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."