"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Monday, September 21, 2015

Remembering Jackie Collins

We were stunned and saddened to learn of the passing of author Jackie Collins on Saturday from breast cancer. She fought the illness bravely, and in private it seems, as few knew about the diagnosis until days before her passing. Diagnosed six years ago, she completed five more bestsellers, as well as numerous book tours and public appearances. She was just 77 and leaves behind three daughters and six grandchildren.

Ms. Collins was a frequent visitor to Book Soup, often bringing her children and grandchildren with her. She was always dressed to the nines and the energy would change when she swept in.  She was lively and engaging with staff and it was a real kick to see other shoppers take note of her. Even if they didn't know exactly who she was, they could tell she was formidable.

Jackie Collins published her first book, The World Is Full of Married Men in 1968 and went on to write more than 30 books, translated into many languages, and selling 500 million copies worldwide. Those are the kind of numbers that most authors only dream of.

I remember taking a phone call one Saturday morning shortly after I first started working here. It was Jackie and her sister Joan calling from the car to inquire about books in stock. They were on their way down to the store. I spoke to them both and couldn't believe my good fortune! They were delightful with everyone and elegant in a way that you just don't see in Hollywood these days.

We hosted Jackie a number of times over the year and I was lucky enough to be assigned to what would be her last event with us in February of 2014.  She drew a great crowd and I was amazed by her interaction with her fans. They knew everything about her but what was surprising to me was how much she knew about them.  She remembered names and personal details and made everyone feel special and welcome. It was something to see. Someone in the audience asked her how she stayed so young and she replied, "Sex, sex, sex!" The crowd roared. She could have done that book signing at a  larger venue but she wanted to help us out and we're so grateful.

She was a constant champion of Book Soup and we will miss her immensely.