The Caymanian Compass was able to chat with Candace Bushnell prior to her visit to Grand Cayman this Saturday, October 4th.
Ms Bushnell will be visiting for a reading and signing from her latest book One Fifth Avenue. The event will begin with a private reading, for which tickets are required, at 7:00 p.m. at Camana Bay.
Tickets are selling out fast, so make sure you hurry down to Books & Books to purchase your book and ticket.
After the reading a public signing will take place. Books must have been purchased from Books & Books in order to be eligible for signing.
Those with tickets will also be invited to an after-party at Abacus where martinis and bellinis will be served.
Ms Bushnell has published four books previously, titled Sex and the City, Four Blondes, Trading Up and Lipstick Jungle.
Sex and the City went on to become a smash-hit TV series on HBO and, more recently, a blockbuster film. Lipstick Jungle has now been made into an NBC drama starring Brooke Shields.
One Fifth Avenue has been described as a ‘mordantly observed novel of manners seen through the lens-or room with a view-of New York’s real estate anxiety.’
The Caymanian Compass chatted to Ms Bushnell about her past books and successes, her upcoming trip to Cayman and her latest novel.
AW: Have you ever been here before, to Cayman?
CB: I have…I think I’ve been once. I cannot wait! I wish I was coming there tomorrow; it’s so beautiful so I am so looking forward to it.
AW: Well, you’ll probably find that Cayman has its own unique society just like New York, which may provide inspiration! Is there a reason that you have always chosen New York as the setting for your books?
CB: I live in New York and it’s full of stories. I’ve lived in New York for 30 years so I suppose it’s kind of my muse.
AW: It’s definitely more than a setting in your books; it is kind of like a character of its own, especially this one.
CB: Exactly. And I know it well, I live close to One Fifth- One Fifth is a real building in New York. I live in that neighbourhood, so for me it was about exploring the small town aspect of New York City.
The little restaurant, the Knickerbocker, and where Philip Oakland gets his hair cut…you know those are all real places that I frequent.
AW: Well, one thing that really interests me is that a lot of your books end up being TV series!
The way this book is structured, it is written very much like a drama with it being split into five acts, and Philip Oakland even says at the beginning: ‘You know New York never changes. The characters are different but the play remains the same’.
Have you always felt that leaning towards dramatic writing, or screenwriting, or has it been mostly unintentional?
CB: You know, there are other novels where they are broken up into five acts; I actually think it’s a structure that’s been used in other novels.
In terms of screenwriting, I’ve done a little bit of screenwriting and it’s not my forté. So I have been successful writing novels – knock on wood! – so I stick to it.
Screenwriting and writing novels are actually two very different animals. The people who worked on Sex and the City and the writers who work on Lipstick Jungle are terrific. It’s a bit of a different medium.
AW: One Fifth Avenue is really different from your other novels, in my opinion. It seems that where you usually centre on a core group of females who are all friends, in this book there’s so many men as well and all the characters are so varied and diverse compared to what I’ve seen from you before…
CB: Well, I’ve always had male characters in my books but I don’t think I’ve spent as much time on them in my other books.
I’ve really enjoyed writing about the men as well and getting into the men’s heads and, you know, that may sort of surprise people that the male characters are more, you know, are a bigger part than they have been in my other books.
AW: Well, Billy Litchfield was probably my favourite character, I think, I really liked him.
CB: Yeah poor Billy…He goes to visit his mother and oh! The whole thing it’s so…
AW: You get pretty caught up in it when you’re writing it too don’t you, even when you’re the one in control?
CB: I do, I do, poor Billy!
AW: But you do return to your roots at the end as it seems the women really prevail.
CB: The women really came together at the end and prevailed. I love what happened with Mindy when she takes Lola’s blog and clips it to the brochure for the real estate and sends it to James! It was so much fun to write.
AW: With Sex and the City too, it was you that created the characters, and although I know you are very happy with what they did with the TV series and the film, is it weird at all to let go of it and let someone else take the characters on a journey when you are the one who formed them?
CB: You know, it absolutely isn’t strange.
TV and movies are a collaboration and, I mean, I am just grateful that there are people who are so passionate about the original material that they really brought the best of themselves and brought their heart and soul to it.
You know, the people who work on TV series and movies, those are 18-hour jobs, so I am just enormously, enormously grateful for their efforts.
AW: And you are an executive producer too, aren’t you?
CB: I am an executive producer on Lipstick Jungle, so I have first-hand knowledge of how hard people work and how much passion they bring to their work and…I’m endlessly appreciative.
AW: Do you prefer writing, though, to executive producing?
CB: You know, it’s really fun being an executive producer…I love going to the set and seeing all the scripts…
I was talking to a friend of mine about the first episode of the second season and I realised I knew every single line because I had read the script so much, discussed it so much, watched all the dailies and saw the actors doing all of the lines about eight times. So I knew every single line.
And one of my favourite lines is when Rosie Perez’s character says to Victory Ford ‘You’re still in love with that man, aren’t ya?’
I love that!
AW: Do you find Manhattan a really easy place to get caught up in the affluence, like Annalisa does in the book?
CB: I think that the temptations are there, but the temptations are everywhere. And…there’s a society in every town.
I think the real estate element is just so universal. Real estate is very…it’s deeply, deeply tied into our psyche. As kids, the first thing we learn is that human beings need food and shelter, so in a sense it’s a basic.
I think that people have been squabbling over real estate since someone moved into a cave! Because someone had a slightly bigger cave than someone else’s – someone had a cave that was slightly less damp!
We’re kind of hard-wired to have an awareness of these kinds of things.
AW: Well, in a way it really adds to the character when you find out where the characters are coming from in terms of a home.
AW: Where did the idea come from to write this book about this one apartment building in Manhattan?
CB: Well, again, I was just really interested in the small-town aspect of New York City, you know, living in a particular neighbourhood, living in a building.
I live in a co-op building where I see my neighbours in the elevator and in the lobby and on the sidewalk in front of the building and we chat and there’s always a fascination about what goes on behind closed doors; what do people’s apartments look like?
In the building that I live in if an apartment is for sale, half the people in the building go look at it. It’s curiosity!
AW: I heard that you had signed on to write a series of books for teenagers called The Carrie Years?
CB: I did just sign a contract with HarperCollins to write two young adult books about Carrie Bradshaw’s late teenage years and I haven’t started working on them.
AW: Do you have any ideas? Do you want to make them different from things like Gossip Girl?
CB: You know what, I think it would probably be more like Little Women than Gossip Girl!
AW: I heard you were a fan of the classics!
CB: I don’t know…not that there’s anything wrong with Gossip Girl, I love Gossip Girl; I think it’s very entertaining and very contemporary but this really would be Carrie Bradshaw probably…25 years ago, so…I think it would definitely be more like Little Women than Gossip Girl!
AW: Well, we are really looking forward to having you with us on Saturday!
CB: Oh, Anna, I’m so looking forward to it! I’m really looking forward to coming to Grand Cayman, I can’t tell you!