Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

It's James' 'Holy Cow' Moment

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

It's James' 'Holy Cow' Moment

Article excerpt

Scores of women have personally thanked her for reviving their bedroom lives as she signs copies of the novels during her books tour around the country, which includes a stop Tuesday in Paramus. A handful have told her they're pregnant.

It's a lot to take in for this West London mother of two, who single-handedly brought handcuffs and spanking paddles into the literary mainstream. Right now, she wants nothing more than a nap. "Sleep, that's what I would like next. I would pay good money for sleep," said James during a phone interview, which started with loud chuckles about her outgoing American fans and sputtered into extended sighs over her critics.

Her meteoric rise in the past few months is the stuff of fairy tale, putting her in a class with "Harry Potter" mastermind J.K. Rowling and "Twilight" creator Stephenie Meyer. A former television producer, she wrote the books as a "midlife crisis" project, inspired by "Twilight" fan fiction.

What started out as erotic fiction posted online for free has turned into this year's publishing darling. Her three books occupy the top three slots on this week's Publishers Weekly's best-selling trade books list. She has a $5 million movie deal with Universal to keep her tied up for a while. And oh, yeah, she was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People.

The attention has not been all positive. Critics have attacked James' books as anti-feminist - the stories focus on the dominant- submissive relationship between billionaire Christian Grey and heroine Anastasia Steele. Grey isolates Steele from her friends, controls her life and engages her in kinky sex, leaving bruises on her wrists, which has made James a target for criticism.

She is tired of the scrutiny. "It's just noise, really. It's a romantic fiction book. I don't know what all the fuss is about," James said, ending with a long sigh.

"What people get up into the bedroom is absolutely their own choice, as long as it's safe, sane and consensual. Who the hell is anyone else to judge? …

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