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Tribute to Jackie Collins; Romance Novelist

Updated on October 1, 2016
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Linda (Kaywood) Bilyeu is a self-published author. Her books are available on Amazon. She writes from the heart—there is no other way.


In memory of the Queen of Romance Novels

I am the queen of writing letters as Jackie Collins is the queen of writing raunchy romance novels. I had been intending to write a letter to Jackie Collins for quite awhile, actually for almost thirty-six years, which is how long I have been a fan of her books. I regret never taking the time to do so, hence this tribute is written in her honor.

I am happy to say that I did tell Jackie Collins on social media how much she was appreciated. I shared with her what an impact she made on my life and how I could never imagine what my life would have been like if her words didn't influence me so much. My life could have been so dull, I am so thankful to Miss Collins.

Sadly, on September 19, 2015, Jackie left the earthly world for a better place. She fought bravely for close to seven years, not telling anyone about her breast cancer diagnosis until shortly before her passing. I am sure we could all agree that cancer sucks, but this tribute isn't about cancer, this tribute is about a wonderful woman who "gave a great deal of people a great deal of pleasure." Those are the words that Jackie Collins used when asked how she would like to be remembered. And I agree one-hundred percent! She sure did give plenty of pleasure.

While Jackie Collins did confide her breast cancer diagnosis with her three daughters, while her youngest daughter was also battling Stage 1 breast cancer and beat it, Jackie chose not to share the dreadful diagnosis with her beloved older sister, actress, Joan Collins. Up until Jackie's passing, she continued to be brave and will always be remembered as a literary queen who could weave a seductive story that would make her readers crave for more.

"I think sympathy can weaken you. I don't live my life that way. I took control of the situation. I know it was difficult for my daughters not to be able to talk about it, and they wanted me to tell people, but I didn't want to burden them." - Jackie Collins

Jackie could also have been in denial about her demise, but nonetheless she is an icon and kicked cancer's ass for seven years. Jackie did things her way, just like Lucky Santangelo would have done. Just like Frank Sinatra crooned about.

According to Jackie Collin's final interview with People magazine, which was just 4 days before she left her earthly body, she didn't want sympathy, she had a full life which was filled with love. She published 5 books since she received her cancer diagnosis and wrote up until the day she passed away.

Part of Jackie's legacy should be to remind women that they are more resilient and braver than they think they are. Women should be more proactive with their health. Take care of your ta-ta's!

Jackie Collins was persuaded by her second husband of 27 years, Oscar Lerman, to share her stories because, "You're a Storyteller." The rest is history. Sadly, Oscar passed away of prostate cancer in 1992. I am thankful that Oscar nudged Jackie into sharing her stories. In a similar twist, my second husband who passed away from prostate cancer in 2015 also nudged me to write my heart away. I am thankful that my husband nudged me, my heart has a lot to say.

"What got me through the tragedies of losing loved ones was celebrating their lives, as opposed to dwelling on their deaths." - Jackie Collins

My World of Jackie Collins

At the age of 16, I read my first Jackie Collins novel. I was not a fan of reading books, I preferred watching movies. One day my friend Liz suggested I read Chances by Jackie Collins. She confiscated the book from her mother's stash of paperbacks and she thought I would enjoy it. I reluctantly accepted her well intended gesture of trying to get me to discover the world of Jackie Collins.

Needless to say, Liz's well intended gesture blew my mind! Wow! Once I started reading the novel, I could not stop. I was entranced. I had been introduced to the world of Lucky and Gino Santangelo and there was no way I was ever leaving it! I would have to read the book on the sly since my mother would not approve of my new found taste of literature, even though she should have been pleased I was actually reading a book and expanding my knowledge. Well, not exactly the knowledge a mother wants her daughter to expand on, but cut a kid some slack, reading is reading!

The storyline was so naughty. Sex, drugs, rock and roll, mafia, gangsters; I was in heaven! Not exactly the heaven we hope to visit one day, but then again...

For the next thirty-six years I read every book Jackie Collins wrote. Hollywood, starlets, studs, divorce, adultery, celebrities, murder, mayhem, scandals...oh my!

The beginning of each novel was foreplay. Finishing the novel was thoroughly satisfying and made me hunger for the next. Jackie left no stone unturned, she cut to the chase. Left some to the imagination, but not all. Sizzling hot scenarios made me think I was invading the privacy of the characters, surely I wasn't since they were just on paper, or were they...?

