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Candace Bushnell chats about 'The Carrie Diaries'

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker and Candace Bushnell attend

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker and Candace Bushnell attend the opening night celebration of the New York City Ballet at David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center. (Nov. 25, 2008) Credit: Getty Images

Candace Bushnell's newest book, "The Carrie Diaries," is marketed as a "young adult" novel for teens 14 and older. But parents, be forewarned.

This "prequel" to "Sex and the City" tells the back story of Carrie Bradshaw, the character played by Sarah Jessica Parker. "Readers will learn about Carrie Bradshaw in high school - her close-knit group of friends, her relationship with her sisters, which boy stole her heart long before Mr. Big, and how her determination to become a writer ultimately leads her to Manhattan," says the media release from HarperCollins Children's Books.

But readers will also learn that 17-year-old Carrie and her friends drink White Russians, whiskey and Singapore Slings until they're drunk, constantly smoke cigarettes and at times drive 75 miles an hour. And that Carrie, ironically, seems to be the only one of her friends who hasn't "done it."

Newsday talked to Candace Bushnell about her latest novel, which is out a month before the newest "Sex and the City" movie:

In the book, you explain that Carrie's mom died years before of cancer. Why did you make her and her two younger sisters motherless?

I felt the character needed to have something happen to her that would affect her emotionally. I think it gives her a little bit of a different perspective on the world. And in a way she has to take care of herself.

Carrie's dad says Carrie's mom was the "big love" of his life and won't even consider dating. Was there a purpose in making him a romantic?

I liked the idea of Carrie having seen a very romantic relationship that she can then compare her future relationships to. Because her father is such a romantic and he idealizes his marriage, in a way Carrie would always be looking for that and finding her own relationships come up short. In a way she has a very high standard for her relationships, and that's something that would want to lead her to explore relationships.

Are there inconsistencies fans might notice between what they've learned about Carrie in the TV series and movie, and the story you tell in the book?

I don't think that's important. TV, movies and books are always a little bit different.

Will any of the characters from the book show up in a future "Sex and the City" movie?

That's so out of my hands.

What is the purpose of so much cigarette smoking, drinking and sex in the book?

Have you read any YA [young adult] books? "Gossip Girl" is YA; the YA books, they are outrageous. I think that the book is really authentic. It takes place in the early '80s, and the drinking age then was 18. There were, believe it or not, there were designated smoking areas. It was a different time. These are realities of teens' lives. These are universal issues that all teens face. They're out there, and parents need to discuss these things with their kids.

WHAT: Candace Bushnell discusses and signs "The Carrie Diaries" ($18.99, Balzer + Bray)

WHEN | WHERE: 7 p.m. Wednesday at Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington

INFO: 631-271-1442,

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