How have you been affected by the recent earthquakes in LA?
We recently had two earthquakes right under Beverly Hills, where I live. You get tossed out of bed in the middle of the night. A few paintings fell off the wall and smashed and all the cupboards flew open in my study, but other than that it was fine. I usually just run into a doorway and hope the house isn't going to collapse.
Your latest novel is The Power Trip. What’s it about?
It's set on a yacht in Cabo San Lucas (Mexico). It's about a group of very famous people – the cheating politician and his wife, the handsome fiftysomething movie star with a young girlfriend who he doesn't want to marry, the gay Latin singing star with his older English boyfriend, the Russian billionaire with his supermodel girlfriend, the black Brit footballer and his designer wife. They set out on this vacation and on the way they get attacked by Somali pirates, Russian gangsters and Mexican gangsters. It's quite a trip.
What did you think of E L James’s erotic novel, Fifty Shades of Grey?
It's not my kind of heroine, because my heroines kick ass, they don't get their ass kicked. But I think it's interesting that women are finally discovering sex in books. I know that my fans have always discovered sex in my books and I'm getting a lot of tweets from people saying they don't know what all the fuss is about, but I think it's fabulous that a woman can have achieved so much and brought so many people into the bookstores.
Has Fifty Shades put more pressure on you to make your novels more explicit?
Absolutely not. I've always written extremely erotic sex. In Hollywood Divorces, one of my characters would have incredible sexual trysts with guys in hotels where she would become somebody else, wear wigs and role play, and that to me is more exciting. What Fifty Shades has done is titillate people who don't really understand what being submissive is.
You’re a Hollywood insider – what’s the latest gossip?
It's always about who's breaking up with who. It's like musical beds here. Every young starlet seems to sleep with every young guy. You have the Katy Perry thing at the moment. She's with John Mayer, who was with Taylor Swift and Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson. It's quick-change beds.
What’s your life like amongst the Hollywood A-listers?
Well, I can dip in and dip out. When I'm writing I'll be in my house, then at night I might venture out, either to a friend's house or to a restaurant. The other night, a friend called me to ask me to the VMA (Video Music Awards) party and I went along. I was writing all day, then I got done up and found myself at a party meeting Akon, which was really fun, and mixing with all the rappers.
So, how much partying do you do?
Not a lot. I have that attitude of ‘been there, done that'. I like to go to three huge parties a year – one is the Vanity Fair party for the Oscars, where you see everyone from Tom Cruise to the Beckhams, then the Clive Davis pre-Grammy party is another sensational event where you see everyone in the music business, from Rod Stewart to Beyonce, and then there's the Carousel Ball, a charity event, which this year is honouring George Clooney, so that should be fun.
You’ve been described as a ‘raunchy moralist’.
I like that description. My books are very moral in a way because I believe if a guy's going to cheat on his wife, he's going to get caught and punished, but I've always written a lot about sex and the double standard, which does still exist. People still think it's OK for the guy to sleep around, but if the woman does it, she's a slut. But I am a moralist. If they're single, they can hang from the palm trees and do whatever they want; but if they're married, they should have a moral compass, otherwise why get married?
How do you and your sister Joan really get on?
We get on so well. She's in the south of France at the moment but she does have an apartment in LA and when she comes here we hang out all the time. Percy (Joan's husband) is the most fabulous guy. He's her best husband yet. We go to the movies, we go shopping, but then she goes off to London or the south of France. We're not in each other's pockets.
Does she read your books?
Well, she's just read The Power Trip and says it was ‘unputdownable', which I'm very flattered about because she doesn't usually make a comment.
You’ve been married twice but are now single. Are you dating?
I'm single, ready to mingle. I have a man for every occasion. It's great being married if you're going to raise a family. I have a most incredible family (she has three daughters) and now I just enjoy my friends and an occasional tryst. I don't want to be in a relationship because I find it too confining. I don't want someone saying, ‘Don't buy a red car, buy a blue one', and I want to be able to hop on a plane to Paris tomorrow if I feel like it, without someone saying you can't do that.
After living in the US for more than 20 years, do you miss the UK?
Well, I come back at least twice a year and my first stop is Marks & Spencer for its sandwiches, and Ryman for its books and pens. I have simple tastes.
Are there more books on the cards?
I'm writing The Lucky Santangelo Cookbook, which is a bunch of Italian recipes with illustrations of Lucky and little scenes I've written. I'm also writing Confessions Of A Wild Child, which is a young Lucky when she was a teenager, and a new novel called The Santangelos.
The Power Trip by Jackie Collins is published by Simon & Schuster, priced £16.99. Available now.