Publishing colleagues past and present have lined up to pay tribute to "extraordinary" and "irreplaceable" Jackie Collins, author of "bonkbuster" classics including Hollywood Wives and The Stud, who has died of breast cancer aged 77, just days after the release of her latest novel.
From Simon & Schuster, her UK frontlist publisher for the past 15 years, c.e.o. Ian Chapman said: "Jackie was, by any measurement, truly one of a kind. Her personality, her pioneering spirit and over thirty novels have given endless joy to readers worldwide. She will be sorely missed, and our thoughts are very much with her family." Suzanne Baboneau, Collins' editor, said: "A world without Jackie - and a world without Lucky Santangelo - is somehow unimaginable. Jackie's characters may have been larger than life but they were always true to life. Jackie was a wonderful author to work with, so professional, astute, kind, loving, and passionate about her writing and her readers. She set the bar high in every way."
Meanwhile at Pan Macmillan, which published Collins until her move to S&S in 2000, and continued to publish her backlist until 2011, publisher Jeremy Trevathan said: "She was an extraordinary woman who oozed glamour and glitz and who epitomised what many people believe to be the dazzling, blockbuster author's lifestyle. But the whole thing was underpinned by a steely knowledge of her market and her readership and a complete openness of heart and mind to anyone. She held firm views about her jacket creatives and her marketing, but she worked like a dog to make it all happen."
He added: "My fondest memory of her is a meeting to discuss her backlist jackets, when she'd left us to go to S&S, and we were in the meeting and she said something and then realised how much she sounded like the French & Saunders spoof of her in the 'Lucky Bitches' sketch. She didn't take herself too seriously either."
Jacqui Graham, Collins' former publicist for many years at Pan Mac, said: "I simply cannot believe Jackie is no longer with us. She was such a force of nature and such a truly special woman, author and friend to so many. It was an absolute joy and an utter privilege to work with her for over 20 years and I had the best fun ever in the whole of my working life during that time. I have amazing memories of being whisked off to parties at Tramp, both in London and LA, where every single person - apart from me - was unbelievably, recognisably famous, but being brilliantly looked after by her; plus endless, hilarious train journeys and marvellous times in TV studios and restaurants.
"She made you work jolly hard, however, because that’s exactly what she did herself, and she had very high standards and expectations. She was the ultimate, consummate professional, and never failed to deliver on her books, interviews or appearances. But she always believed in having fun at the same time and she always delivered on that too.
"She believed in strong women, both in her books and in life; in that, she was a trailblazer and an inspiration. She was brave, generous, funny, stylish and she is irreplaceable."
Former S&S publicist Nigel Stoneman also paid tribute, commenting: "Jackie was a consummate professional and a dream to work with. She had the ability to make everyone feel special, from the sound guy holding the boom to the novice journalist on their first interview. On long magazine shoots she made sure the entire crew had lunch and a glass of wine or beer at the end of the day. She really cared about people. Her schedules were often 12 hour days and multiple locations. She never complained and was lovely to everyone. She loved promoting her books and we had so much fun over the 15 years I worked with her. I will miss her dearly."
Chris White, fiction buyer at Waterstones, added the bookseller's angle, saying: "Such sad news. I thought she was amazing. She carved out a extraordinary niche for herself and became that rarest of things: a literary superstar. I met her once and she was everything you’d expect: glamorous, funny, gossipy and incredibly smart. The world’s a duller place for her passing."
Nielsen BookScan data shows Jackie Collins has sold a total of 2,754,552 books, worth £17.04m, in the UK since records began in 1998. Her most recent book The Santangelos, released on 10th September, has sold 2,553 for £25,682 thus far. Her biggest seller since 1998 was 2003's Deadly Embrace, which sold 185,742 copies to a value of £844,278.
Photo credit to Lorin Davis