10/08/2013 at 12:45 PM EDT
When it was revealed that the third installment
of the Bridget Jones
series would bring about the death of fan favorite Mark Darcy, fans were horrified.
But how did Colin Firth
, 53, who plays the uptight but lovable lawyer in the film adaptations of Bridget Jones's Diary
and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
, take the news?
"I did want to tell Colin in person but we were trying to have lunch, and I couldn't really tell him why I was trying to meet him, and he was in a different place," the books' author, Helen Fielding, tells Time
"So I ended up telling him he died on the phone," she says.
Fielding admits it was a funny conversation. "I had to ask him if he had someone with him and if he was sitting down. It was like someone actually had died. We had to process it. And I was almost saying, 'I'm so sorry for your loss,' " she recalls.
Fans were shocked and outraged to learn of Darcy's demise in the upcoming Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy
when an excerpt from the book was published in the U.K.'s Sunday Times Magazine
on Sept. 29, but Fielding explains that it was a no-brainer.
"That was absolutely inherent from the start," she says, explaining that much of the humor found in Bridget's story comes from the obstacles she has to overcome.
"Pain and confusion and those sorts of things are where the jokes come from. There has to be an integrity to what those jokes mean," she says.
If there's one silver lining to all of this, it's that Bridget (who was played by Renée Zellweger
in the films) isn't totally alone – she has two children, a girl named Mabel and a boy named Billy, who is a lot like his dad.
"His presence is very much there in the book and in the child," Fielding says. "As I told [Colin] his memory will live on and he will rise from the dead rather like Jesus," she says with a laugh.
Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy
will be released in the U.S. on Oct. 15.
Join People.com for a live chat with author Helen Fielding Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. ET