E L JAMES describes herself as a mum-of-two, a former TV executive and wife who “dreamed of writing stories that readers would fall in love with”.
But who is the Fifty Shades of Grey author – dubbed an “erotica industry mogul” – whose former hobby has resulted in a multi-million-pound entertainment franchise, and what is her new book about?
Who is E L James?
E L James is the author of the bestselling Fifty Shades trilogy.
Her books were made into films starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan – with the movies raking in more than a billion dollars at the box office.
One of the world’s most famous authors, E L James lives in Ealing, west London, with her husband Niall Leonard, a writer, and their two Westies, according to The New York Times.
She told the paper that “writing used to be my hobby”.
The NYT points out that, over the past eight years, her so-called hobby has transformed into a huge entertainment franchise.
That’s resulted in James making the leap from an “anonymous writer posting lusty fantasies online, to an erotica industry mogul who’s running her own small empire of kink”, the paper says.
According to James’s website, she “dreamed of writing stories that readers would fall in love with – and now those dreams have come true, thanks to you guys”.
She describes herself as a “former TV executive, wife and mother-of two based in the leafy suburbs of west London.
“I have been writing romantic fiction since 2009 and in 2012 my career took an extraordinary turn when my Fifty Shades Trilogy became a world bestseller and subsequently a series of blockbuster movies.”
Her advice to others hoping to follow in her footsteps is to “seize the day and follow your dreams”.
What's the Fifty Shades Of Grey author's new book about?
James told the NYT that she hopes her new work of original fiction – her first since Fifty Shades – will kick off a new phase of her writing career.
Penguin says the book, released on April 16, is a “thrilling new romance” based on aristocrat Maxim Trevelyan.
With his good looks, connections and wealth, “he’s never had to work and he’s rarely slept alone.
“But all that changes when tragedy strikes and Maxim inherits his family’s noble title, wealth and estates, and all the responsibility that entails.”
And that’s not the only challenge he faces, as he must also fight his “desire for an unexpected, enigmatic young woman who’s recently arrived in England, possessing little more than a dangerous and troublesome past.”
James says it's a "21st century Cinderella" and a "passionate, erotic love story".
The NYT describes the work as a love story set mostly in contemporary London and Cornwall, “who falls for his house cleaner, a beautiful mysterious young woman who fled Albania.
“In Hollywood pitch terms, it’s like a porny mash-up of ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Downton Abbey’.
What is E L James's real name?
E L was born Erika Leonard, née Mitchell in London in 1963, to a Chilean mum and a Scottish dad who was a BBC cameraman.
The Telegraph says she was privately educated, before reading history at the University of Kent.
James went on to work as a studio manager’s assistant at the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, before eventually embarking upon her writing career.
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