Long before author E.L. James rose to fame for her Fifty Shades Trilogy, she was born Erika Mitchell in 1963 in London, England. James was raised in Buckinghamshire, where her father worked as a cameraman for the BBC news network, and as a young woman she chose to study film and television while in college. After graduating, James married a screenwriter and worked for awhile as an assistant at the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield.
E.L. James was inspired to begin her career as a writer after reading the entire Twilight series of novels in a matter of days. Fascinated by the storyline, E.L. began to experiment with “fan fiction,” where she wrote a few sequel stories to the series. The Fifty Shades “books” also began as online fan fiction, published on FanFiction.Net. The series was so popular it was quickly snatched up for traditional publication and the rest, as they say, is history.
E.L. James has since seen her Fifty Shades trilogy push her to the very top of the highest-earning authors of the era. The books – Fifty Shades of Grey (2011), Fifty Shades Darker (2012), and Fifty Shades Freed (2012) – have earned James nods from the National Book Award (UK) for “Book of the Year”; Publishers Weekly, with “Publishing Person of the Year”; and Time Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” The first two books in the series have been adapted into films, and it is expected that the third will be as well.
James continues to write and publish. Her most recent book, a fourth installment of the Fifty Shades series, was published in 2015. The book, Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian, flips the narrative from female protagonist to male protagonist, and is sure to be a huge success among Fifty Shades fans.