5 surprising facts about the author of “Fifty Shades of Grey” that you probably didn’t know

Fifty Shades Freed, the last film installment of the Fifty Shades trilogy adapted from the E.L. James erotic novels, will be released in theaters on Friday, February 9th. Directed by James Foley, Fifty Shades Freed follows billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) in all their newly-married bliss as people from their past threaten to thwart their relationship. And then there’s the kinky stuff like bondage and whips. Fifty Shades of Grey was first published in May 2011 by British writer E.L. James. In sum, the Fifty Shades trilogy has sold over 100 million copies worldwide and broke a sales record in the United Kingdom as the fastest-selling novel.

Ahead of the Fifty Shades Freed release, below are five unexpected facts about British author E.L. James.

E.L. James isn’t her real name

James was actually born Erika Mitchell in London, England. The moniker “E.L. James” is a lot more elusive and therefore fitting for an author of a steamy novel, if you ask us!

Fifty Shades stems from Twilight fanfiction

It’s true. Fifty Shades of Grey was initially written as Twilight fanfiction. James has largely credited her novel as a response to the Stephenie Meyer vampire romance series. She earned a massive online following with her fanfiction, which eventually led to her book deal.

James’ fanfiction was written under the alias “Snowqueens Icedragon”

As outlined in Adweek’s “The Lost History of Fifty Shades of Grey,”James initially wrote under the pseudonym “Snowqueens Icedragon” which is just about as late-2000s as it gets. Additionally, before settling on Fifty Shades of Grey, her fanfiction was initially titled Master of the Universe.

James has called Fifty Shades her “midlife crisis”

Shocked by the success of Fifty Shades, James has described the trilogy as her “midlife crisis, writ large; all my fantasies in there, and that’s it.” In an interview with The Telegraph, James elaborated:

“I kind of meant it. I worked for a company I was incredibly miserable at. Then I discovered writing after reading Twilight.

James was named one of Time’s “World’s 100 Most Influential People”

In 2012, James made Time’s “The World’s 100 Most Influential People” as well as Forbes’ “The Top-Earning Authors” in 2013. Between these feats, we’d say not too shabby for a midlife crisis.