Who is E.L James?
E.L. James was born Erika Leonard in London, England, in 1963. Her father worked as a BBC cameraman and the family lived in Buckinghamshire, in South East England. James attended the University of Kent, where she studied history. After graduating, she started a career in television and then later on becoming an executive. In 1987, she married screenwriter and director Niall Leonard.
While James built her career on TV, she was not active as a writer until 2009. Using the pen name "Snowqueen's Icedragon", she began writing fanfiction inspired by the Twilight vampire fiction series written by Stephenie Meyer.
In 2011, James published the first third of Masters of the Universe entitled Fifty Shades of Grey, while assuming the identity E.L. James. The novel was originally produced as an e-book and a print-on-demand paperback by The Writers' Coffee Shop in Australia. They published a second volume, Fifty Shades Darker, the same year, and a third the following year under the name Fifty Shades Freed.
In Less than a year, the Grey novels achieved a great deal of popularity. Sales continued to grow as the media focused on James' work. In April 2012, Vintage published a printed edition of Fifty Shades of Grey. Sales broke records in the United Kingdom and later on in the United States, where the book topped the bestseller charts for 20 weeks or more.