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‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Author and Twihard E. L. James Talks Smoking and Spicy Sex with EW

'Fifty Shades of Grey' Author and Twihard E. L. James Talks Smoking and Spicy Sex with EW

EW’s next issue goes deep into E. L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which Universal’s Focus Features recently won after a bidding war. Here are the details on how what started as “Twilight” fan fiction become a novel trilogy and a hot Hollywood property. Highlights of James’ interview with EW are below.

Publicity-shy James admits that the attention is “a bit of a struggle.” The overweight smoker (“all the interesting people smoke”) is a voracious consumer of erotic romances, owning more than 800 (“I used to read them on the tube, bending the covers right back. Ooh, I love them. Good times!”). The inspiration for the “Grey” series came from “Twilight”‘s Bella and Edward, and morphed into women’s erotica as she paired an innocent 21-year old and a mogul with a past (and a predilection for S&M).

But James’ transition from TV exec to novelist took a while: “When I was working in London, I used to have to commute.” She always wanted to write, and “Twilight” was her gateway into actually doing it. “I’m a huge Twihard. And I sat down and [started writing]. No other books have ever inspired me. [Stephanie Meyer] just flipped a switch.”

James doesn’t classify “Grey” as erotica: “It’s a romantic fantasy story. That’s it. It’s just a fun read. I don’t see it as erotica. I see it as a contemporary romance. Yes, it’s quite graphic, but when people fall in love they have sex. Well, actually, they have a lot of sex. In the beginning. So that’s what this is about. It’s for ordinary women who like some spicy sex.”

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