Some people might be surprised to find a copy of Jackie Collins' 1988 novel Rock Star on my shelves. Admittedly, it not quite my type of book but it is inscribed, "For Brian with love, Jackie" and is a memento of a fascinating encounter.
I was to interview the author for a programme on the BBC World Service and, to begin with, it did not look set to go well. On her arrival, Ms Collins was clearly in a far from happy mood and snappily observed that she hope that this interview was going to go better than the one she had just recorded for another BBC network.
"Oh," I asked innocently, "What went wrong?" Back came the whiplash reply: "The idiot interviewing me asked: 'Well now, what can I possibly ask Jackie Collins, that she's never been asked before?' To which I replied: 'Why ask me? I thought that was your job!'"
Ho-hum, I thought... I guess I can't do any worse than that! And, mercifully, I did a good deal better - maybe because I'd taken the trouble to actually Ms Collins' chunky doorstop of a novel.
Towards the end of the interview - by which time Jackie and I were clearly getting on considerably better than expectations - I commented on a remark made by one of the characters who had observed:
“Sex is the most important thing in the world - more important even than money…”
“So," I cheekily enquired, wondering if I dared ask the question, "what’s most important to Jackie Collins ---- sex or money?”
“Both!” she replied without a second’s pause, “and, preferably, together!”
"Thank you," I purred.
"No, thank you!" she purred back. "And shall I sign your book...?"