"Sex and the City" author Candace Bushnell has made a pretty good career out of writing books about grown women with strong identities and complex lives. So why, for her sixth novel, would she decide to go back and tackle that confusing, angsty age of 17? And why do it with Carrie Bradshaw, a character many readers feel like they know better than their best friends?
" 'The Carrie Diaries' is the book I wish I had written when I was 17," Bushnell told MTV News earlier this week, when the young adult novel hit shelves. "I've always wanted to tell the story of a young woman who comes to New York. It's my story. I grew up in a pretty small town and I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was 8. And I came to New York when I was 19. I was very young and very determined. It's something that I've always wanted to write about and I thought, 'Who better to take on that journey than Carrie Bradshaw?' "
To make the book feel right for a younger audience, Bushnell chose to write in the first person, present tense. Other than that, she said, "I actually didn't make a lot of changes to my tone or style.
"I really tried to capture emotionally what it's like to be a teenager," said the author, who described finding her own journal from her teen years. "Everything is so big [at that age]. You feel like you're in a tree and all you can see is that one tree, you can't see the whole forest."
And while "The Carrie Diaries" does bring back familiar elements of the funny, fashionable character Bushnell created in her mid-'90s columns for the New York Observer, die-hard fans of the book, TV show and movies are going to notice a few big differences. For instance, in the new novel, Carrie's mother died when she was young, and she lives with two spunky young sisters and an absent-minded rocket-scientist dad. In the original "SATC," Carrie visits both parents for a weekend, and if she ever had sisters in the book or TV show, we'd surely have heard from them during one Big crisis or another, right?
After vaguely answering that these changes just "feel right," Bushnell explained how this new family shapes the strong woman we're more familiar with. "She's the leader of her little family," she said. "That's something that she carries forth in her relationships with her friends and in her future relationships with women. She comes from a very female-centric family, which seems right to me. This is not a girl who grew up saying, 'I want to get married. Boys are this way and girls are another.' "
So, while she sits down to write more about 1980 for "The Carrie Diaries 2," what's it like to sit back and watch the ladies' 2010 adventures in "Sex and the City 2"?
"Michael Patrick King does an absolutely fantastic job, so for me, honestly, it's so much fun," she said. "It's amazing. I'm always, in a way, flattered by it."
Check out everything we've got on "Sex and the City 2."
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