It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a book with a bright pink cover is not something I end up liking. Not even something any intellectual girl who dares to call herself that, wants to be seen with, specially after I spent my teenage years voraciously reading the classics and eventually graduating with a distinction in English Literature. Well, Candace Bushnell has changed all that. Her latest novel “Killing Monica” -with pink bright cover to go with it- was a very enjoyable read. Light, fast paced, slightly goofy and with a nice little message in the end. It was perfect for my beach vacation where I was looking for something simple and fun. “Killing Monica” is a story about fame, love, and foolishness that will keep you enthralled to the very last scene. It also has Candace trademark humor and style. I’m a Sex and The City big time fan, I loved watching again and again the ladies and their constant break ups and make ups. When the chance came to meet Candace Bushnell herself , the creator of Sex and The city, and the inspiration behind Carrie Bradshaw, I was just as excited as when Charlotte got engaged.
I arrived to Hampton Court, London, where The Radio Times Festival was going on and Candace was there making her first UK festival appearance while promoting her latest work. Not only was she genuinely warm, she was also smily, extremely funny and yes,effortlessly glamorous and timeless. It was pretty clear that there is a lot of Candace Bushnell in her most famous character, Carrie Bradshaw.
- Who are your literary influences Candance ?
-I mentioned the lovely writer Jackie Collins who recently passed away and she sadly acknowledged this but mentioned – She was great but she was not an influence, same as I don’t think I’m an influence to anyone, my biggest influence are writers such as Evelyn Waugh or Graham Greene.
- What’s your writing process like?
If lucky, I’m struck by inspiration so I would sit down and write 30 or 40 pages!. This, of course, hardly ever happens. I usually don’t know what the plot will be like when I sit down to write a new novel. For me writing is a one of a kind performance where noting is mapped out. That is how I like it, I like writing without knowing what is about to happen.
- Does writing feel like a lonely process to you?
Not at all. I spend a lot of time by myself and I am happy to spend two or three days by myself without seeing anybody and just be working. I never feel lonely. I always feel like I’ve got these characters with me.”
- After the success of “Sex and the City”, did you consider a career in television?
Not really,being a producer for example, is a very unglamorous job, you are on set 13,14 hours a day deciding for hours whether a flower pot should stay in the shot or not (laughs) . I also don’t enjoy being on set, there is a hierarchy that I dislike. You get all these people looking after you, asking whether you would like a soup or a tea and I look at them and say: I can make it myself, thanks! But they will ask me again and again. I’m very glad I was part of a very successful show but I won’t be writing a series of the ladies in their 50’s or 60’s .
- What is being a Novelist for you?
For me being a novelist is like imagining your wedding before you even had a date.It sounds crazy but it is.
- Could you explain that?
Some of us women, when we go on a date for the first time, we are kind of hoping he is the one, so when we meet him and even if we don’t know much about him yet, we already imagine the wedding, the honeymoon and how the children will look like when in reality nothing has happened at all and we may not even connect. Writing a novel for me is similar since when I sit down to write, I have no idea what the ending will be or where the characters will take me but somehow, I know that there will be a novel at the end of the process even if the page is still blank. Same as the relationship the first time you have a date.It could be nothing but a date or it could lead to a relationship with a marriage and children and a happy ever after life together.
- How does it feel writing for television and switching from being a novelist to scriptwriter?
Scriptwriting is very different to writing a novel. When you write a script you do it for someone else, it’s up to them to decide where the emphasis goes, however when you write a novel you have full control.I just don’t get all these out of university script consultants or television execs who for all I know have only read manuals on “how to write a screenplay”, saying : “I can’t see the arch of your character, the character doesn’t change, she doesn’t go from “a” to “b” to “z”. I can’t see the structure clearly”. As I said , I don’t like the hierarchy of television, I like to be the one in control of my writing, my characters and my plots. I’m my own boss.
I left the event feeling like I had just met a kick ass smart woman full of life, spark and feminine charm. One of those people with an innate “Je ne sais quo”. Whatever that is, she has it.