In Bridget's column, she quits writing after having a baby. Will there be wedding bells or baby booties in the future for movie Bridget as well?
Bridget quit her column because, in a happy instance of life following art, I was having a baby too. It's usually best to write about what you know, so Bridget having a baby would be a natural progression, but who knows. It would certainly add a whole new area of things to mess up and get neurotic about.
Will there be another book?
I hope so, but I haven't rushed to come up with a trequel. It's hard to make it really fresh and good, and I want it to be both those things.
Is any of Bridget Jones autobiographical?
I tend to take something slightly ridiculous which happened either to me or one of my friends and then push it to its most ludicrous, exaggerated conclusion. So for example, Bridget goes from being slightly paranoid about being single in her 30s to deciding that she's a tragic, barren spinster in the manner of Miss Havisham who is going to end up dying alone, covered in cobwebs and being eaten by one of her own dogs.
I think comedy works when there's something real and true at the bottom of it. The more awkward and painful that basic reality is, the more hilarious it tends to be.
Plus, there are so many insane things which happen when you have kids. One time my son put a Thomas the Tank Engine train on my head with the wheels running. It wound up a 2-inch strip of my hair and got stuck. Fortunately, I got someone to unscrew it, but if it was Bridget, she would end up at the school concert with a whirring train stuck to her head.
Who is your favorite character from all your books?
I have a particular soft spot for Mum. Unlike Bridget, she comes from a generation who were not infected by the mass media. She grew up in one place, with the same people and kept the same set of values. She has a clear sense of who she is and confidence. So when things go wrong she is able to deal with things to her advantage -- even if it does involve an ill-advised love affair with a Portuguese tour operator.
One of my favorite lines of hers was when a tax man was trying to intimidate her and she said, "Listen, can you make a brioche?"
Bridget Jones started out as satire and turned into a straightforward heroine -- do you feel like UK and US audiences see her differently along these lines, or has she morphed with each new medium?
It didn't really start as a satire. I was just writing an anonymous newspaper column, exaggerating funny things that happened in normal life, to pay the bills while I wrote my second rather serious novel. Had I thought so many people were going to read it, I never would have dared write it.
I'm always flattered when people read so much meaning into these everyday musings. When it was published in Italy, reviewers said it was a transcendental study of existential despair. But I think something might have gone wrong with the translation.
Before the book was published in America, there was an open letter in a British newspaper saying "Don't go there -- they don't understand self-deprecation and irony. They won't get it" But I think a sense of humor is pretty universal.
She does morph a bit with new mediums. That's probably because it's much easier to get an inner voice across in a novel. In a movie, the plot has to move along and things actually have to happen.
Who are you reading right now?
"Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It," -- short stories by Mailie Meloy. Absolutely brilliant.
Do you blog anywhere?
Never. The internet is disastrous if you're a writer. When you're trying to write, absolutely anything is more interesting than writing. I have to lock myself in an Airstream trailer with no internet access to get anything done, otherwise I end up obsessively reserving vacations which I am never going to go on, ordering Hello Kitty backpacks, or Googling myself, getting paranoid and having to eat a giant lump of cheese or start putting make-up on.
I do, though, have the habit of writing my thoughts down at the end of whatever I'm working on, which is not a good idea. I once accidentally included them in a letter to my accountant.
Is there anything you want to tell readers?
The biggest thing I learned with Bridget Jones is that it's about the gap between how we all feel we're expected to be and how we actually are. Pretty much everyone seems to have trouble with that gap these days -- apart, possibly, from Eastern yoga gurus.
What are you working on now?
The musical stage version of "Bridget Jones' Diary." It's the best fun I've ever had writing.