Fifty Shades Of Grey: The Lowdown

Fifty Shades is an erotic fiction trilogy (Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed) written by British author, EL James

To date, the literary trilogy has sold around ten million copies worldwide - topping the New York Times bestsellers list.

The first book 'Fifty Shades of Grey' introduces readers to 21 year-old college virgin, Anastasia Steele and the devastatingly handsome yet manipulative millionaire, Christian Grey. After a chance encounter, the pair begin a graphic dominant/submissive relationship with fiesty heroine Steele trying to uncover Grey's dark secrets.

All three of the books are set in Seattle. EL James told woman&home in a recent interview that she's never visited Seattle 'but that was fun - writing about a place I know nothing about, although I've travelled all the roads in the book, but only on Google Street View'.


EL James based the Fifty Shades trilogy on the Twilight books using fan fiction sites (where you write stories based on your favourite books or characters). 'I read a few Twilight fan fiction stories and thought, 'I'll have a go at this'. So I wrote one and then had an idea for another one, which inspired Fifty Shades', she said.


Themes of BDSM (Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, and Sadomasochism) feature heavily throughout the Fifty Shades trilogy, but the writing is never crude. E.L James says the books were born out of reading about that lifestyle.


The Fifty Shades trilogy has been dubbed 'mommy porn' in America due to its graphic nature and thirty-something female readership.


Writing the novels started as a hobby for EL James. 'When I started writing, I really was very unhappy in my job [she's a former TV executive] so I escaped in to writing and it took me out of my world...I really, really enjoyed it'.


The Fifty Shades trilogy was never publicised. An Australian publisher bought the first rights to the novels, but they were only available as e-books or print-on-demand books. Word of mouth recommendations sent the stories viral in the US. Fifty Shades is now available in 37 countries. 


Haven't read the Fifty Shades Trilogy yet? Buy the books now.


Read our interview with EL James in July's woman&home. Out now.

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