This page is a dedication to the great ball-busting author Jackie Collins. She is my author mentor and inspiration, and I want to be like her. Desperately! I try to write my adult novels in the same style as hers, as she wrote the best books about Hollywood celebrities from A-Z. She lived it, she breathed it, she died in it. Hollywood, the place to be for all salacious novels.
Here’s my Jackie experience, along with some of my favourite photos and quotes.
THAT ONE MOMENT
We all have that one moment, that one day, that we remember a particular event happening.
It’s Sunday the 20th of September 2015, at one o’clock in the afternoon, Australian time. I was working and listening to the radio in my office when the news came through that Jackie Collins had passed away.
I cried out in disbelief and my head spun to stare at the radio. How could she possibly have died when she didn’t look sick, hadn’t said anything. I was checking her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages, and had only just answered one of her questions a week before. I went into shock. How could Jackie be gone?
I turned on my phone and checked Facebook and there they were, a plethora of posts about her passing. I shed tears. Lots of them.
It’s hard to describe the feelings one has when they lose a mentor. To lose someone you look up to. Someone that means the world to you even though you’d never met them. Business experts tell us to find a mentor, whether they know you’ve made them your mentor or not, and to follow the things they do that work, and ignore the things that don’t.
That’s Jackie for me, because there will never be another Jackie Collins. There will never be another ball-busting, bonkbuster writing, rollicking author as Jackie. Her sense of humour, her knowledge, her…everything.
She didn’t take bullshit, lived her life the way she wanted, had husbands and lovers (now there’s a book title), and wrote what she wanted without giving a damn. She was strong and gutsy, ballsy and rollicking, a fabulous dresser, and a woman who made her heroines tough, fierce ass kickers, and she is who I aspire to be when I grow up.
A scene from one of Jackie’s books was stuck in my head, and I kept thinking I wanted to write a book with a character like that in it. It inspired me to write my first novel, The Road to Vegas, in 2006.
Jackie was an inspiration for those of us wanting to write and be writers. She inspired me to write shorter chapters than the normal 20-25 pages dictated by publishers, and to write how I wanted instead of how the publishing world expected me to.
I loved a lot of things about Jackie. Her saucy secrets, her books, her vast collection of blazers she designed herself, her house, and the amazing adventures she had. I can only dream of having a gorgeous house with seven writing desks and a huge decorated office with rows and rows of my books in hardcover and paperback.
I also put a dedication to her in The Road to Vegas, and spoke of her in my second novel, Hollywood Dreams. Jackie loved putting Australian characters in her books, so I reciprocated by talking about her in several of mine. She’ll also have her place here on my website, because as my inspiration, she’s not going anywhere.
In 2007 when she was here in Aus on morning tv, and I was struck with the idea to write her a letter on her website. She answered on her site and subsequently answered a second question. I didn’t get to take a screenshot of it as I didn’t know how on my old laptop, but did manage to copy/paste her replies into word.
Tiara King in Adelaide (my questions)
Q: 1 – was it easy for you to first become published?
Q: 2 – how long does it take you to write a book from the very first idea to when it’s done and do you write your book from start to finish, or do you write each person’s story, then weave it all together?
Q: 3 – what is the genre of your books these days? Is it “romantic suspense” or “erotica?” And when does it cross the line and become erotica? When there’s romance, sex, murder, stalkers, killers in any one book, that’s quite a few genres.
There’s also something I hope you can help me with. For years I had a very vague idea of a book that I wanted to write and I kept thinking of a scene I read in one of your books. I kept thinking, that’s the sort of book I want to write, but for the life of me can’t remember the book. There was a man that made his woman strip down and serve his business friends drinks. She fluffed her hair, put on a gold belt, lipstick and stilettos then walked into the living room and asked the men what they wanted to drink. They stared in shock at the naked woman in front of them and then she walked back into the bedroom. That was one of yours, wasn’t it? I’ve only read a few of your books, but that scene clearly stuck in my head. So much so it’s been there for about ten years.
