What I’ve Learnt

The Times Magazine
February 2014
Author Jackie Collins, 76, has written 30 bestsellers, including The World Is Full Of Married Men and the Lucky Santangelo series. She has been married twice and was engaged to businessman Frank Calcagnini, who died of cancer in 1998. She has three grown-up children and lives in Beverly Hills, California.
I can spend all morning on Pinterest and Twitter. I am on the computer all the time, which is why I like writing my books long hand. I love to look back on the manuscript and see my handwriting in different coloured pens and cross things out.

People ask me what I think of Fifty Shades Of Grey and I say, my women kick ass, they don’t get their asses kicked.

When you write popular books, it is easy to be maligned. When I write I don’t know what is going to happen next, so if I don’t know, the reader doesn’t. I have never had writer’s block – I am really lucky. I am a born storyteller. I started writing when I was 8. I used to read Dickens and Harold Robbins and thought, this is what I want to do.

Men have a different mindset to women. Once you understand that, you can have great relationships. When a man clings to you, you want to be rid of them, so when you cling, they want rid of you. I was once obsessed with a bodybuilder in France. When you are obsessed, you can’t do anything right. So rather than killing him, I moved on.

As a writer, it is my job to understand people and I feel I can do that very well. But I have never gone to a shrink.

I always like to do my own nails. Why waste money on getting people to do them?

People don’t look like themselves any more. You can tell when someone has had something done, even if they say they have not. I don’t want that look.

Gay marriage is fantastic. If gays want to be as miserable as heterosexual married people, they should have the right. I believe in equality, but what is marriage anyway – just a piece of paper?

People are always searching for something they have not had. Have it before you get married. If you want an experience with another woman, do it. If you want to sleep with a Frenchman, do it. If you want to take drugs, do it. Then, if you marry the man you love, you can make monogamy work. To my knowledge I have never been cheated on, but if someone cheated on me, I would cut it off. I have a wild, jealous Sicilian streak. Even though I am not Sicilian, I have the streak.

I have a good relationship with my sister. I don’t know where this thing came from, that we are enemies. It is ridiculous. We are very different, but she has always been a good sister to me. I never wanted to be anyone’s sister, so I said to myself I would carve my own path: I wanted to write. Everybody said, you can’t do it, you did not go to college. And I said, I can do whatever I want to do.

I am a moralist. Louis Malle called me a raunchy moralist and I like that.

My diet is, I eat what I like. And that is a form of dieting. I would not waste time on a piece of white fish, because I don’t like it. But avocados, mangos, shrimp, ice creams and baked potatoes is a good diet. People here are so obsessed with dieting, it is ridiculous.

Without wanting to sound too Shirley MacLaine, I was a panther or a leopard or a cheetah in another life. I feel a connection with them; I love big cats. I love the panther’s beauty, power and speed.