Few authors make have had such an impact on the world of popular culture as the Queen of Hollywood glamour, Jackie Collins. Here, her editor, Suzanne Baboneau, talks about what it was like to work with such a legend. Suzanne has worked in publishing since 1980 and knew Jackie Collins from the very beginning of her publishing career. She is currently Managing Director of the Adult Publishing Division at Simon & Schuster UK.
Buy The Santangelos here
“Monday 19th September is the first anniversary of Jackie Collins’ death. Can a whole year really have passed since we heard the news? Here we are, in the autumn of 2016, with no new Jackie hardcover gracing the bestseller lists, no visit from our wonderful author, wowing television, print and radio audiences across the country, wowing her loyal readers with another fabulous story of Hollywood, Las Vegas, New York. Jackie had been writing and publishing for nearly fifty years and it is still near-impossible to absorb that her reign has ended.
Jackie leaves an extraordinary legacy of over thirty novels, all of them in print and standing quite beautifully the test of time. When I started my publishing career, at Jackie’s paperback publisher Pan Books, one of my duties was to forward fan mail to her Beverly Hills address, a huge daily postbag as you can imagine. Over time, I became her UK editor. Jackie set the bar high. She delivered, each year, the most gripping and complete of stories, needing the lightest of edits which we tended to do over the phone. She was utterly professional and committed. She knew the value of a deadline, and she simply loved what she did. Jackie gave her all to her readers year after year after year, never short-changed them, never stinted. Each cast of characters, familiar and new, each twist and turn of storyline, might have looked effortless and simple to craft, but so much thought and imagination and risk-taking went into her writing. Beware those who dismiss the kind of fiction that she wrote as lightweight, throwaway, superficial, easy to write. Jackie was a clever, clever writer. She knew how to entertain, to intrigue, to take her readers into a world that she lived and breathed, but she was never patronising or arrogant. Her fiction in many ways defined her – and, to know and love Jackie, she was one incredibly strong, upright, compassionate, wise, astute woman.
I can see her now, a broad smile on her face, a glint in her eye, her sense of fun and the absurd shining through. Standing tall and elegant, natural and relaxed, putting everyone she met at their ease and remembering their names, stylish and gorgeous, belying the myth of beyond-reach Hollywood glamour. As her novels are totally approachable and mesmerising, so was Jackie.
Here at S&S we long for one more novel from Jackie, for one more conversation with her, for one more meeting together. We long for the chance to say to her a heartfelt farewell and thank-you. Yet we know how fortunate we were – and still are – to be Jackie Collins’ UK publisher, with an entire oeuvre to take to a whole new generation of readers. Lucky, lucky them. What a world they have yet to discover.”