Live CHAT with Bridget Jones Author

Helen Fielding


People - October 17, 2013

 

Plenty has changed for everyone's favorite London singleton since her v. funny diary first charmed the world in 1998.

In Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, Bridget's a widow with two kids, a Twitter account and a "toy boy" but she's still adorably clueless.

 

 
Helen Fielding Chat
 
1:00
Helen Fielding: 
Hello. This is Helen Fielding here, my fingers are poised excitedly over the keyboard ( as excitedly as fingers actually can get, being fingers) to answer your questions. Can we all agree, it being Bridget, that it's OK for all our spelling to be a bit rubbish?
1:00
Comment From Marie A. 
What made you decide to continue to tell Bridget's story, even after so many years have passed?
1:03
Helen Fielding: 
Hi Marie - It just happened quite naturally. I really care about Bridget so I never wanted to keep writing more and more versions of the same thing. About 18 months ago I just put a note in my diary saying "I wonder if I could write a story about.....?" and started to write. I didn't tell anyone I was writing it so I could do it like the first one, unselfconsciously at my laptop, in my old armchair - without worrying about what anyone else would think. I really enjoyed writing it.
1:03
Comment From Marie-Stephanie 
I am going to go ahead and ask you a direct question about the fait of Mr. Darcy... Why??? Why did you decide to kill him off exactly? As a writer myself, I would love to have your perspective on this.
1:06
Helen Fielding: 
I do want to make it clear that Colin Firth is actually still alive. I love Mark Darcy - he is a true gentleman, and a reminder to all of us that a reindeer sweater , or other weird garment, can often conceal someone who is the best of men, really attractive and a fantastic kisser. But the story I wanted to write was about Bridget being a single mum and getting back into the dating scene later on in life when the whole landscape has changed. Mark would never leave her. Far better that his memory live on throughout the new book, shining and untarnished - like Jesus.
1:06
Comment From Susan 
Where do you like to write?
1:08
Helen Fielding: 
I always aspire to writing at a pristine white desk with a single white flower in a small glass vase. In fact I need to be cosy in my old armchair in a cardigan with egg on it, surrounded by diet coke cans and chocolate wrappers at oddd times off hte day or night and spelling things rong
1:08
Comment From Josh 
Is Bridget based on you? How are you alike?
1:11
Helen Fielding: 
I started writing Bridget anonymously because I am very private I was asked to write a column as myself and said that was hopelessly exposing and embarrassing so I would make someone up instead. In fact , this exaggerated comic version of me and my friends became more exposed that I could ever have dreamt of. Out of sheer fright I denied that she had anything to do with me - quipping defenisvely "I don't drink or smoke and I am a virgin" . But in fact I always try to write from a starting point of truth with things that could have happened to me or my friends, or happened a little bit and then I exaggerate or change it to make it funnier or more of a story. - But it's not - alas with all those very handsome men in it - a memoir.
1:12
Comment From Lisa 
I'm a BIG FAN of Bridget Jones. I think a lot of gals can relate to her one way or another. What is next for Bridget??
1:13
Helen Fielding: 
Thanks, Lisa. I love that you're a big fan of Bridget's. I think if I'd known so many people were going to read about her initially I would never have dared write the things I did. But maybe it's a bit like the things you say to your friends when you're out having a few drinks - you're honest about what you feel inside, laugh about your shortcomings and things that go wrong, and support each other. I don't know what will happen next - you never do!
1:13
Comment From Vicki A M M 
When I go to London, where should I go to see Bridget's London?
1:17
Helen Fielding: 
Bridget lives in North London in a little house in Kentish town. At the start of the book, she's all lonely and thinks no one will ever love or fancy her again ever ever ever - but then her friends drag her out - rather like taking granny to the seaside, she thinks, and take her to cool clubs and bars in Soho like Soho House, and pubs like the York and Albany, and they try to be really, really cool and go to Hoxton in East London - which is actually scarily cool and in fact probably so cool that it's five minutes ago now and somewhere further East is even coooler. So maybe you should try Holland. ( that's really far east)
1:17
Comment From Dani col 
Did you always want to be a writer? What did you read growing up?
1:18
Helen Fielding: 
Hi Dani. I did always want to be a writer. But it got off to a dodgy start. One of my early school reports said "Helen must learn not to use such flowery language." And I wrote a poem which I thought was very profound, called "Stew" my brother had it framed and put it in the bathroom with a note underneath saying "Also available: Ham and Eggs. Pie."
1:18
Comment From Ellie 
What is it like seeing your books brought to life? Do you get say in who is cast in the movies?