I reread Chances once again when I was 50 years old, I was shocked at what my 16 year old self had read at such a young age, but grateful for what I had learned. I was also thankful my mother didn't find my stash until I was of legal age! I recently turned my daughters onto Jackie's novels, they weren't as impressed. I felt that I had failed as a parent. They both had reassured me that I did not fail, that they just weren't as rebellious as their mother. I blamed Lucky Santangelo, they weren't buying that. We rested our case.

Thirty-two novels, nine of those books went to screen and TV, 500 million copies sold in 40 different countries is darn good work for a rebel teen who was expelled from school and considered a juvenile delinquent while living in London. At the age of 15, Jackie had a brief fling, with then 29 year old, Marlon Brando. Her parents thought it would be best if Jackie went to live with her older sister, Joan, in Los Angeles. I don't know what her parents were thinking, but that sure doesn't sound like punishment to me. Jackie tried her hand at acting, but her love was writing. Again, I am so thankful for Miss Collins.

Jackie, the queen of raunchy novels received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) Award from the Queen of England for her books and her contributions to AIDS foundations. How's that accomplishment for a high school dropout?

Lucky Santangelo - Jackie Collins
Lucky Santangelo - Jackie Collins

Have you read novels by Jackie Collins?

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Get lucky with Lucky Santangelo

Once again, I will forever be grateful for, Jackie Collins. First of all, for my love of reading and yes, I have expanded my literary adventures over the years that didn't include books about sex, drugs and rock and roll. Not by much, but by some. Second of all, Jackie helped me to discover my love for writing. Clearly, I don't think I could tell a story as well as Jackie, but I sure do like a good challenge. I wouldn't mind some of the characters from Jackie's novels being in my head to be able to write about them. Bring it on!

No matter how sophisticated technology became that did not stop Jackie from writing her novels longhand, using a pen and paper. Kudos to her, at times old school is better than new school. She liked to write about powerful women. Women of strength and valor. Women who did not take no for an answer and kicked some serious ass! Hence, Lucky Santangelo.

I am quite thankful for my favorite literary character, Lucky. The young, not-so-innocent and extremely beautiful girl with balls of steel, whom I felt a kinship with. The older sister who gave advice that you chose to adhere to or not. Lucky gave me strength when I thought I was weak. When in doubt, I would ask myself, what would Lucky do? And most of the time I would go forth, it wasn't like I could debate her since she was just in my imagination. I never packed heat so shooting someone wasn't in the cards for me. I admired Lucky's drive and determination which helped to inspire me, along with her stubborn streak.

While Lucky had a heart of gold she could also be a ruthless woman if anyone dared to mess with her family. Never, ever mess with a Santangelo. I would vote for Lucky as President! She could really whip this country into shape. "Get Lucky in 2016!"

I am also thankful for Gino Santangelo, Lucky's dad. His character taught me the qualities to not look for in a husband and father to my kids. While I did like Gino, at times greed and power had the upper hand. Gino did leave an impact on me. He taught me more than I cared to know. Bad boy, Gino!

Jackie's novels contain graphic sex, cheating spouses, widows, widowers, business deals gone good and bad...most of all the novels were entertaining and contained awesome adventures that both men and women appreciated.

I am glad that that my friend Liz introduced me to the world of Jackie Collins. And that Jackie Collins brought Lucky into my life. I have secretly wished that Lucky would one day become a grandmother to carry on the kick ass attitude. I hope that wish comes true! Lucky Santangelo and Jackie Collins will always live on in those who love them.

Quote by Jackie Collins

I really fall in love with my characters, even the bad ones.

I love getting together with them. They tell me what to do;

they take me on a wild and wonderful trip.

Novels featuring Lucky Santangelo

  • Chances
  • Lucky
  • Lady Boss
  • Vendetta: Lucky's Revenge
  • Dangerous Kiss
  • Drop Dead Beautiful
  • Poor Little Bitch Girl
  • Confessions of a Wild Child
  • The Santangelo's
  • The Lucky Santangelo Cookbook

Books to film by Jackie Collins

  • Paris Connections
  • Hollywood Wives: The New Generation (miniseries)
  • Lady Boss (miniseries)
  • Lucky Chances (miniseries)
  • Hollywood Wives (miniseries)
  • The Bitch
  • The World is Full of Married Men (movie)
  • Yesterday's Hero (movie)
  • The Stud (movie)

Jackie Collins interview from June 15, 2015

© 2015 Linda Bilyeu


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