EL James is a British author, known for her erotic novel series Fifty Shades of Grey. She was rated by Forbes as the richest author in the world and appeared on the Times List of 100 most influential people for 2013.
Erika Mitchell popularly known as EL James was born in 1963 in London, England to a Chilean mother and a Scottish father who worked as a cameraman for BBC.
James studied history at the University of Kent and joined National Film and Television School (Beaconsfield) as a Studio Managers assistant, eventually rising to the level of an executive.
Interest in writing
E.L James’s interest in writing goes back to early childhood, she always dreamed of writing stories that readers would fall in love with, but her career and family took priority.
It was in January 2009 that EL James started writing fanfiction inspired by Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. Using a pen name “Snowqueens Icedragon” James created her own stories featuring the Twilight characters Bella Swan and Edward Cullen.
James compiled her stories in a novel format and released them in installments on various fan-fiction websites under the title ‘Master of the Universe’. Later on James took the stories to her own website and changed the names of the two main characters Bella and Edward to Anastasia and Christian Grey. It was at this stage that James declared that her stories have little resemblance to Twilight Saga.
In May 2011, EL James released 1/3 of ‘Master of the Universe’ in e-book and print format under the now famous title ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. She released the remaining parts of the novel as ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ and ‘Fifty Shades Freed’
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades of Grey became a runaway hit due to its erotic plot about an affair between a young student Anastasia Steele and a 27-year-old billionaire.
Fifty Shades became the fastest selling novel of all times when it was launched as a paperback. The Fifty Shades trilogy registered a combined sales of over 35 million copies worldwide, surprising everyone including James herself.
Fifty Shades series has been hammered by the critics, reviewers have termed it anything from mommy porn to a dull and poor work of fiction, Huffington Post reviewer Jesse Kornbluth called it a ‘sad joke’.
EL James refuses to call her work ‘mommy porn’, she believes that her work appeals to the needs of the women who basically love passionate love stories.
Highest Paid Author
E.L James did not need any help from the critics to set the cash registers ringing, she was rated by Forbes in 2013 as the highest paid author in the world, with an estimated $95 million in earnings.
In 2012, Time magazine had named EL James as one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People”.
EL James on her Success
EL James attributes her astounding success to two factors – ‘follow your dreams’ and ‘seize the opportunity’
If any one were to ask me for my thoughts about this whole experience, I would say: life is not a dress rehearsal – seize the day and follow your dreams. – EL James Quotes