Her third book, “Trading Up” (Hyperion), coming out in July — and guaranteed to be burning up beaches from Bridgehampton to Bondi — is filled with sex, of course. But it also boasts of details architectural, financial and social that prove Bushnell’s been doing her homework.
“A lot of people have been mentioning the Tom Wolfe thing to me,” Bushnell admits, calling from the Manhattan apartment she shares with her husband of a year, dancer Charles Askegard. But Bushnell’s latest, which follows the life of Victoria’s Secret supermodel Janey Wilcox, was also inspired by Edith Wharton and Jacqueline Susann’s “Valley of the Dolls.”
As Wilcox spends another summer in the Hamptons, she catches the eye of a major movie mogul, an old money socialite and a handsome polo player, her story divulging as much detail about the media world, money and men as shopping, fashion and hairstyles.
“I didn’t have to do that much research about New York and the buildings,” says Bushnell. “I walk the streets staring at these buildings, like one at Park and 64th, and dream of buying them.”
As for getting into the minds of men — corporate and otherwise — Bushnell used the silent treatment. “I kept my eyes and ears open everywhere I went,” she says. “I may not be able to remember what I did last night, but when I’m writing, I remember everything people have said, and I travel in a lot of circles. I talk to tons of guys when I go out — nice, single, assholes, married — about what they think and feel.”
Bushnell penned the first draft before she met Askegard through a friend at the New York City Ballet, and finished the final draft after they’d been married. “I did take a lot of those feelings of being married and applied them to the second draft — that feeling of being in love,” she says. “I finally do believe that all New York women can meet a great guy if they’re patient enough — and if the timing is right.”