Catching Up with Jackie Collins
By Dustin Fitzharris
'She sucked him dry and then some, and he put up no defense -- or rather, his dick didn't.' If that doesn't make you want to read Jackie Collins's new novel Poor Little Bitch Girl, nothing will! It's no wonder Collins has sold over 400 million copies of her books since her career began over 40 years ago with The World is Full of Married Men.
Growing up in London didn't stop Collins from being enthralled by Hollywood. In fact, she recently admitted that she had an affair with Marlon Brando when she was 15 -- he was in his 30s. Today, Collins, 72, the younger sister of actress Joan Collins of Dynasty fame, has earned her status as a Hollywood icon too. In Poor Little Bitch Girl, she tells the tale of three beautiful women, a secret, a murder and a scandal and through it all -- of course -- there is no shortage of sex.
Out spoke with Collins about the inspirations behind her new book, her previous life as a leopard, and her favorite thing about sex.
Out: Poor Little Bitch Girl is your 27th book. What makes this one different from all of your others?
Jackie Collins: I think all my books are different. It's so funny because I'll go on a television show and they'll say, 'Oh, you've turned out another book.' And I'm thinking to myself, Fuck you! You have actors on all the time who do two or three movies a year and nobody ever says to them, 'Oh you've turned out another movie.'
How long does it take you to write a book?
A year. There's always a year gap before I'm on all of the shows, and I'm going to be on all the shows shortly, and I know they're going to be saying to me, 'Oh, another one.'
And will you give that answer?
What? Fuck you? If I'm on Chelsea Handler I might. I love Chelsea Handler. I think she's fantastic. You've got to watch her. She's so funny and just tells it the way it is, which I find very intriguing. The two best talk show hosts at night are Craig Ferguson and Chelsea. In all of this kerfuffle going on about NBC and Jay and Conan and this one and that one, they never mention [Handler and Ferguson], and they're the two best ones!
How did you come up with the title for the book?
I'm very adamant about my titles because publishers always try to change them. I had written a TV series, which never got off the ground -- because it's not called "development hell" for nothing in Hollywood -- that was called Poor Little Rich Girl. Then I thought, Wait a minute. What if I create this character who is not so nice and is a bitch? Then it suddenly came to me: Poor Little Bitch Girl.
What reaction did you get to that title from your publisher?
"You'll never get away with that in Wal-Mart." I said, 'Wait a minute. Did you not read Skinny Bitch? That was a huge hit last year.' And they went, 'Oh, yes, you're right.' So, they let me use the title.
But in England there was a little -- to use your word -- kerfuffle.
When the title came out we had these fabulous posters on the subway. Then somebody complained. Just some person. Then they withdrew the posters, but they allowed us to put them back up after a day.
Hey, a little controversy never hurt anyone.
I know! And we live in this age -- do you see what's on television today? Did you watch Spartacus? I hope so. It was pretty sexy. And somebody emailed me this morning a naked picture of Madonna with her boy toy.
What did you think?
Not very impressive, I might say. She wasn't naked. He was. You better look this up!
The former governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, was an inspiration for this book. Do tell.
He was an absolute inspiration. I've got these characters Annabelle and Frankie -- I loved writing Frankie because I love writing bad boys -- and they're kind of lying in bed and it's at the time of the Eliot Spitzer scandal. They're reading the papers and going, 'How stupid was he? This could be done so well.' That's when they got the idea or rather I got the idea. I was like, 'Who is the schmuck who tells everyone they can't do anything -- they can't have strip clubs -- meanwhile, he's meeting a hooker out of town?'
There have been a few scandals like that over the years.
You know, there was a very famous call girl in Los Angeles quite a while ago who did look-alikes. So, you would be screwing Jennifer Garner, but it would be a look-alike. Or Jennifer Aniston or Angelina. That was kind of interesting. I almost did that.
And what happened?
I thought, 'No. It's New York. I think masks are going to be better in New York.' [Ed note: The call girls in the book wear masks on the job] I thought that was sexy. I really need to get into that further, actually.
In your books or your personal life?
Well, both actually! I have to get into it if I'm going to write about it.
Well, over the years you have said you've dabbled in everything when it comes to sex. Is that true?
Well, I think if you're going to write about it, you have to.
What do you think is the best thing about sex?
Whoever you're having it with. You have to have that mental connection. If you don't have a mental connection, than it's just a physical thing that is just, 'OK, that's done. That's boring.' The whole excitement to sex is the build up to it.
There's quite a build-up to writing your books too. You write longhand and only use a computer for research. Why?
That's the way I've always done it since I was a kid. I love to see the finished results. I've got rather nice handwriting because it was the only thing I was good at in school -- that and playing truant, of course. So, I like to see my books bound in leather at the end of each book. I just can't get out of the habit, and also, it doesn't feel like writing when on the computer.
And to do your research for books, what do you read to keep up on all of the gossip?
I'm a total popular culture junkie. I read so many papers and magazines, and I watch so much television. Everybody asks how I find the time, but I do it while I'm doing other things. I'll watch stuff like The Soup. That brings you up to date on everything. I love The Hills. I love shows like Dexter. I read everything. For instance, US and People and Rolling Stone. I read the newspapers too -- USA Today and The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. It takes me two hours a day just to get through everything. For websites I go on the Huffington Post and the Daily Beast. I take the New York Post every day, which is my absolute favorite newspaper. I think they tell it like it is. Also, there's always a small story in the New York Post that to me is a book.
Now some of these publications have a way of stretching the truth or, at times, even making up stories. What was the biggest lie ever written about you?
There was this hilarious story in one of the tabloids once where they said me and my sister Joan went shopping at Neiman Marcus in my convertible. Well, I don't have a convertible. And they said Joan had a wig on and when I put the top of the convertible up, it chopped off her wig. We had a good laugh about that one.