In the '90s, writer Candace Bushnell prompted women to openly discuss topics such as sex, dating and womanhood through her popular column, Sex And The City (SATC), in the New York Observer. Later, her articles were compiled in a book, made into a famous TV series, and subsequently, adapted into two films.
As the bestselling author releases her new book, Killing Monica, she talks to us over the phone from New York, USA, about how she wants to write mystery novels, her upcoming line of emojis, and more.
What prompted you to write your new book?
The idea came to me when I was thinking about identity, reinvention and creativity. During that time, I was reading a book by Philip Roth called Zuckerman Unbound. It is a funny book about a writer, and I could relate to it. So, I decided to write a book with a similar idea.
When you wrote your column, SATC, there were talks that it is largely inspired from your own life. Is your new book autobiographical in any sense?
No, it is all fiction. It makes me laugh that people think that it's autobiographical. The main character in Killing Monica lives in a big loft, and has movie stars for boyfriends. She dates famous men. I have never done any of those things. I have a regular life; it is pretty boring. All I do is write books. So, I have to make things up.
Do you think SATC changed how people approach topics related to sex?
I think SATC really resonated with women because they found it very empowering. They could see other women talking about the same issues and topics. So, they felt empowered to talk about themselves too. In a way, it started a conversation.
Will we see another sequel to the SATC film series?
I don't know, but I would like to see one more.
A still from the film Sex And The City.
You wrote your first story at the age of 19. Over the past three decades, you have authored a string of bestselling novels. Has your approach towards writing changed over the years?
I'm much more focused now than I was when I was younger. Now that I am older, I feel that I have more freedom to spend my time the way I want, and I don't really care about what people think. I have spent about 30 years looking for men, and being with men, and it's great. But one doesn't have to do this forever. What is important is to be a strong and independent woman. In that regard, I'm being a little more experimental [with my writing], which is something that I like, and my publishers probably don't (laughs).
Have you ever thought of writing anything radically different?
Writers have a voice, and you go with that voice whatever genre you work in. I sometimes think of working in other genres like mystery or history, but it's hard. I can do it, but it means that I would have to take a chance.
How did the popularity of Sex And The City (SATC) affect you personally?
It's difficult to explain. It happened very slowly. In the public, it seemed that it became big all of a sudden, but I started writing SATC (the column) six years before it became really popular. I didn't know anything about TV or Hollywood. I never even thought that it will become popular or that anyone will even watch it.
As a writer, when your work is adapted into a movie, how much control do you have on what is being portrayed?
You really don't have any control. But I didn't even want any control. So many people are involved when you make a movie. And these are people who know the art well. So, I didn't want to tell them what to do. The most important thing is that people bring out their best work. You always want something you have worked on to look good.
Have you ever suffered from writer's block?
That's a normal thing. It happens as part of the process of writing and creating. One always comes to a situation, where you have to do a lot of problem-solving. But it usually doesn't last very long.
What are you working on currently?
I'm working on a line of emojis for my new book. By mid-July, I'll start writing another book.