During the first “Sex and the City” movie, Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big — after six television seasons of an on-again, off-again relationship — finally marry. After a second movie concludes, we’re led to believe life has a happy ending for Bradshaw, a character considered to be the alter ego of creator Candace Bushnell and who has been played on the big and small screens by Sarah Jessica-Parker.
On a recent Saturday morning, Bushnell was asked what her real-life happy ending would be.
“You get to a certain age where you realize a happy ending is a painless death,” says the best-selling author, now 56 and divorced, who lives in Connecticut with her “crazy poodles” when not enjoying her apartment in New York City.
The author most recently of the novel “Killing Monica” is set to appear at The Book Stall in Winnetka on Friday evening, June 26, her first visit to the esteemed spot that has hosted scores of established writers. The novel — whose protagonist is a female author who wants to kill off her hugely successful fictional character Monica and who has suffered a falling out with the actress who plays Monica in movies — has prompted suggestions Bushnell is writing about herself and Jessica-Parker, which she denies (the claims have stirred up plenty of publicity for the book). Celebrity worship, fame and other topics Bushnell is well versed in are also found in “Killing Monica”.
“It’s like a screwball comedy,” she says. “It’s much more clearly a farce than the other novels.”
A fan of long-ago writers such as Edith Wharton and Evelyn Waugh as well as contemporaries such as Elin Hilderbrand, Bushnell has been writing professionally since age 19. The chick-lit author of novels such as “Lipstick Jungle” and “One Fifth Avenue” says writer’s block doesn’t faze her.
“I’ve been writing for so long that I’m comfortable when I’m stuck — eventually one pushes through,” Bushnell notes. “I have the times like everyone else when it’s a beautiful day and I can’t concentrate.”
Though many think the 1990s New York Observer columnist catapulted to fame quickly on the back of her “Sex and the City” work, that really wasn’t the case.
“It happened very slowly. The book was out for a few years, and it was really two years of the show being on the air (on HBO) when it took off.”
Though Bushnell didn’t act in the show or in the movies, she was often recognized in Manhattan — and sometimes wishes she wasn’t. One guy came up to her on the street and said he knew of a rich man who throws parties where the men dress in diapers and the women wear nurses’ outfits. He said Bushnell had to see it. She demurred.
“That was the weirdest thing that happened to me around the show,” she says.
She won’t have to worry about those types of encounters in Winnetka. Though she doesn’t enjoy traveling to events like the one at The Book Stall, she’s always happy when she arrives. Says Bushnell, “Book signings are really fun. You get to meet your fans.”
Editor in Chief of The North Shore Weekend newspaper