Bestselling author Jackie Collins has been creating characters since she was 6 years old growing up in England. But it's her character Lucky Santangelo that her fans can't get enough of. On Sept. 13, another chapter in Lucky's life will be revealed when Collins releases her 28th book, "Goddess of Vengeance."
"She's a perennial," Collins says from her office in the home she had built overlooking the Hollywood Hills. "She just keeps coming back."
Lucky first appeared in Collins' 1981 novel, "Chances," which introduced the Santangelo family. In the book Lucky was born in 1950, but Collins no longer cares to discuss the age of her leading lady.
"How old is James Bond?" Collins says. "When you look around, face it, Madonna is nearly 60. And Sharon Stone. I mean, look how hot women are today."
In the eighth Santangelo novel, which has already hit #1 in England, Lucky goes head-to-head with Armand Jordan, a prince from a small, but wealthy Middle Eastern country, who won't stop at anything to get his hands on The Keys, Lucky's exquisite Las Vegas resort. He assumes it will be his easiest acquisition yet once he learns that a woman is at the helm - but he has never met a woman like Lucky Santangelo. He soon realizes that his motto "everything is for sale. Every person, ever building," doesn't apply when it comes to Lucky. After all, she too has a motto: "Never F*** with a Santangelo."
Jackie Collins Reveals Juicy Details about New Release
As Collins was writing, many of the book's twists and turns surprised the authoress herself, especially the ending. She doesn't plan out her storylines in advance and after all these years she still writes all of her books long-hand on a yellow pad with a fresh, black felt pen.
Collins says the title, "Goddess of Vengeance," reflects how readers feel about Lucky because she does all the things that women would love to do and says all the things that they would love to say. When it comes to vengeance, Collins says she believes in it - "a tooth for a tooth."
She even credits Lucky for saving her life. Over 20 years ago a masked gunman came up to her in her car and held an Uzi to her face. Suddenly Lucky's aura overcame her.
"I thought, 'Screw this! I'm not giving up my car, my jewelry, or anything to this guy,' and I managed to get out of a really nasty situation. I look back on it, and I must have been insane because I didn't realize how quick the trigger could be on an Uzi."
It may seem out of character for Collins to be that brazen, but she says her glamorous, Hollywood image is a big misconception about her. She is not a "darling person." When she does go out, she's still amazed at how people perceive her.
"I'll go to a party and see someone I haven't seen in a few months, and they'll go, 'Are you still churning out those books?' Like it's some kind of vague hobby. People don't realize what goes into it."
And she'll continue to write her characters. She's already well into her next book, "The Power Trip" and "The Lucky Santangelo Cookbook," featuring short stories about Lucky and her family, as well as personal recipes from Collins. Both will be available next year.
"A person who was thrown out of school at 15," she says about her success. "I've come a long way! My message to women is girls can do anything."
Collins on Reality TV
This season's "Dancing with the Stars"
"To bring on George Clooney's ex [Elisabetta Canalis] is a real kind of 'what?' He must be so humiliated! If I was him I'd be totally humiliated. I love David Arquette. I think he's going to be the star of the show. He's handsome. He's got a great look and some humor. Nancy Grace seems like stunt casting. I'm not sure about that. Chaz Bono - good for him."
"I watch it. It's one of my car-crash TV shows."
"I really like them. I think it's an interesting show. It's like "The Osbornes" were 10 years ago. I like their honesty. It seems they have no filter. I like Khloe. She's got a very sarcastic sense of humor. If you gave me a choice between the 'Jersey Shore' and 'The Kardashians,' I'd pick 'The Kardashians' any day."
Collins on Marriage
"I have three daughters. Most women concentrate on their children and then the husband is kind of left out in the cold. I feel that's why they go off and be unfaithful. You have to make time for your husband. You have to say to yourself, 'One of these days these sweet, little kids are going to grow up and you're going to be there with your husband.'"
Collins on Sex
"I'm a big believer in role playing. Like Lucky says, 'You've got to make time for it' [sex]. You've got to make sure you keep your husband happy, and you've got to make sure you keep yourself happy. When two people get married you get this young, lovely and beautiful couple. Then in 10 years he's slaving over a hot secretary, and she's sitting around in curlers. That's not the way to keep passion alive. The first two years of passion is hot, hot, hot. Then after that you've got to keep the fires burning."
Collins on Trends
"I don't follow trends; they follow me. Like the whole leopard-skinned thing. Rod Stewart and I started that. That comes and goes all the time. It's in and then it's tacky and then it's back in and then it's tacky. I like a monochrome look. Black pants, black top and then some fabulous jewelry and a great jacket. Now jackets are in. I was wearing leggings 10 years ago. Now it's the hot thing to do. I was doing it before everyone was doing it."