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April 26, 2011 12:01 AM

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Candace Bushnell Dishes on New 'Sex and the City' Prequel

Her first novel launched an iconic HBO series and two feature films, but Candace Bushnell isn't ready to give up on the story of four friends making it in the big city....

Her first novel launched an iconic HBO series and two feature films, but Candace Bushnell isn't ready to give up on the story of four friends making it in the big city. Today, the writer who made Carrie Bradshaw a household name is releasing the second installment in her "Sex and the City" prequel series "The Carrie Diaries," which follows the title character as a teenager during her first summer in NYC.

Readers see an entirely different side of Bradshaw in "Summer and the City" -- whether she's struggling to find her voice as a writer, adjusting to life outside of the Midwest or looking for the perfect opportunity to lose her virginity. They also discover how she linked up with the three friends who would inevitably define her life as a single woman in her Thirties.

WWD caught up with Bushnell to discuss the characters and her own experiences as a writer.

In the book, we see some pretty different sides of the characters -- for one, Carrie is a virgin, and Samantha is in a serious relationship. Was it a challenge to make the characters cohesive with who they are on the series, while still making them younger/more naive?

Not really. Every character has a back-story -- what the reader sees, in a sense, is the tip of the iceberg. The characters don't exist in a vacuum -- when we first meet them in the book and series in the mid-1990's, in their Thirties and single in New York -- they are, in a sense, in the middle of their stories. Which is what makes the Carrie Diaries series so satisfying. We see different sides of the characters, which make them much more complex and interesting.     

How does the reader see Carrie evolve from the first Carrie Diaries novel?
She has more confidence; now that she's finally away from home, she can discover and explore new parts of herself.

Had you always planned on writing a prequel about how the characters met, or was it an idea born after the series?
There was no grand scheme to any of it -- the book, the series, the movies, and the Carrie Diaries series. It started back in 1994, when the column Sex and the City launched to much success, and when we made the pilot, we had no idea whether or not it would even be picked up for one season. After the first season, we didn't know if we'd get a second, etc. So all of these things simply evolved over time.

When you started your career as a writer, did you ever experience the same writing struggles Carrie does?
Sure. Every writer -- every person who engages in the creative or performing arts -- has the same issues with confidence, despair, jealousy and competition. In order to succeed, you must be able to live without instant gratification and without certainty about your future.

Did you find writing to be harder when you were first starting your career, or does your previous success ever put pressure on you when writing new books?
It was harder at the beginning. It's really important to have a "process" -- a system that allows you to hit your marks. As time goes on, you have more confidence in your process. You still have all the bad days, but you have years of experience to fall back on, which helps.
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