In Conversations With: EL James

Ah! I’m fan girling a little (okay a lot). One of the chain bookstores not too far from me had EL James come in earlier in the month to answer questions and promote her new novel, The Mister. And even though I really wasn’t the biggest fan of this book (as you may know) I am a fan of the Fifty Shades series (particularly Grey and Darker from Christian’s point of view) so I was still pretty pumped about going to see her read! I don’t do very many human social things (haha just kidding, but not really) and I’m so glad I decided to get a ticket.

We were allowed to take pictures (as long as there was no flash) so I’m adding a few of them to the end of the post. I’m not going to lie … after hearing her speak about The Mister, my feelings on the book have changed a little. I kind of like it a bit more after hearing her speak about it and getting some more insight into it straight from the author’s mouth). She also answered some questions I was hoping for (there’s no 100% concrete plan to write Freed (from Christian Grey’s perspective), although she didn’t completely rule it out, which brings me hope! She’s just apprehensive about writing certain parts of that novel from Grey’s perspective. She also mentioned that a few companies have reached out to her for movie rites, and that there may potentially be a sequel to The Mister, but it was more of a floating thought rather than a concrete plan!

But I think the best thing about the evening was seeing her in person, speaking and interacting with the fans. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an interview of her’s but she was so engaging, so at ease – it really felt like she was just chatting with 50-ish people sitting in front of her. Hearing her talk about Maxim and Alessia and her mentality on their characters made me rethink a lot of what I originally thought and felt the first time I read the book!

And above and beyond that, she was just so kind. Prior to her coming on stage someone came out to run down the rules for the audience (I’m not sure if they were a worker from the bookstore or someone on ELJ’s team). She told everyone that candid photos were acceptable, as long as the flash was turned off, which was great. But we were also told ELJ would not be signing anything other than copies of The Mister (so no Fifty Shades books). And that there would be no posed pictures. Which, I mean, not the greatest rules since obviously a lot of people wanted to take pictures with her and I saw a lot of people with copies of Fifty Shades, too.)

But she was so personable and really cool. When she came back on stage to sign everyone’s copy of The Mister, she said she didn’t mind signing Fifty Shades, too. And there were two book store employees standing near the signing table: one took your bag and held it for you on a table near by (I assume for safety reasons, since you never know if someone is going to be a danger to those in the room – but the employee guarded your stuff and you could see it the whole time, so it wasn’t a big deal at all), and then the other employee would take your camera or cell phone for you, to take pictures of you while ELJ signed your copy and chatted with you for a few seconds. And she was even very cool about posed pictures. She didn’t even have to be asked, she just signed your copy and then turned to the guy taking pictures for you and smiled! So while there wasn’t any going around the table and standing next to her, you still got a nice picture of her on one side of the table and you on the other – both looking at the camera, which is logistically smart, since it meant everyone got a photo with her, but it wasn’t as time consuming for her). It was just really awesome to see how cool she was and how much she clearly connected to her fans!

I had such an amazing experience with the book store, employees, ELJ, and her team! And just seeing her so at ease and being funny and cool, really made me love her as an author even more. I know my original review of The Mister was a bit harsh, but hearing her explain the characters a little more, and sort of run down her own connection to the characters she created, gave me a new appreciation for it. I’m certainly going to re-read it when I get a chance. I’m interested in my views on the novel, now, with more background information straight from ELJ’s mind.

I had a lot of fun. It’s nice to get out sometimes (I tend to forget that, since it’s not often I actually take part in social things.) I love that I had a nice bookish evening, and I had a ton of fun. I’m keeping an eye out for more author readings in my area from now on. So hopefully this won’t be the last one I attend this year!

Comment below on which books/authors you have autographs from!

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