Message From The Author
A Silver Milestone
JACKIE COLLINS GETS LUCKY WITH HER 25TH NOVEL
The author who famously posited that true Hollywood stories were more "bizarre" than any of her titillating novels is gracing readers once again with Drop Dead Beautiful (Jul., St. Martin's), the latest in Jackie Collins' Lucky Santangelo saga.
With 25 books and hours of screen time devoted to her jam-packed novels, Collins is one of the most recognized literary names in the world. Tapping into the mercurial entertainment industry as early as her first novel, The World Is Full of Married Men, she's sold an impressive 400 million copies of her books since the publication of that debut novel in the late 1960s.
Now writing for St. Martin's Press, Collins' characters' escapades are as juicy, morally ambiguous and rife with scandal as ever. Lovers and Players, her first book for St. Martin's in 2006, raced up the bestseller lists, including The New York Times. And the London-born author couldn't be more ecstatic, candidly noting, "I absolutely love writing for St. Martin's. Every single department cares. You can't just be with your editor, with the rest of the group not giving a damn. From top to bottom, everyone there cares about the books."
In Drop Dead Beautiful, fan favorite Lucky Santangelo is back, with plucky 16-year-old daughter Max in tow. Crafted in 1981, Lucky has appeared in five of Collins' previous books: Chances (1981), Lucky (1985), Lady Boss (1990), Vendetta: Lucky's Revenge (1997) and Dangerous Kiss (1999).
According to the author and her online message boards, Lucky hasn't lost an ounce of the moxie she exhibited in Chances. In fact, she is such a unique, three-dimensional character, fans clamored not just to read about her, but to
watch her on the small screen too. "With Lucky alone, I've written five books and 10 hours of primetime television," Collins says. "Nicollette Sheridan played Lucky in one of the movies, with a very young Sandy [Sandra] Bullock playing her mother. My fans love Lucky."
Without question, Lucky is one of the author's favorite characters. She also calls out Gino, from Drop Dead Beautiful. "He was just this 15-year-old street kid in Chances," she reflects. "I call him my early Harold Robbins," a reference to the author who had his own rags-to-riches story.
Incendiary television talk-show host Jack Python, from Hollywood Husbands, also holds the key to Collins' heart, as does Lenny Golden, Lucky's celluloid screen god husband. "Lenny didn't have much to do in [Drop Dead Beautiful], but he's been in all five books," she hints.
In catching up with fortysomething Lucky, she remains sexy, a devoted
wife and mother, uncompromising and larger than life. Focused on conquering party mecca Las Vegas, she faces one major hurdle that requires constant attention -- her daughter, Max (formerly named Maria).
Reminiscent of Lucky in both looks and spirit, Max lands herself in a heap of trouble when she goes looking for love online -- and finds it.
Wealthy Henry Whitfield-Simmons blames Lucky for his failure as an actor and devotes his time to plotting revenge and striking her where it'll hurt the most. Henry convinces the impressionable yet fiery Max to meet him for a weekend in the mountains. Max manages to convince her father, Lenny, that she's simply going away with friends. Lucky, for once, is outmatched two to one and against her better judgment, gives Max her consent to go. Considering the Santangelos' loaded history, it's no surprise Max is eventually held at gunpoint, taken hostage and rescued by a handsome young man named Ace.
"Lucky has always been street-smart," Collins muses, comparing the mother to daughter. "Don't forget, she ran away to the south of France when she was 15. Her father married her off ... . Max is pretty smart too, but the Internet can be a scary place. I think she handles herself incredibly well."
Although Max is a legitimate "Hollywood It Kid," she's nothing like the spoiled real-life celebutantes making headlines these days. Celebrities like Paris Hilton and Kimberly Stewart "want attention," Collins says. "It's all a race for the headlines. The really smart girls, like Jessica Biel and Scarlett Johansson, don't do that. It just doesn't pay off. People don't take you seriously. But then again, these girls are young and want to have fun. When I was 20, I was dancing on tables in clubs too!"
Not dancing on tables any longer, at least as far as we know, Collins is still up to some of her old tricks; she's in development with Fremantle Television to come up with a new TV series and her next novel, Married Lovers, will once again explore the lives of the Hollywood elite with a Collins twist.
If it's true that those "real" Hollywood stories are indeed more insidious, sex-filled and warped than any Collins novel, fans can expect many more sagas to come. -- Lauren Spielberg
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