By Stephen M. Silverman And Arnesa Howell
Updated July 15, 2003 07:34 AM

Heather Locklear could be the next Carrie Bradshaw if Candace Bushnell has her way.

Not literally, of course, but the “Sex and the City” author tells PEOPLE that Locklear, 41, would be her pick as heroine and aspiring supermodel Janey Wilcox in a TV version of Bushnell’s latest novel, “Trading Up.”

“An actress like Heather Locklear is beautiful, smart, and dramatic like a young Alexis Carrington,” says Bushnell, 44, who characterizes her protagonist as a fearless and ambitious New York social climber whose reach often exceeds her grasp.

“Janey is a little bit of the girl next door gone bad,” Bushnell explains. “She’s like Scarlett O’Hara (of ‘Gone with the Wind’) without the plantation, and she’s been compared to Becky Sharp of (the novel) ‘Vanity Fair.’ ”

As the final season of “Sex” wraps up on HBO, Bushnell tells PEOPLE there is “big interest” in turning the book and its characters into a TV series. While Bushnell declined to give any details of these discussions, she did say that any potential show would not necessarily air on a cable network like its much-lauded predecessor.

“I am very sad ‘Sex and the City’ is ending, but I guess maybe a little bright spot is that there does seem to be quite a lot of interest in turning ‘Trading Up’ into a TV series,” the author says.

Bushnell will likely start her next novel on the continued escapades of Janey Wilcox in October after she wraps up her multicity book tour. “She is a fun character because she is flawed and she still has a lot to learn,” says her creator. “She still has many more adventures coming up.”