1:20
Helen Fielding: 
Hi Ellie. The most exciting moment with the first movie was going to the set and seeing Mr. Darcy ( from the BBC's Pride and Prejudice) who was also, confusingly, Colin Firth and Mark Darcy saying the lines I had written for this gorgeous hybrid of the three. It is wonderful to write characters and then see actors bring them to life and make more of them. It would be fun to see that happen with the new love interests in the new book - Roxster and Mr. Wallaker.
1:20
Comment From Candace 
Do you drink a lot of wine and smoke many cigs?
1:21
Helen Fielding: 
Candace, I neither smoke nor drink and I am a virgin and I assume the same is true for you?
1:21
Comment From Pamela d 
So excited to meet you I love your books so much. I will miss marc darcy so much! What is bridget like as a mother? Did you always know shed be a mom??
1:23
Helen Fielding: 
Thanks Pamela, It's really fun doing this. And lovely to meet you too. This is all so English. We could actually carry on saying "No, lovely to meet YOU," for hours. 
As a mother, as with all things, Bridget thinks she is supposed to be some perfect model mother, and reads self help books called things like "One Two Three, Calmer Easier Parenting," then ends up going "come to the table, come to the table one........two...... then panicking about what she's going to do when she gets to three. But she really loves her kids, and they enjoy the fires which happen when she is cooking for them.
1:24
Comment From Donna 
I was heartbrown
1:24
Helen Fielding: 
Donna. What is "heartbrown"? Is your typin g as bad asm mine or is it a real condition?
1:24
Helen Fielding: 
Now I am heartbrown.
1:25
Comment From Donna 
I am still recovering from the marc darcy news! I read bridget online dates. Have you ever done that? Did you have to do it for "research"
1:26
Helen Fielding: 
Oh I SEE! That' why you're heartbrown. I know it is very sad - but Bridget's motto now is KBO. Keep Buggering On. 
Re online dating - yes I have had to look at it - purely for research reasons, you understand. The funny thing is the way you can get it mixed up with your online clothes shopping. And if you put a dress in your basket, you get hurt if you go back to the site and the dress hasn't winked back at you.
1:27
Comment From Hillary 
What would do you think of our govt and the shut down. I think bridget would have fixed it.
1:28
Helen Fielding: 
Hillary - I find your faith in Bridget very touching. But maybe you've got the tiniest, tiniest bit carried away. She was the one who didn't know where Germany was, remember?
1:28
Comment From Meow 
Has Bridget finally learned to cook now that she's a mom?
1:29
Helen Fielding: 
Hi Meow. Bridget is now very good at heating up bolognese sauce from the supermarket. Though there was an unfortunate incident where she left the spaghetti hanging over the side of the pan near the gas flame and it caught fire. Otherwise, though, the heating up of things goes well. As her friends often say "You must give me the recipe - or maybe the bar code."
1:30
Comment From Marie from Baltimore 
I just want to say I think it was a no brainer to kill off Mr. Darcy, as much as we all love him. I hear in the new book, Bridget has a much younger love interest. What are your thoughts on the word cougar? Is Bridget a cougar, and do you think that's a dirty word or an empowering one?
1:32
Helen Fielding: 
Bridget does indeed have a gorgeous younger boyfriend in the new book - Roxster. And as Roxster himself says, he doesn't like the word cougar as "It suggests the hunter rather than the hunted." I think it is rather an unkind word because it suggests an older woman would have to chase a younger man down like some deranged lion and than eat him. Roxster and Bridget meet on Twitter over their shared sense of humour and it is a very sweet, equal romance.
1:32
Comment From Erin 
Is there a possibility this book will be converted to the silver screen as well? Thank you so much for your work, I really enjoy it and am sadly already 53% (according to Kindle) done with the book and am already suffering from "oh god its almost over" syndrome.
1:34
Helen Fielding: 
Erin??? Where did you go? I was just answering your question and it vanished! Will you send it again? Tehnomalfunction. spelt wrong.
1:35
Comment From Erin 
Oh no! Here is the text again: "Is there a possibility this book will be converted to the silver screen as well? Thank you so much for your work, I really enjoy it and am sadly already 53% (according to Kindle) done with the book and am already suffering from "oh god its almost over" syndrome." Perhaps Bridget is behind the controls :)
1:36
Helen Fielding: 
I am so happy you're enjoying the book. I think you'll find the last 47percent has some exciting things in it. 
( yes bridget might as well be at the controls. we just had an incident with a "double clicked mouse" )
1:37
Comment From Joan from Tyler, TX 
How do Bridget's parents feel about being grandparents?
1:38
Helen Fielding: 
