Takemi Pantsoff of The Vagina Observer secured the following exclusive interview with famed novelist Jackie Collins on the eve of the release of her new book "Isabella".
"We met by the enormous heart-shaped pool of Jackie's $30 million mansion in Beverly Hills. She lay on a low recliner in her black swimsuit and stared at a blue sky as she answered my questions. Periodically, she would reach over to a table for her Martini as we chatted. She tells me it is called the "Martini Federico" in honour of the forthcoming book launch."
Q:Jackie, they say this book could eclipse the next Harry Potter in sales.
A (laughing): Oh sure. We are good friends Joanne and I. We meet once a month at Oprah's place in Chicago to count our money. But what a vast intellect she has, hasn't she? From medieval cuisine to Latin… to folklore, philosophy and psychology. How on earth did she find time to study all of that and to be writing non-stop for years too until she was twenty-nine without even trying to get published. And the fact that she knew just about everything about little boys too without ever having had a son or even a brother. Awesome. I feel quite stupid when I'm around her. You feel you must be talking to six people at least. Of course, Joanne doesn't speak much and hates questions she hasn't heard before. I do all the talking. I talk too much, really.
Q: So, tell us about your new story. I believe Hollywood have started to film.
A: Yes. Steven grabbed it immediately. We have Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise for the leads. Lots of steamy sex.
Q: And the plot?
A: Well, Isabella is the bastard child of Sergeant Mario Angelo who met her mother while serving in Vietnam. Her mother dies giving birth and the child is brought up by her grandparents. In her late teens she decides to come to America to find her dad. After two years fruitless search she realizes she must make a name for herself if she is to grab his attention. So she goes to Hollywood and gets a job as a masseuse. In this way she learns the facts of life and gets to meet film producers and actors etc and so lands a part in a movie. Her stunning beauty is soon recognized and in no time she is a great actress. She marries but it doesn't turn out as it is a barren match. More than anything, Isabella longs for kids. And then she meets Mr. Right. He is an up and coming young actor with devastating Italian-stallion good looks and when she is cast opposite him one thing leads to another. But he dumps her for a younger woman... or so she thinks. She is devastated and by way of revenge gets plastic surgery and now looks like a teenager again. We got lots of help from Elizabeth Taylor on that. She changes her name and swears her friends to secrecy concerning her new identity. As fate would have it, she is cast again opposite Federico who this time falls head over heels for her not knowing who she is. But she does not trust him any more and sets about finding out all she can about her lover. She follows him for months and slowly it begins to emerge that Federico was once a priest who fell from grace and had to leave the church because of his affair with a gypsy dancer. But, and this is the exciting part, Federico has healing powers…
Q: Like Potter.
A: Er…. Well sort of. He can speak fluent Latin too. By reciting Latin prayers over the sick he can in fact cure them. When… er… Isabella sees him cure an orphaned crippled child and make her walk again she knows then he is The One for her. This episode was inspired by something Joanne said recently to a packed audience of media moguls, Potter merchandizers and International Bankers in Stuttgart….. "The magic is in us all. And the profit is in the magic. And you can't get jailed for it either, providing you have the right lawyers". Anyway, they get married. When Isabella becomes pregnant she knows she must tell him the truth. This makes for what we writers call dramatic tension.
Q: And the climax?
A (giggling): Oh, there are all sorts of climaxes. Like when they have it off on the altar of St. Patrick's Church in New York the night before their marriage there. An idea suggested to us… I mean to me…. by Madonna. Or in the toilet of a Jumbo jet. We brought Ralph Fiennes in for advice on that. The one I like best is the scene in the cemetery... in an open grave... in the rain. Very erotic. If you haven't made love in a grave during a storm believe me you haven't lived. But it is the close spiritual bond between the two that makes for the captivation.
Q: Of course it is. So… she gives birth?
A: Yes… to a little boy she calls Harry.
Q: Hmmmm….. nothing to do with…
A (giggling): No, of course not! Just coincidence. In the delivery room she tells Federico who she really is and he runs out of the hospital and into the night. She figures she will never see him again but she does have Harry and is fulfilled.
Q: And how does it all end?
A: Federico returns to his wife and little son and with him is Mario Angelo, now a very old man. He is a retired army colonel and military advisor to the president. There is a touching scene where he explains to Isabella that her mother was not a ten-dollar hooker as she imagined but a Buddhist nun. And he never killed anyone either, not like all the rest. He was just there as part of the Intelligence Corps to foment the civil war. It is a joyful reunion for all.
A: Thank you.
Q: Don't forget to see the movie! Meryl is just crazy about the script. The Martini isn't bad either.