My Executive


    Nov 01, 2013

    People find each other through the written word

    It's been 17 years since Bridget Jones' Diary first hit the scene, turning freelance journalist Helen Fielding into a best-selling author and screenwriter.

    Her latest instalment, Mad About The Boy, follows Bridget, now 51, as she copes with the loss of her beloved Mark Darcy while trying to raise their children.

    The Korea Herald/Asia News Network caught up with Fielding recently about how it feels to bring Bridget back into the public eye.

    How are readers reacting to the death of Darcy?

    I knew there would be a reaction but I did not expect to be watching the BBC News and see the Syrian crisis and then the next item, "Mark Darcy is dead!"

    For a writer it's pretty great to create characters that people care about so much long after you've created them. And Colin (Firth) too (who played Mark Darcy in the movie version) - he created Mark Darcy because I based him on Mr Darcy played by Colin Firth in BBC's Pride And Prejudice.

    He's a gentleman and he has such great qualities of kindness and decency as well as being gorgeous and a great kisser and all that!

    I think what's interesting now is that readers are starting to read the book and they realise the story starts five years after Mark died.

    And I think my readers have matured too. When I wrote the first book I was in my 30s, and so were many of the readers. So now they're older and things happen in life.

    There's no one who gets through life without hard things happening or losing people and this is a book about a woman like many women, finding herself single in life and getting back out there in the dating world where the landscape has completely changed.

    Are there any plans to make this into a movie?

    We haven't got that far yet. I had actually written the whole thing before I'd shown it to anyone - I spent a lot of time editing. So there hasn't been any time to think beyond that.

    Bridget finds a "toy boy" - a 30-year-old love interest named Roxster. Who should play Roxster in the movie?

    All I can say is I want to be there in that casting session. They should try lots of people.

    Is anyone honest about their age when they date online?

    One of the characters in the book, Jude, says, "It's a zoo out there", but through all that, people find each other and I think it's through writing, through the written word.

    I think that's the wonderful thing about social media - that people are having to be really creative with language to write short things.

    You know as a journalist, it's much harder to write short than long. I think in terms of online dating, you can pick up each other's tones with writing. So in the book, Bridget meets Roxster on Twitter and they find they share a sense of humour and find each other through their words and then they find they fancy each other. A lot of people do find people online and I think it's great.

    Another possible love interest for Bridget is the character Mr Wallaker. He doesn't seem like the tweeting type.

    Well, you never know with Mr Wallaker. He's the real Mr Darcy/Captain von Trapp kind of archetype.

    I love having two characters who are clashing to start with and then spend the whole book finding out they are the yin and yang and they need each other. I love that Jane Austen plot and I have no shame in stealing it from her!

    Mad About The Boy is available at all major book stores here at a regular price of $24.95 (inclusive of GST).