Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sex Sells

by Brittany Geragotelis

I wasn't at all surprised to learn that Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James was the highest grossing author this past year...but I was surprised (and psyched) to hear that the British writer also topped Forbes' top earners list! With about $95million in gross earnings, E.L. tied in third place with "X-Factor's" Simon Cowell. I love that another female author is being celebrated for creating a cultural phenomenon. And that it's with a BOOK....anything that gets people reading, right?

What an inspiration!

In honor of this mega-star writer, here are 10 other surprisingly fun facts about E.L. James:

1. The Shades novels have sold over 35 million copies in the US--over 70 million worldwide--setting the record as the fastest selling paperback of all time.

2. E.L. likes a nice ride. She bought herself a new car after Fifty Shades hit No. 1 on the NY Times Bestseller's list! A girl's got to get to her book signings, doesn't she?

3. E.L. James is just a pen name. Her real name is Erika Leonard.

4. Fifty Shades actually started out as fan fiction for Twilight, which the author posted for free online before deciding to publish it.

5. E.L. worked in television all her life...but it's always been her dream to work in movies. So when she started getting e-mails from Hollywood about the film rights, she made sure to negotiate a lot of her own input into the project. We're talking approval of everything from the director and screenwriter to the costumes and locations. And she scored a cool 5 million dollar paycheck to do it!

6. E.L. did research into S&M before writing Fifty Shades. Although she's shy about talking about what exactly that entailed.

7. E.L. doesn't like the term "Mommy Porn" as a description for Fifty Shades. She thinks women shouldn't be made to feel ashamed about talking about sex (Amen, sister!). She also considers the book to be, at its roots, a love story.

8. She's humble, despite her overnight fame. She and her family (husband Niall Leonard and their two sons) still live in the same house in a quiet neighborhood in London that they had before the book craziness began.

Who's the real Christian Grey? Rob or Charlie?
9. E.L.'s first choice for who would play the role of Christian in the film adaptation? Rob Pattinson from the Twilight movies. The guy who was actually cast? Charlie Hunnam from "Sons of Anarchy."

10. She's the first one to admit that her writing isn't a great work of art. In fact, she started writing as a hobby, something to help her deal with her mid-life crisis. But she doesn't apologize for the lack of literary masterpiece (something I love about her!). Because honestly, who's to say it's not? If people liked reading it, then it's worth being out there in the literary world as far as I'm concerned.

What do you think of E.L. James and her books? Leave your comments below!