there is a little bit of Lucky in me, but I think there is a little bit of Lucky in every woman.

Is there a story behind the name Lucky?

I was at the beach and I was thinking, “I love great names for my characters.” I had just written Hollywood Wives and I had a character called Montana. I loved the name Montana, but I didn’t want to do another state name.

So I’m sitting there and thinking, “Well, I’m so lucky to be here.” And as I said that, I thought, “That’s it! That’s what she’s going to be called! Lucky!”

What sparked your interest in making The Lucky Santangelo Cookbook ?

I was making meatballs, which I’m very good at, and I had just written a scene where Lucky was in the kitchen making meatballs. She doesn’t do a lot of cooking. And I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun if I did an illustrated book of Lucky?” Then I thought, “Well, why not a cookbook?”

It took about a year. I worked with a chef in New York. I had to have somebody to do the illustrations. I had to have a fabulous food photographer. The whole thing was quite a lengthy project. But now it has come to fruition and the book looks great. The fans will love it.

You know your way around a kitchen better than Lucky does, isn’t that true?

I think I do, yes. Although we just made a video to go on Facebook of me cooking meatballs that was quite funny. It involved making the Jackie Collins cocktail created by Wolfgang Puck (raspberries, vodka, lemonade, lime and soda). Between the vodka and the meatballs, we were all reeling by the end.

You met the queen of England last year when you were awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) medal. Is there any chance she has read your books?

I don’t think so. She said to me, “I understand you have written many books.” I replied, “Yes, Your Majesty. … Not bad for a school dropout!”

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