Sex and the City 2 isn’t hitting theatres until the end of the month, but for Carrie Bradshaw fans, the release of The Carrie Diaries — author Candace Bushnell’s teen prequel to her original 1997 novel Sex and the City — should serve as a good fix.
It’s Carrie’s coming-of-age story and takes readers back to 1979 and her life as a high school senior in small-town Connecticut.
“I tried to capture the emotional realities of being 17,” says Bushnell, 51, over the phone from New York, where she is kicking off a whirlwind North American book tour to launch this, her sixth novel.
“I had an especially great time writing The Carrie Diaries because I love the character Carrie.”
Not only does Diaries focus on Carrie’s first love, but it also touches on her evolving sense of fashion and her dreams of one day becoming a writer.
Like her character, Bushnell grew up dreaming of being a writer and living in Manhattan. “It was something that I dreamed of doing since I was a little kid,” she says. “And, like Carrie, when I was in high school, I knew what I wanted to do, but I had no idea how to get there.”
Similarly to Carrie, Bushnell moved to the Big Apple at 18 and became a columnist while struggling to pay the bills. As her 20s rolled into her 30s, Bushnell also became (like Carrie) a bona fide New York celebrity, dating a bevy of wealthy bachelors (including publishing giant Ronald A. Galotti who is rumoured to be the inspiration for Mr. Big).
Aside from her career-defining Sex and the City, Bushnell has penned several other smash-hit, chick-lit novels, including Four Blondes (2001), Trading Up (2003), Lipstick Jungle (2005), which was also adapted into a TV series, and One Fifth Avenue (2008).
In 2002, at the age of 43, Bushnell settled down, getting hitched to Charles Askegard, a dancer with the New York City Ballet, to whom she remains happily married.
So what has the woman behind Carrie Bradshaw learned about love?
“It’s what you bring and it’s your attitude,” she says. “You always hear people say, ‘Oh, I have to find my other half,’ but you kind of have to be a whole to begin with.”
Unlike Carrie, however, Bushnell reveals her biggest splurge wasn’t on shoes, clothes or jewelry. “Ohhhhhh, it was real estate. That’s all I’m going to say,” she says.
Bushnell is already working on a follow up to Diaries.
“It’s (Carrie’s) first summer in New York and gosh, I think anybody’s first summer in the big city is full of adventure,” she says of her next novel. “There’s still so many more books I want to write and I feel like, 'Hey, I’m not dead yet!'”