By Ashley Spencer
Candace Bushnell is the bestselling author of Sex and the City (yes, the book that launched the mega-famous TV show and movies!) and now she's back with a sequel to her wildly popular YA series, The Carrie Diaries! The second book in the series, Summer in the City, follows teenage Carrie Bradshaw as she moves to New York City the summer after high school and learns about life, love, and fashion. Candace chatted with J-14 and spilled secrets about the book and her best guy advice!
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J-14: In Summer and the City, we really see Carrie come into her own as a confident and strong young woman. Were you so sure of yourself as a teen?
Candace: Not as a teen per se, but as soon as I left high school and went out into the world, yes. I was frighteningly fearless, moving to New York with no money, one or two phone numbers, and a heck of a lot of determination not just to survive but to succeed. I was very headstrong and wanted to experience everything, which is probably every parent's worst nightmare.
J-14: What is the most important thing you know now that you wish you could have told your teenage self?
Candace: Don't be so critical of yourself--although I still am.
J-14: You write a lot above love. Do you think it's important that teen girls don't make finding a boyfriend their main priority?
Candace: Yes! But it's hard. I remember being 16 or 17 and thinking I could find the whole world in a word or a glance from a boy -- while hating myself for being so silly. I suppose it didn't matter two hundred years ago, when a young woman's only real option was to marry and have children. But today, the best way for a young woman to secure her future is through education, and then focusing on a career and developing the discipline to obtain it. Of course, there's always a big place for love and romance, but if it's your only focus, you're going to miss out on some important opportunities for growth.
J-14: From vintage kimonos to rubber pants, Carrie is fearless with fashion! Where do you get your inspiration for her style choices?
Candace: I used my own clothes as inspiration! When I moved to New York in the late seventies/early eighties, I did most of my shopping at vintage stores and also modeled in punk fashion shows and shoots. None of the designers had any money, so they'd give you a dress or a piece of clothing instead.
J-14: Gossip Girl's Blake Lively has been a rumored favorite to play young Carrie onscreen. Who would you like to see play the main characters in a film version of The Carrie Diaries series?
Candace: There are so many factors that go into these decisions that I've learned never to speculate. I do, however, have a rather romantic notion that some wonderful young actress is out there and is waiting to be discovered as the teen Carrie.
J-14: What's the best advice you have for aspiring young writers?
Candace: Do it! There's no magic writing fairy, only hard work and rewriting.
Photos: Courtesy of Harper Collins; Courtesy of Wendy Carlson