'Fifty Shades' author admits she's 'not a great writer'
Tuesday is a big day for "Fifty Shades of Grey" fans as the second and third books in the steamy series arrive at booksellers across the nation. The first book from first-time British author E.L. James is a phenomenon already, read voraciously by women around the world. The books have been optioned by Universal Pictures.
The self-deprecating James did her first on-camera interview about the series on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday morning, and the fortysomething says she's as mystified by the popularity of the books as many commentators across the country. She calls the series her "midlife crisis writ large," a daily obsession that consumed her life for two years while she was writing the three books.
Although the series has women all hot and bothered, James says that nothing in the series is revolutionary. "I'm stunned by its popularity," said James. "I'm not a great writer."
Gifted wordsmith or not, James has kick-started a phenomenon that has extended well beyond book sales. Many women have taken James' graphic sex scenes between the young, virginal college grad Anastasia Steele and her domineering older boyfriend Christian Grey as practical suggestions and have started visiting sex shops to augment their props in the bedroom.
The Pleasure Chest in West Hollywood will hold a "Fifty Shades of Pleasure" workshop next month in its store, while another sex shop, Shag, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is partnering with BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism) instructors the Domi Dollz to teach interested women about the power dynamics of a dominant-submissive relationship. ABC's "20/20" plans to do a segment on the women-only session.
"People have always been interested in exploring that type of sexual relationship," said Samantha Bard, 37, co-owner of Shag. "What I think is happening now is that it's becoming OK to talk about it now."
For more on the "Fifty Shades" phenomenon, check out our story here.
-- Nicole Sperling
Photo: E.L. James Credit: Vintage Books