“50 Shades of Grey” author E.L. James hasn’t done much press for her book. But why bother when it’s sold 2 billion copies in just a month? And hardly a day goes by without a(n often snobbish) new think piece on what it means for women in the press? But “Today” on NBC, whose sister company Universal Pictures won the movie rights, landed her for a segment this morning. She spent most of it giggling and blushing, and confessed that talking about the books is “excruciating.”
It’s not hard to understand why: “This is my midlife crisis writ large. All my fantasies out there,” she explains. But she was funny, and relatable. When reporter Michelle Kosinski asked her if she needed to be in the mood to write, or have a couple glasses of wine, she said she joked about often needing a couple glasses of wine, just generally. She said she did nothing else but write the three books over a period of two years, working on them every day.
Ans as for the much-debated power dynamics between the college student protagonist and her billionaire, sexually dominant boyfriend Christian Grey? “That’s really attractive on paper,” she says of the Grey character. While she believes women want that “in their fantasies,” she adds, “I think in real life you want someone very, very different. You want someone who does the dishes.”
James is as “stunned” by the books success as anyone else. And yes, she knows: “I’m not a great writer.”