Fifty Shades Author Won’t Continue Series
In the third and final part of our EL James Interview transcript the Fifty Shades of Grey Author talks in depth about the smouldering relationship between Christian and Ana. She also shares amusing real life fan encounters and answers THE question fans want to know, will there be more books in the globally popular erotic series…
How did it feel saying goodbye to these characters at the end of the last book?
It was a bloody relief. Because of the way it started, I was posting it on a blog that’s no longer live, the last thing I wrote when I wrote the epilogue was thank you for supporting me, this has been a blast and will the last person here please turn off the lights. That’s how I felt, it was very emotional, more so than finishing the books.
Would you ever continue the story?
The thing about writing for me is that if there’s no conflict there’s no story. So throughout all the books there’s conflict between the characters and also external conflict they have to deal with. If you don’t have that then there’s no story. If I ever want to continue that then it’s like what the f*ck can I do… I mean I’ve thrown the kitchen sink at them. So that’s the issue to doing more, because otherwise it’s just not interesting to write.
What made you chose to write the characters as Americans?
It was because they started off as American characters in the Twilight books and the story started life as fan-fiction. It was hard though. I think the home base Baseball analogy caused me some trouble. I wrote forth base because we play rounders ! And it’s actually home run, so I got the piss take out of me a lot for that one.
Is Christian Grey based on any real people?
Yes. Most of it’s based on my fantasy man but there’s bit of real people in there. When I find the real Christian grey I’ll let you know.
What does Ana always refer to her vagina as her sex?
Because I’m very prudish, I didn’t want to be talking about her clit or cunt… all those words that turn women off. That’s why it was very simple.
How much of the banter between Ana and Christian came naturally?
I’m just a terrible flirt. That’s how I talk most of the time; my husband is pretty good at banter too. In fact we don’t have a marriage it’s more of competition really, it’s so much fun. I love writing dialogue, more than anything else. The dialogue and especially the emails. I could have written whole chapters of just emails. They were just good fun to do. In them Ana was more honest and you saw more of Christian’s sense of humour. They’re very telling as a device that lets you see into the characters.
Was the choice of the discrete looking covers deliberate?
Yes I wanted them to be discrete. I thought when they came out I wanted people to look at them and think they could almost be a book about accountancy. But the covers have now become quite iconic. I like really plain simple elegant artwork, I’m not into fancy things. I designed the first and second covers although the one here in the UK was designed by random house. I am a control freak, little clue there. But yes it was a very conscious decision to make sure there wasn’t a torso in sight.
Is there a reason you chose to write under a pseudonym?
Well yes, firstly it was because I had kids and I wanted to protect them. I also thought I would continue working and writing on the side. So I thought I’d have two identities and then I’d be able to do that. I haven’t worked since January because of the book. In fact I went to New York to meet some of the big six publishers and movie producers. I thought I’d give it six months and see what would happen. I’m very lucky that doing what I do working in TV it’s something I can go back into very easily. To be fair if I’d realised it was going to be such a bestseller I probably would have used my own name, but actually I think having this other identity is really kind of cool.
What inspired Christian’s megawealth?
There are actually people out there who earn phenomenal amounts of money. They deal in amounts that are just beyond our ken. The original title of the story was Master of The Universe and that’s what these kinds of people are.
The books have some very memorable expressions and catchphrases in them, do you use them in your own everyday life?
Some yes and some not so much. It’s really interesting how little bits of this have caught on, it’s fascinating. I didn’t do it deliberately, it just happened to come out of their and people have adopted them for various uses. It wasn’t like I sat there thinking (Evil Laugh) I must invent a slogan! I don’t realise they’re out there until they’re quoted back to me. Hearing people say things like Kinky F*ckery it’s fascinating.
The relationship between Christian and Ana takes place in quite a short time span, was there a reason for that?
I’m really sh*t at moving time along! I have to know every single f*cking thing they’re doing. I am really bad at it; it’s a challenge for it. Everything I’ve written is the same; it takes place over a very short period of time.
It’s great that you have playlist for the books, is that music you like yourself?
That’s a really good question, I have very eclectic taste and everything that’s in the lists is stuff that I like listening to myself. It’s actually trying to find new music which is the challenge. But I’m actually putting together new playlists now for books that I’m writing.
You were on a flight to America recently and you saw someone reading the book, what did they say when you finally introduced yourself?
I was tweeting about that. There was this woman sitting next to me on a plane reading the book and eventually I leaned across and said “Any good?” Sh said yeah “It’s… okay”. Then I said I wrote it and she was suddenly like “Oh My God it’s fantastic, it’s sooo good. She actually worked for the airline so afterwards we got free champagne it was great. And yes I did sign her copy.
How do you feel about the Twitter accounts that roleplay as and Christian?
Well Christian would never ever tweet! It’s a complete and utter waste of time. It’s funny these guys or girls who play on these sites. There should be a sociological study done on women who pretend to be men on all these sites. It’s fun though and I guess as long as people are enjoying themselves it’s important to say live and let live. They’re really sweet usually and just trying to have a good time.
The success of the books has changed your life a lot what’s been the best part of that?
I get to see place I’ve never been before. I was in Milan last week, then Madrid the week before, then LA the week before that. I’m going to Amsterdam next week and Sand Diego after that. So I’ve got more air miles! Though of course the British fans are the best!
Have you read any of the Fifty Shades fan fiction?
I haven’t read any and I don’t want to read any, because if I ever write any more Fifty Shades of Grey then I don’t want any of that in my head. It feels great that it’s happening and it’s fabulous but that’s for fans to do. I don’t really stay on top of anything to be honest these days though. I have over 5000 unread email in my in box. The only thing I stay on top of is my two twitter accounts. My Facebook page is mostly run by my publishing company. I’m not very keen on Facebook being honest.
Apart from Twilight were you inspired by any other romantic books?
I have a loft full of romantic literature, mainly American authors. It’s from when I was working in central London and had to travel on the tube every day. I used to get these books and fold the covers right back. They used to have these pictures on the front with women draped over a man’s torso with their clothes falling off. They were erotic romantic books. I’ve read hundreds of them and I love them. They’re all love stories as well, I like the romance.
The extra bits at the third book’s end are fairly interesting can you tell us a bit about that?
I want to blame Random House for not letting me use the words outtakes. I originally had it as an Outtake. It’s interesting I wrote those for the original publishers, because book reviewers get sent advance copies of the book. So I wrote those so that anyone who tweets me saying “Oh I didn’t get my copy of the advance reader…I could say that’s because you have illegally downloaded my book!” I know that! I put the added extra in the finished book as a gift to the people who actually bought it.