E.L. James, the British author of the headline-making book trilogy “Fifty Shades of Grey,” says she was compelled to write her wildly popular erotic novel after the success of “The Twilight Saga.”
“I was inspired by Stephanie Meyer. She just flipped this switch,” James said in an interview with “20/20” co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas, which aired on Tuesday’s “Good Morning America.”
But the “Fifty Shades” trilogy – James also penned two sequels, “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades of Freedom” – is much racier than anything Bella, Edward and Jacob ever did.
“It’s a contemporary, romantic fiction, with quite a lot of sex in it,” she said of the story about young student Anastasia Steele and billionaire Christian Grey, who has a fetish for BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) and dominating women.
James explained that she began the books during a “midlife crisis.”
“It’s all my fantasies in, in one thing,” she said.
The mother of two teenage sons said her children have not read the books and she hopes they never do.
“I’d be mortified, and they’d be mortified, you know,” she said. “It’d be far too embarrassing.”
The author – who reportedly scored $5 million for the movie rights to her story – also spoke to the “Today” show’s Michelle Kosinski on Tuesday about her success – something she is still reeling about.
“I was amazed how popular it was. I’m still amazed,” she said.
And when asked about the book’s dominating sexual relationship between the characters, James said she thinks many women might feel the way Anastasia does.
“Once you’re in charge of your job, your house, your children, getting the food on the table, doing all of this, all of the time, it’d be nice for someone else to be in charge for a bit maybe,” she explained.
Adding with a laugh, “You want someone who does the dishes.”