Jackie’s replies on her site.
Hey Tiara: Great name. Let me answer your questions.
1 – It was not easy, but I managed it.
2 – It takes me about nine months to write a book, and my characters take me on a visual trip.
3 – I would call my books “relationship” books, and they would probably be listed under literature, although I consider myself a storyteller, not a literary writer!
And the book you are talking about was The Love Killers, and yes indeed, it was one of mine.
Tiara King in Adelaide (my second lot)
Hi Jackie, I think my name’s great too, so if you ever want to use it for a character name, be my guest, just make me a hot, sexy, ass-kicking woman. Lol. I have a couple more questions:
Q: 1 – Who first suggested cutting down the chapters from the “normal size” to just a page or two. You or the publisher? I’ve found that a little strange since publishers like 20-25 page manuscript chapters, and in reading some of your books the chapter is sometimes only a page or two long. Although in thinking about it, it seems that each person’s story is a chapter and so the book flows that way. I’m curious as to why they are short, who thought of doing it and do you write that way?
Q: 2 – I heard you say when you were here in Australia that you don’t type, so does that mean you don’t type up your books – I know you write in longhand, so do I – I figure you have an assistant, so I just wondered how you present the book to your editor. If that’s not too rude a question.
Jackie’s replies on her site.
Nobody suggested cutting down the chapters, that’s the way I write. I think short chapters are fun. I remember when I was growing up and reading books, I would be in bed at night really tired and I could never get to the end of the chapter because they went on forever. So, my style of writing is short sharp chapters that really capture the characters and what is going on in their life. To answer your second question, I have a great assistant, Vida, who puts my handwriting onto the computer and types up all my books.
In the years following those inspirational comments, I continued writing sexy, sassy, kick-ass romances the way Jackie did. With Falling for London and The Billionaire’s Dirty Little Secret following Hollywood Dreams and The Road to Vegas. Jackie had a way with words, and wrote the type of stories I wanted to be immersed in. About A-Z grade celebrities and Hollywood elites, alpha male bad boys and kick-ass good girls, and the glitzy, glamorous world they all lived in. The type of books I wanted to produce for myself and put out to the world as my own.
And in 2014, I did. I had the vague idea for a porn star before the ideas grew in early 2015. When she died, I knew I had to get it out of my head and onto paper, then out into the world, which I finally did, in 2016. Her death urged me on to write the initial novellas of Carlos, Pedro, Tomas and Retribution, which I rolled into one fabulous omnibus novel I called Porn Star Brothers. Then came the novels Forever, Love Never Dies, Stefan: The New Generation (a nod to Jackie’s Hollywood Wives: The New Generation), DeLuca, Spiros & Jenny, and And Always. Seven massive novels of a family saga consisting of 1,088,563 words, and full of salacious celebrities, glamour, money and power, all run by the kick-ass Stephanopoulos matriarch, Jennifer. The whole series is dedicated to Jackie because SHE IS the original LADY BOSS! And I believe the series is my best work when it comes to my adult novels. Not even my stand-alones come close.
Since that series, I’ve written, along with my kid’s horror stories, more novels. Anything for You is about an Australian author who falls in love with an A-list Hollywood actor who has a bitch of an ex-wife actress who’s dating a toyboy singer, and how their obsessions change their lives. The next novel to be released, on September 19th 2024, is about three hot, sexy people. A club owner, a band manager, and a detective, and the tragedies that brings them together for some hot sexy nights. Very Jackie-esque!
Before she passed, she liked two posts on my Jewel Divas Style Instagram page. After her passing, her account liked a Jewel Divas Style Instagram post, and a L.J. Diva Facebook post for Forever, my Porn Star Brothers series book, as I’d written in the post that the series was dedicated to her.
