I have to admit that I have not yet read Fifty Shades of Grey, that widely popular S&M book trilogy that is being made into a film. My mom has read it though, and so have many of her friends. I’ve had several uncomfortable conversations with my mother about it, and after I told her to stop talking about that damn book she brought it up repeatedly to tease me. Her 70 year-old friend was enthusing about how sexy it was and how I just HAD to read it. So basically I haven’t read it yet because I associate it with my mom. I know this is not logical.
Anyway the book started out as Twilight fan fiction, written by British author, E.L. James. James switched around the character names from Edward and Bella, developed the story beyond fanfiction and put out the book through a virtual publisher as both an e-book and an on-demand print edition. In a new interview on The Today Show, James laughs repeatedly at the fact that her fantasy on paper has become a bestseller, and admits that she’s not a great writer. She also gets uncomfortable when the interviewer reads back some of the things she’s written. In other words, she’s all sorts of awesome. I love when she’s asked “do you need a couple of glasses of wine [to write]” and she says “I always need a couple of glasses of wine!”
British writer E.L. James, author of the erotic romance trilogy beginning with the bestselling “Fifty Shades of Grey,” can’t believe the impact of her work, or the influence her books have had on the fantasies of women around the world.
The suburban mother of two, who wrote the books as “Twilight” fan fiction, said she’s “stunned” at the success of the story. “I was amazed how popular it was. I’m still amazed,” she told TODAY’s Michelle Kosinski Tuesday.
The books, which have been passed around by women like contraband, follow the relationship between the young student Anastasia Steele and the “very attractive” Christian Grey, who has “unruly dark-copper-colored hair and intense, bright gray eyes.” Soon after first meeting, the couple embarks on a passionate affair as Steele “learns more about her own dark desires” in Grey’s “red room of pain.”
A film adaptation of the series is in the works. But despite all the attention, James says there isn’t anything revolutionary about her books.
“This is my midlife crisis, writ large,” she said. “All my fantasies in there, and that’s it.”
While the couple in the “Fifty Shades” books are haunted by outside forces much like their predecessors Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, there aren’t any vampires or werewolves in the story. Protagonist Christian Grey, a wildly successful billionaire, is described as a man “tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control,” while Steele is his perfect match with her pure, “quiet beauty” and “independent spirit.”
James thinks of the books as “kind of raw,” and says she doesn’t think she’s a great writer or a very disciplined one.
Still, Grey, whose silver ties (used as tools of bondage in the book) have become a bit of a cultural phenomenon, is described in the novel as “the richest, most elusive, most enigmatic bachelor in Washington state.” Is that what women really want?
“Once you’re in charge of your job, your house, your children, getting the food on the table, doing all of this, all of the time, it’d be nice for someone else to be in charge for a bit maybe,” said James.
But in real life, it’s different.
“You want someone who does the dishes.”
Now I like her so much that I really want to read these books and see what the hype is all about. They sound cheesy as hell but incredibly enjoyable. Our friends at Evil Beet found some of the worst quotes from the book on this tumblr 50shadesofsuck. I don’t think James would disagree that some of her writing sucks. She admitted writing it on her phone after all. Now she’s laughing all the way to the bank.