'Sex and the City' and 'In Her Shoes' authors talk shop at Abington

Candace Bushnell, author of "Sex and the City," and Jennifer Weiner, author of "In Her Shoes," both wildly popular writers of books that speak to women of all generations, shared the stage on March 19, relaying funny and inspiring stories to the mostly female student audience. The lecture was the premiere event for Penn State Abington’s celebration of Women's History Month.

Bushnell is the critically acclaimed, international bestselling novelist whose first book, "Sex and the City," was the basis for the HBO hit series and subsequent blockbuster movie. Her fourth novel, "Lipstick Jungle," also became a popular television series.

"In Her Shoes," the second novel by world renowned author Jennifer Weiner, instantly became a bestseller when it was released in 2002. Audiences around the world saw her book come to life when the film version was released in Oct. 2005, starring Cameron Diaz and Shirley MacLaine. Prior to the success of her first novel, "Good In Bed," Weiner was a staff writer and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Together, Bushnell and Weiner delivered an entertaining presentation, covering the creative and problem-solving process of writing, self-esteem, family, relationships, and what it takes to be a successful woman.

Both women drew laughs from the audience with their career stories -- -ones that included telling their parents the names of their first books, the effects of including family members' lives in their novels, as well as Weiner's self-deprecating humor and tales of her unconventional family.

"I do have a lot of sympathy for relatives and loved ones of writers," Weiner said, "because (family life) is all fodder."

All humor aside, practical advice was given to the young, aspiring writers in the audience. Weiner described her writing process and how it's changed over the years as her life has changed -- once working full-time at a newspaper, to now trying to carve out time during her busy day of raising two young daughters.

"So much of writing is the physical, repetitive act of putting yourself in the seat in front of the screen and doing it. Same time everyday works for me. You write."

Bushnell and Weiner spoke of determination, development of a strong work ethic, discipline, learning from mistakes and patience.

"When you're young, you're in such a rush," said Bushnell. The reality of it is that (success) takes time. You can't really skip a step; you have to pay all your dues. Life throws things at you. Just embrace it."

"Successful women come in all shapes and sizes," said Bushnell. "It's not about what you look like on the outside, it's about the passions that you bring to life and wanting to do something in the world. You get your confidence from inside and from your accomplishments."

New books by both authors are expected to be released later this year.