In January 2020, not long after I posted on my L.J. Diva Instagram account about some of the Jackie Collins books I’d recently acquired, which seemed to be incredibly rare, Jackie followed me.
I felt incredibly honoured and chuffed, but weird that my writing mentor and inspiration had followed me on social media. Honoured, because it’s an honour to have your writing mentor and inspiration follow you, and I’ll always treasure the posts she liked, but weird because she’d been gone for over four years.
I know it wasn’t actually her who followed me, and I wished it was, but her daughters who are running her social media. It’s hard to deal with when she still seems so very much alive, and yet so very much gone.
I have since closed the social media accounts for my pen name, L.J. Diva, in order to make my business life simpler, but I most definitely took screenshots before doing so.
A PARTICULAR EVENT HAPPENED
As I mentioned above, Jackie was here in Aus in May 2007. During this time, our TV awards, The Logies, was on and she appeared on a morning show called 9AM with David and Kim the morning after. She spoke about watching the Logies and loving Kim’s earrings, which Kim had borrowed for the awards and was still wearing. It was later revealed that Jackie bought those exact earrings while she was here.
During that conversation they talked about it being carer’s week. Jackie spoke of caring for her husband and fiancé during their cancers, and subsequent deaths, and how everyone’s so busy looking after the person who’s dying, that everyone forgets about the carers. And the carers are the ones dealing with the anger and resentment, which I related to as my mother’s carer. She’d also lost her mother to cancer, so it was a triple blow. And then she herself dies from cancer.
Her daughters had known for years, but she only revealed all to her siblings, Joan and Bill, when she visited London for a book tour the week before her death. After looking at the pictures from those last few weeks, it was clear to see Jackie’s face had become gaunt and thin. You could tell she was sick, and I assume she knew the end was possibly coming fast.
And Jackie worked until the end, with several books on the go, including her memoir. I’d love to read it, but sadly, that’s hasn’t been published and may never be. But I have the documentary, Lady Boss, to weep over, with never-before-seen images and videos of the ballbuster as she was.
I wish I’d met her, but never had the opportunity all of the times she was here in Aus. I always dreamed and believed that when my books hit it big, I would travel to America and meet her, but dreams are not always meant to come true. I’ll never get the chance to see her, talk with her, or even visit her house. If I’d had the millions, I would’ve bought her house just for the sake of it being Jackie Collins’ house. Imagine all of the inspiration oozing out of the desks and walls that I could have soaked in to write my own books. But sadly, I’ll never do any of it. That’s why I’ve downloaded all of the videos I could find on YouTube, so I can keep watching her, watching her life, watching her write her ballsy strong women.
Many times, when watching a video or ten, it seems as though she’s still here and you forget that she’s not. And every now and then, I have a little cry about her being gone. I’ll treasure the Jackie goodies I find online, and the fact my writing mentor and inspiration followed me on Instagram, liked several of my posts, and answered my questions on her website.
Jackie, you are so, so, sadly missed, but forever on the highest inspirational pedestal I can find. I celebrate your rollicking ballsy attitude, and pretend that on another plane of existence I am you. But If I’m not, can you please send your inspiration my way so I can write and produce many more novels like yours.
Forever and always, Tiara.
My collection is ever growing, so here are links if you want to see what goodies I’ve bought.
JACKIE’S SOCIAL MEDIA
Jackie’s daughters are still running her accounts.
JACKIE LIKED MY SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS BEFORE SHE PASSED
(RIGHT CLICK TO OPEN IMAGE IN A NEW TAB FOR A LARGER VERSION)
AND HER ACCOUNT LIKED MY POST AND FOLLOWED L.J. DIVA AFTER HER PASSING
(RIGHT CLICK TO OPEN IMAGE IN A NEW TAB FOR A LARGER VERSION)
MY FAVOURITE DESKS OF HERS
SOME FAVOURITE PICTURES TO BE INSPIRED BY
SOME FAVOURITE QUOTES TO BE INSPIRED BY