REST IN PEACE JACKIE COLLINS
In my last post I blogged about how difficult it is for writers to make it to the big time. The next day, one of the most successful writers of all time died and left a legacy that had bedazzled readers for decades and will surely bedazzle generations to come. But I wasn't a fan, in fact I didn't read a Jackie Collins novel until the day after she died.
Jackie Collins fulfilled a fantasy for many with sex and glam! She has been a prolific writer of novels that arouse sexual desire for four decades. All of her 32 novels have been 'best sellers' and many made into movies and TV mini-series (Hollywood Wives). Her novels have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide. Her last book, Santangelos, hit shelves this past June as she fought through the last stages of breast cancer.* She admitted that she was a "school dropout" and a "juvenile delinquent" when she was fifteen. "I'm glad I got all of that out of my system at an early age," she said decades later and added that she "never pretended to be a literary writer".
Jackie's success interested me so I decided to read her first book to find out just what started her brilliant career. So I delved into The World Is Full Of Married Men which was published in 1968. Although it was a huge success in Great Britain and America, it had been banned in Australia and South Africa because of its depiction of extramarital sex, The New York Times reported.
Collins' novels are generally considered Romance genre but it seems to me that they are more commercial fiction or maybe provocative fantasy if there is such a category. The World Is Full Of Married Men began a long romp through the glitzy lives of Hollywood's rich and famous - and infamous! Her storylines include infidelity, betrayal, power struggles, greed, and unfulfilled promises by bad boys that keep you up all night.
My favorite line from The World Is Full Of Married Men:
"She wore an orange dress, dangerously low cut, and the women in the gathering found themselves standing up straighter and throwing out their bosoms as if in answer to this sudden challenge." pg. 44
Jackie once said, "I write about real people in disguise. If anything, my characters are toned down - the truth is much more bizarre."
In a recent, random Amazon review (2014) of Married Men 'Tracey' wrote: "Better than 50 Shades of Grey. Jackie's books will never leave you lonely." So, I guess I got my answer to what kept her readers reading for 40 years.
And with that I say, "Congratulations, Jackie Collins, on your infinite success. Your books added sizzle and excitement to many readers for many years. May you rest in peace.
* Jackie Collins died two weeks before her 78 birthday. She had been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer more than six years before her death but kept her illness almost entirely to herself. She reportedly only informed her sister two weeks before she died and flew from LA to London to appear on the TV chat show Loose Women only nine days before her death. (Daily Mail)