E.L. James, author of the erotic Fifty Shades of Grey series atop the New York Times best-seller list, isn't embarrassed about her material. The British mother of two kicked off a book tour in Miami last weekend, greeting more than 500 blushing and flushing fans at an early morning signing on Sunday. Later in the day, she spoke to a sold-out crowd. E.L. James has bagged a seven-figure movie deal, and The Vampire Diaries' Ian Somerhalder already threw out his name as a possible Christian Grey. If you're deep into the S&M fiction, or just curious about the pop culture phenomenon, here are a few things to know about the woman who started it all.
- Her real name is Erika Leonard.
- Before she landed on E.L. James, she went by the pen name "Snowqueens Icedragon." And her work was originally titled Master of the Universe.
- The story began as Twilight fan fiction, and E.L. James says Stephenie Meyers inspired her to try writing a novel.
- She wrote the story during what she calls a "midlife crisis" and says it contains all her fantasies in one place.
- She's been married for 20 years, and has two teenage sons who have not read the books. Of that prospect, she says: "Good God. I would be mortified."
- E.L. James was raised in London, studied history, and previously worked as a TV producer.
- She was named one of Time's most influential people of 2012.
Click through for some photos from the book tour.