Bridget's mum is now in a retirement community - only no one is allowed to call it a retirement community.It is one of those posh places with a coffee bar called "Chats" and the "viva" spa and lots of activities. She and Una are having a whale of a time going to Aqua Zumba and having cranio facials . Though there is a problem with a man called Kenneth who keeps going into everyone's bedrooms.
1:38
Comment From Amy 
Thanks so much for creating Bridget Jones!
1:39
Helen Fielding: 
Thanks, Amy. It is a really amazing feeling, that people still care about a character I wrote almost by accident so long ago.
1:39
Comment From Sarah Novelly 
Do people say mean things to you when they heard about marc darcy dying
1:40
Helen Fielding: 
Well there was a man who rushed out of a local restaurant round the corner from me in London and yelled "YOU'VE MURDERED COLIN FIRTH."
I think he was a bit drunk.
1:40
Comment From Brenna j 
Do you get nervous about a book coming out?
1:41
Helen Fielding: 
Brennaj. I try to pretend that I stand like a great Buddhist tree, unmoved by the passing winds - but in fact I'm just as idiotic as anyone would be and am either wildly puffed up by all the attention or hiding under the duvet panic eating chocolate.
1:41
Comment From Lauren dunn, NJ 
Youre so funny!! I love your answers. Would you ever write something serious like a crime story or murder mystery?
1:42
Helen Fielding: 
Thanks Lauren. Interesting question - when Bridget first came out people complained that she was silly and unfeminist. I did point out that my first novel - Cause Celeb - was about a woman running a refugee camp in Africa. Bur nobody bought that one.
1:42
Comment From Melinda , MA 
Bridget must hate spanx I hope. I hate them and I know she would too
1:43
Helen Fielding: 
Melinda. Can I just say that I started today in Spanx, and they are now in my handbag. And I feel much happier for it.
1:43
Comment From Guest 
hi ho do u do
1:44
Helen Fielding: 
um....... what exactly are you up to out there?
1:44
Comment From Courtney 
Do you think we all have a little Bridget Jones in us, deep down? I feel like she says and does the things many people think but never come out and actually say! She seems so happily flawed she's almost universal.
1:47
Helen Fielding: 
Hi Courtney - when Bridget first became popular, I didn't quite understand why. But I remember talking to a very glamorous , thin, succesful news anchor in Japan, who confided that she identified with Bridget feeling she was too fat and not good enough. 
I think at hear it's about the gap between how we feel we're expected to be, and how we actually are. And the new book, in a way, is about the gap between how we expect life to turn out and how it actually does - Bridget always manages to survive, with the help of her friends, and find the fun and the funny things about life.
1:47
Comment From Linda and carrie 
We want to be your friend and hang out your so funny. What was the biggest change to your life after the first book?
1:49
Helen Fielding: 
Awwww. I want to be your friends too! This is really nice doing this. Well when the first book came out I got quite confused by the press attention. I remember coming back to my flat and there was a photographer outside on a motorbike. I was WILDLY indignant : "why can't they leave me alone!!!" - then I realized he was delivering a pizza. And I was really disappointed. 
I think it's important to keep your feet on the ground.
1:49
Comment From Joan from Tyler, TX 
If there is a film, who should play Roxter?
1:49
Helen Fielding: 
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Who should play Roxster? I'm not quite sure but I certainly want to be at the casting session.
1:50
Comment From Erin 
Henry Cavill!
1:51
Helen Fielding: 
Mmmmm. Any more suggestions? Let's make a list and think about them all very carefully.
1:51
Comment From Meg, London 
Could I have Mark Darcy for my book now that you've killed him in yours? Mostly I just want to hand out with Colin.
1:51
Helen Fielding: 
hand out??
1:52
Comment From Kelley Fligg, LA 
Did you read 50 shades of grey???
1:54
Helen Fielding: 
Yes! Loved. I think one of the secrets of the success - apart from the sex - is that it's a real classic Cinderella story. Though of course Cinderella would never get involved in S&M and.. ( oh God, digs herself into deeper and deeper hole, insulting Cinderalla's purity and ...( Brightl) OK!!! Next Question!!
1:54
Comment From Rachel 
This is so fun! How long does it take you to write a book? How long til the next? Dont kill bridget jones!!
1:56
Helen Fielding: 
Rachel - that's a very funny post. That would be very bonkers to kill Bridget Jones as well. 
It takes me about eighteen months to write a book. But I've written quite a lot of quite a few that I've abandoned. I'm always writing. If I stop writing, it's like I don't have my handbag with me or something.
1:57
Comment From Kelly Fligg, LA 
Its hard to date i wonder what bridget thought about it. So hard to find guys
1:57
Helen Fielding: 
Are there any guys out there on our online chat?
1:57
Comment From Tessa K 
Do you get tired of talking about Bridget Jones?
1:58
Helen Fielding: 
No. I love talking about Bridget and it is very touching that people still care about her after so much time. I have really loved doing this today and feel we should all be very proud of our spelling, punctuation and technolohicalh skils
1:59