Wednesday, 21 September 2011

There's no-one quite like Jackie!

Jackie Collins, that is.  Yes, the absolute queen (in my eyes) of escapism, someone who can tell a damn good story and create characters that I actually feel sad saying goodbye to at the end of her books.  Which is why I love her 'Lucky' series of books.  Lucky Santangelo is one of those characters that was never destined to be featured in just one story, so knowing that a whole load of books about this incredible woman and her family and friends are out there means that I know there'll always be something I can find to read when I just want to lose myself in a boat-load of fantasy.

I've been having one of those days today where you kind of muse and reflect on things.  A slow day writing wise, but it gave me some time to sit back and think abut what really influenced me to become a writer, what made me finally decide to seriously put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard as it is now!) And it all really came back to Ms. Collins.

Now, I started reading books as soon as I could hold one in my hand, it's just something I've always loved.  From Enid Blyton to James Herbert, if the story's good and the characters are strong I'll read anything.  I just love a good story, a chance to get away from it all in the pages of a book.

And, to be honest, when I really want to get away from it all and escape to a completely different world - a world where the kitchen doesn't look like a whirlwind's hit it even though I've only opened a tin of beans, or the ironing pile isn't taller than I am - I reach for a Jackie Collins.  I must have read every book she's ever written - some of them more than once - and I've never read a bad one.

Now, I know she's not to everyone's taste but, let's face it, she has a massive fan base, and people obviously love her books.  Me included.  In my opinion she has a true talent to be able to conjure up stories and situations that you can really become a part of, and I've been known to get through one of her books in a day or two just because I can't bear to put it down!

But I've alwasy loved that kind of stuff.  From the days of Dallas and Dynasty I used to sit there infront of the TV and wonder what it must be like to live in that glamorous, over-the-top world.  Ofcourse, as I grew up, I realised nobody actually lives in that world, it's all created purely so we can forget everyday life for a little while and escape.  And that's what Jackie's books do for me.  They let me escape.

So, when it came to finally writing my own books, I'm not afraid to say that she was one of my biggest - if not the biggest - influence on me.  I remembered how I felt whenever I picked up one of her books, all ready to be transported off into that fantasy world of movie actors and rock stars, models and businessmen.  A strong and sexy world.  A world I wanted to live in, if just for a little while.

So I decided to create my own little worlds, in my own books.  Now, I'm not saying I'm trying to be Jackie by any stretch of the imagination.  Just because she influenced me doesn't mean to say that I'm trying to copy her.  Far from it.  I couldn't even if I tried.  But the excitement I get from picking up one of her novels - I wanted to be able to try and create that in my own books.  I wanted to, one day, hope that people would want to pick up one of my books and look forward to reading it as much as I look forward to a new Jackie Collins.  To have people use my books as escapism, that would be a dream. 

She influenced me in way that saw me know that it was ok to write books that are sunlounger favourites, that the masses enjoy, that don't necessarily stretch the imagination but instead let you use your imagination to picture the scenes and the characters that are put there infront of you.  Books that let you have your own vision, that give you the chance to make that story what you want it to be.

So, as far as I'm concerned, there's no-one quite like Jackie.  In the genre in which she writes she has it sewn up, she owns it.  I can't even compete.  But I'm just starting out, I'm still finding my feet in this extremely competitive and diverse industry.  But one thing I'm learning very fast is that, as a writer, you shouldn't be afraid to write what makes you happy.  Create your own identity and never stray from what you feel is right.  Write what makes you comfortable, because writing should be something you do because you love it.  Be influenced but don't try to copy.  That never works.  Influences help, they can guide you, give you inspiration, give you the strength to go forward on days when you feel like giving up because it just doesn't seem to be happening.

Ms. Jackie Collins - my inspiration.
I've mentioned before that I have a signed photogrpah of Jackie Collins that sits on my desk, with the words "Stay Lucky" emblazoned across it, and that photograph spurs me on when days like today take hold.  Days when I don't feel things are moving fast enough or going the way should.

I write because I love it.  I write because I want to create a world for people to lose themselves in.  A world they'll want to go back to time and time again.  And I'm doing that all because of a woman called Jackie Collins.

Now, if I'm not mistaken, she has a new book out that I haven't read yet...

If this has made you even in the slightest bit curious about any of my books, visit my other blog Michelle Betham: Author - It's All About The Books  for all the information you could possibly need on all of novels - including reviews and sample chapters, so you can even try before you buy!

And if you like the work of Jackie Collins, then give me a go!  You never know, you might like what you read!

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