Fifty Shades of Grey Author Plans New Book
Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James recently spoke to delighted fans at her first public UK event and we already brought you details of what she said about the impending movie version and Twilight stars Robert Pattinson & Kristen Stewart. Now finally here’s a full transcript of the fascinating in-depth interview she gave.
In this first installment she talks about the astonishing success of the steamy international bestseller and what inspired her to write it. Record breaking author EL James also shares intimate details about kinky fantasy figure Christian Grey and virginal heroine Ana. She also reveals she’s working on rewriting her first attempt at and erotic novel for her next book
Fifty shades of Grey is officially the fastest selling paperback of all time. It’s now sold over 20 million copies worldwide and even outsold Harry Potter, how do you feel about that?
How do I feel about that? I’m overwhelmed. I’m completely and utterly overwhelmed by the ridiculous figures that these books seem to be creating. I’m stunned, completely stunned. At the moment I feel in a daze and just keep thinking… “Holy Sh*t!” It just boggles my mind.
Tell us a little about how you started writing the books?
Well as I think everyone knows I started writing the books as Twilight fan fiction. I had a ball writing the story and everyone said I should publish it. I spoke to a publisher and they said YES! we’ll have it please. They offered me a contract, but I took one look at it and thought… Naah! So I just carried on writing it and writing it. Then every month I had someone trying to change my mind. But a friend of mine who had also written fan fiction before pulling it off the internet and rewriting it when they found a publisher. So eventually when I found out who did his I thought sod it and went for it.
The first book maps quite closely with Twilight but after that the next two books make a huge departure, does starting with the building blocks of someone else’s universe give you more licence to be creative?
I don’t know. I’ve never sat back an analysed it really. When I started writing it, my premise was what would happen if you met someone who was in a particular lifestyle and you didn’t want to be in it. That was t. That’s what I started with. That was all that was behind it when I started. I did it for fun. It took up all of my time.
Christian is a total fantasy figure, typically brooding and mysterious. But do you think his emotional issues make him more appealing?
Christian is absolutely a fantasy figure, he’s my fantasy figure. Definitely yes, I want to shag him and fix him up! He’s a complete fantasy figure, he’s incredibly capable in and out of the bedroom and lives this amazing lifestyle. He’s ridiculously wealthy and yet he’s really really fucked up! I think because it’s written in the first person present it puts the reader in Ana’s shoes and it becomes you the reader who fixes him up.
As for Ana do you think her inexperience is an important part of the character?
Oh God I think virgins are far more interesting! If people have been round the block a few times they know what to expect. I always think virgins are very interesting. Let’s face it if you’ve done it all before you know exactly what’s going to happen if you haven’t then you don’t know anything.
How do you feel about people who criticise the character for being too innocent and naïve?
They are out there trust me. I’ve met people are in fact virgins as well. It’s a great device. For me I wanted to be physically a virgin, because he’s emotionally a virgin and together they grow. That was important to me. I think people like Ana do exist; I was a bit like that… a long time ago!
Do you feel more attached to Ana or Christian?
That’s a really hard question. At first I thought I’d be really attached to Christian but that I wouldn’t like Ana that much at all. But as I wrote more I got fond of both of them. I’m really fond of both of them because there are aspects of me in Ana and Christian as well. That’s kind of fun, just exploring.
If you were presented with Christian in real life what would you do with him?
I think we all know don’t we! I think I’m going to plead the fifth.
Was there a particular reason behind the setting for the story?
It was originally a set in that part of the world because it started out at Twilight fan fiction. I found the most expensive piece of real estate that I could find. I found this place that was still being built and nobody could go there. But now it’s built I’ve seen people have been going and taking pictures. I feel like damn it! I want to go there. I’m planning to go there in September.
Talking more about yourself, what did you do before you started writing?
Well I worked in television; I worked for 412 years in TV. Yes I’m one of the undead. I started life at the National Scholl of Film and Television where I worked and in fact met my husband. Then I started working in the independent television sector, then changed and started working at the BBC, then I went into entertainment and music all that sort of thing. I had a great job actually, it was fantastic, and I’ve worked on lots and lots of music shows. Then I was also working part time for a company owned by Vic and Bob, so I was literally working for a bunch of comedians. They were lovely and really nice people so I had just a great time there.
Have Vic and Bob read Fifty Shades of Grey?
Oh shit I hope not! It’s interesting because the last thing I did there was shooting a pilot for the Angelos Epithemiou show in Salford. They’ve got their main facilities up there and it’s beautiful but it doesn’t quite work. We shot a pilot there and it got commissioned for Channel 4 and that was during all this madness. But they’re just really happy for me and really delighted which was so sweet.
Are you writing at the moment?
I’m trying to re-write the first book I ever wrote. As everyone knows I was inspired by Twilight; I saw the film and read the book Christmas 2008. I read them over and over again. Then I wrote a novel then wrote another. Then I discovered fan fiction. I wrote one fan fiction then I started the story that actually became fifty shades. So I’m going back to the first book and I’m trying to re-write that.
Can we ask what it’s about?
No, but it will be sort of erotic as well and a love story. I think that’s what Fifty is really about it’s a love story. It does have a lot of sex, but from what I remember when you fall in love you have a lot of sex.
How do you feel about the fact there’s now Fifty Shades of Grey fan fiction?
The biggest fan fiction is for Harry Potter, there’s something like 500,000 series! So it’s a huge community. Its fantastic there’s now Fifty Shades of Grey fan fiction. I think there have been two extraordinary things about this journey. One is bringing women together in groups to discuss the books A place where they can talk and gossip and have fun. That’s bane amazing and also the fact that there are people who haven’t read books for years who are now reading the series. I’ve had someone tell me they hadn’t read a book for 28 years but they read all of mine in three weeks. That is extraordinary and I think the sales figures show that people who don’t really buy books are buying this book.
Do you think its encouraged reading and reached out in a similar fashion to the Harry Potter series?
Well I hope it’s a different demographic!