Fifty Shades of Grey author's saucy tale was inspired by her Latin roots, says her mother
14:44 GMT, 12 July 2012
The Chilean mother of Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James said her daughter took inspiration from her 'fiery' Latin heritage when she wrote her best-selling erotic novels.
Speaking about the books’ success for the
first time, Alexandra Mitchell, who is in her 70s, said: 'She used to speak
Spanish when she was a little girl, so maybe the writing is down to the
Chilean fiery spirit.'
The retired sales rep, who has lived in England for more than 30 years and currently lives in High Wycombe, praised her daughter's erotic trilogy for helping spice up the sex lives of older women.
Fiery spirit: Alexandra Mitchell said her daughter Erika, pictured, took inspiration from her South American roots to write her best-selling erotic novels
She said: 'The books have really helped a lot of people, especially older ladies. My son and I laugh because we read all the comments from readers on the internet.
'They say stuff like ‘My husband is in for treat tonight, I didn’t know there were so many positions’. It’s great. It has helped bring couples together.'
Ms Mitchell said she had read the books three times and 'absolutely loved them'. However, she admitted she is usually a fan of thrillers.
Despite dominating the book chart and surpassing the sales of JK Rowling's Harry Potter and Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, James, whose real name is Erika Mitchell, has been criticised for her poor writing style and the book's saucy content.
The racy plot follows the depraved relationship between naive graduate Anastasia Steele and handsome older billionaire Christian Grey, who introduces her to sado-masochism and bondage.
But her mother attacked people who dismiss the book – especially those who do so without reading it.
She said: 'How the hell can you pass judgement without having read it. I was listening to Woman’s Hour and this critic was saying she was disgusted. It turned out she had never read it!'
Another fan: Ms Mitchell said she is proud of her daughter, who writes under the pen name EL James, and has read the books in her trilogy three times
Ms Mitchell said the whole family is delighted with Erika's success but regrets the fact her father never lived to see it. Her husband, a BBC cameraman, died nine years ago but Ms Mitchell has no doubt he would have been 'extremely proud' of his daughter.
Ms Mitchell said her daughter showed a talent for writing from a young age when she wrote a story about a flying snowman.
She recalls: 'She did write as a little girl. Erika won’t remember this but she wrote something that was absolutely brilliant about a snowman that flew, way before The Snowman story that came onto television. It was one of those coincidences.'
She also admitted she never expected the books to be so successful, saying it came as a shock to the family. Speaking of the publicity it has brought, she said her daughter is struggling to cope with the attention.
'It was a lovely surprise. None of us expected it. She didn’t either. She was writing it for herself. She didn’t even want to publish it at first. She said to me ‘I never wanted to be famous mother’.'
The trilogy – Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed – has outsold Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code, topping bestseller lists in more than 30 countries.
is said to have amassed an estimated 6.5million from the sales of her
books and is reported to be looking for a new home in London in the
region of 3m. She is also said to have sold the film rights to the