What was your favorite book as a child?
I loved British author Enid Blyton, who wrote these fantastic fantasy and adventure stories. She kind of fired my imagination. By the time I was 10, I moved on to Harold Robbins.
Yes. [Laughs] I was an advanced child.
Is there a book that you go back to time and again?
Well, I have two of them. One is The Great Gatsby because I just love the mystery about it, and I love Jay Gatsby. I read that every year. Also, The Godfather by Mario Puzo — love that book, too. I like the men in those books because they’re very mysterious, strong, and macho.
Which fictional character do you most identify with?
Lucky Santangelo. I’ve written seven books about her. She’s so strong and positive that I’d like to come back as her in another life.
I think a lot of your fans would. Why is that?
She’s kick-ass. She does all the things that they would like to do and says all the things they would like to say but they don’t have the balls to do it and she has the balls for them.
Is there a classic you’ve secretly never read?
Jane Eyre. I always feel I should have read that because people, you know, talk about it and carry on about it. I just never got around to it. My formative years of reading were all Harold Robbins and Mickey Spillane and Terry Southern.
What book would you use to kill a bug?
Ooh, that’s interesting. Anything by Barbara Cartland. I can’t stand flowery romance books. They’re totally boring, and she once said to me in a television interview, ”Miss Collins, you are responsible for all the perverts in England.” So I said, ”Thank you!” What are you supposed to do in a case like that?
I think exactly what you did.
Yes, exactly! So I’d kill a bug with that.