Readersforum's Blog

March 12, 2012

British author’s ‘mommy porn’ becomes US bestseller

EL James, the British author who is becoming successful in the US writing so-called 'mommy porn'.

EL James is the toast of literary circles, where she is credited with introducing ‘graphic, heavy-breathing erotica’

By Ben Quinn

With her debut novel at the top of the New York Times bestseller list and the subject of a bidding war over film rights, EL James is suddenly the toast of US literary circles, where she is credited with introducing “graphic, heavy-breathing erotica” to a mass of female readers never previously likely to have turned to the genre.

Yet at home in Britain, where she left her job as a TV production executive in January to concentrate full-time on her writing career, the mother of two still remains a virtual unknown.

It’s a state of affairs that’s unlikely to last for long, however, with plans for a British edition of the book and what James’ agent describes as an ongoing “bombardment” of interest from US film studios vying for the rights to her novel, the tale of a submissive-dominant relationship between a shy female college student and a successful male entrepreneur.

James, who lives in west London and is remaining coy for now about her full name, is leaving interviews for now to her agent, Valerie Hoskins, who said that the success of the book was due in large part to it simply being a “gripping read”.

“In many ways it’s a classic romance. It’s beauty and the beast, a wish-fulfilment story, and of course there are significant erotic passages in the relationship between the two principal characters, which I think is unique in mainstream commercial fiction,” said Hoskins, who also highlighted the way in which Kindles and iPads have brought a degree of anonymity for readers who would in the past have balked at being seen fingering a book identifiable as erotic fiction.

“It is benefiting from word of mouth among women who may previously have bought erotic fiction, and of course nobody can see what you are reading on your screen. A Kindle or an iPad looks like everyone else’s.”

“There is definitely a viral factor about it among groups of women who are talking about it where they meet at school runs, playgrounds, the hairdressers, exercise class.”

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