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Fifty Shades of Grey Began as Twilight Fan Fiction

Author E L James has landed a headline-making three-book deal with Vintage Books to publish her erotica series, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Book blogger Jane Litte broke the news of the book’s origin–a work of Twilight fan fiction from 2009 called Master of the Universe.

Almost one year ago, Australian publisher The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House released the first book of the trilogy.  The book went on to sell over 250,000 copies in eBooks and paperbacks.

GalleyCat has obtained a copy of the original fan fiction manuscript (published under the name Snowqueens Icedragon). Below, we’ve compared the first few paragraphs of that book with the similar opening from The Writer’s Coffee Shop edition of the novel published last year (Publishers Weekly has a quote from the Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House publisher confirming the book’s fan fiction origins). What do you think?

VHA Ltd agent Valerie Hoskins negotiated the Vintage deal for Fifty Shades of Grey. The New York Times had more about the sale: “American publishers have just concluded a battle over the rights to re-release the book in the blockbuster fashion they think it deserves. This week, Vintage Books, part of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, known for its highbrow literary credentials, won a bidding war for the rights to all three books, paying a seven-figure sum.”

Here is a quote from the original Master of the Universe, a fan fiction erotica book about a girl named Bella Swan meeting a wealthy industrialist named Edward Cullen.

I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror. Damn my hair, it just won‘t behave, and damn Rose for being ill and subjecting me to this ordeal. I have tried to brush my hair into submission but it‘s not toeing the line. I must learn not to sleep with it wet. I recite this five times as a mantra whilst I try, once more, with the brush. I give up. The only thing I can do is restrain it, tightly, in a pony tail and hope that I look reasonably presentable.

Rose is my roommate and she has chosen, okay, that‘s a bit unfair, because choice has had nothing to do with it, but she has the flu and as such cannot do the interview she‘s arranged with some mega industrialist for the student newspaper. So I have been volunteered. I have final exams to cram for, one essay to finish and I am supposed to be working this afternoon, but no – today – I have to head into downtown Seattle and meet the enigmatic CEO of Cullen Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Allegedly he‘s some exceptional tycoon who is a major benefactor of our University and his time is extraordinarily precious… much more precious than mine – and he‘s granted Rose an interview… a real coup she tells me… Damn her extra-curricular activities.

Here is a passage from The Writers Coffee Shop edition of Fifty Shades of Grey, a book about a girl named Anastasia Steele meeting a man named Christian Grey:

I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror. Damn my hair – it just won’t behave, and damn Katherine Kavanagh for being ill and subjecting me to this ordeal. I should be studying for my final exams, which are next week, yet here I am trying to brush my hair into submission. I must not sleep with it wet. I must not sleep with it wet. Reciting this mantra several times, I attempt, once more, to bring it under control with the brush. I roll my eyes in exasperation and gaze at the pale, brown-haired girl with blue eyes too big for her face staring back at me, and give up. My only option is to restrain my wayward hair in a ponytail and hope that I look semi presentable.

Kate is my roommate, and she has chosen today of all days to succumb to the flu. Therefore, she cannot attend the interview she’d arranged to do, with some mega-industrialist tycoon I’ve never heard of, for the student newspaper. So I have been volunteered. I have final exams to cram for, one essay to finish, and I’m supposed to be working this afternoon, but no – today I have to drive a hundred and sixty-five miles to downtown Seattle in order to meet the enigmatic CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc. As an exceptional entrepreneur and major benefactor of our University, his time is extraordinarily precious – much more precious than mine – but he has granted Kate an interview. A real coup, she tells me. Damn her extra-curricular activities.

 

The Vintage eBook editions are scheduled to be released today, with a trade paperback run of the trilogy coming in April.

James had this statement in the release: “Fifty has taken me on an extraordinary and wholly unexpected adventure and I’m thrilled to be continuing it with Vintage … I’ve heard from so many readers trying to find these books in their local bookshops and libraries. It is gratifying to know that they will soon become widely available in the U.S. and around the world.”

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