Books

09.18.12

E.L. James on the “50 Shades of Grey” Classical Album and Next Book

At an event celebrating the release of a 50 Shades classical music album, author E.L. James spoke about Raymond Tallis, Pachelbel’s Canon, and what’s next for the erotic blockbuster. By Lizzie Crocker.

The profits keep piling up for Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James, who celebrated Monday’s release of 50 Shades of Grey: The Classical Album—“the perfect accompaniment to the Fifty Shades reading experience,” according to the CD pamphlet— with a Q&A at New York’s Soho House last night. Upon arrival, guests were handcuffed (naturally) and ushered upstairs to the club’s Drawing Room, which had been slightly sexed up for the occasion. Masked waiters served wine and hors d’oeuvres under dim lights and a quartet played mood music from the new album in a dark corner. Club members, reporters, Fifty Shades enthusiasts, and Christian Grey wannabes meandered awkwardly around the room with varying agendas until James took the stage.

“I had a huge playlist when I was writing these novels,” James told the host about her inspiration for the album, which includes classical music from the 16th century through the modern period. Pachalbel’s “Canon in D,” “Bailero” from Cantaloube’s Chants D’Auverne, Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Dressing” and Tallis’s “Spem in Alium” are among the highlights. Tallis’s version of the devotional choral work was getting play long before the album was even announced, thanks to the role-playing of its “astral, seraphic voices” in one particularly raucous sex scene between Miss Steele and Mr. Grey.

While James admits the expressive nature of classical music makes it particularly well-suited to erotica, the Black Eyed Peas and Bruce Springsteen top her current sex-writing playlists.

“It’s an erotic tale, that’s all I’m going to tell you,” James said coyly when asked whether her next book will fit the Fifty Shades niche. She’s determined to finish it and work on a few other projects before she considers revisiting Anastasia and Christian in the Red Room of Pain. But Fifty Shades fans are eager for an addition to the series.

“Lots of people are clamoring for the fourth book in the trilogy,” she quipped. But James remained tight-lipped on the subject of the forthcoming film adaptation, politely refusing to answer the host’s relentless questions about her casting preferences, not to mention how the book’s x-rated content translate in ratings on the silver screen. “We haven’t discussed that yet,” James said nonchalantly. She remains completely overwhelmed by the meteoric success of the Fifty Shades trilogy, and admits that speaking in front of large crowds at press gatherings and other fancy occasions is still a bit nerve-wracking.

“[These books] are really my fantasy. And the wonderful thing about this is that they seem to be other people’s fantasies as well.”

For all the critical hand-wringing over her trilogy, James couldn’t be more thrilled with the success of her books and the fact that they're getting many women who don’t usually read to pick up not one book, but three. “[These books] are really my fantasy. And the wonderful thing about this is that they seem to be other people’s fantasies as well. So I’m not such a pervert after all.”