"Sex and the City" may not have been entirely autobiographical for author Candace Bushnell, but watching early seasons of the hit show still gives her flashbacks.
"It's never exactly the same thing as what happened to me," she said, "But it's close enough so I remember where it came from and then I think, "'Oh my God I used to be so wild. Get out of the house and stop watching TV.'"
Bushnell, wearing a pink dress and leopard print high heels, talked to a crowd of about 150 at Hollywood Palms Cinema in Naperville Wednesday while promoting her new book, "The Carrie Diaries."
The book is a prequel to "Sex and the City," her novel-turned TV series-turned movie. The new prequel explores main character Carrie Bradshaw's life as a teen.
Bushnell said she wanted to write a coming-of-age story about a young woman who moves to New York the way she did when she was 19.
Who better to follow, she thought, than the beloved Bradshaw.
"I really really tried to make the book authentic," she said. "I didn't try to make it racy to get teenagers to read it. ... I just wanted it to feel real."
Bushnell announced that the book will debut at number one on The New York Times Best-Seller list.
She signed copies of the novel for the crowd at Hollywood Palms Wednesday, and also answered their questions about her life and writing during the event sponsored by Anderson's Bookshop.
Asked about her biggest accomplishment, Bushnell, said there is a lot she is proud of.
"I work really hard and I continue to work really hard," she said. "I think when you're young you think if I just accomplish this one thing my life is going to be all set. But it doesn't really work that way and there's sort of no end point where you say, 'Oh happily ever after here I am. Give me a pedicure, happily ever after.'"
A 16-year-old in the crowd Wednesday asked the author what advice she has for teens her age. Although relationships with men are a large part of Bushnell's "Sex and the City" characters' lives, the author advised teen girls to explore and find out more about themselves.
"Do not put boys ahead of you," she said eliciting applause. "Do not do things so that boys will like you because honestly you have the rest of your life to put other people ahead of you."
Another teen in the audience, Lauren Dalicandro of Darien, was at the event with her mom, Gayle Hansen. The two of them enjoy watching "Sex and the City" together and were excited to meet its creator. Dalicandro has already started reading "The Carrie Diaries."
"I like it because it's more something I can relate to, the drama of high school," she said.
"It's nostalgia for me," Hansen said.
Karolyn Griegoliet of Naperville and Michelle Arriola of Chicago say they don't just watch "Sex and the City," they live it. They have already toured New York City looking for sights from the show including Fleet Week.
The two friends say they were drawn to the show because it is relatable.
"It's nice to see a show about four girls who are friends," Arriola said. "Living life and going through their ups and downs together."
"Sex and the City 2" comes out in theaters May 27.