Erika Mitchell (born 1963), better known by her pen name E. L. James, is a British author. She is best known for writing the best-selling BDSM-themed erotic romance trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed, along with the companion novels Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian, Darker: Fifty Shades Darker as Told by Christian, and Freed: Fifty Shades Freed as Told by Christian. Prior to this, she wrote the Twilight fan fiction “Master of the Universe” that served as the basis for the Fifty Shades trilogy under the web name Snowqueens Icedragon.
The Fifty Shades novels have sold over 125 million copies worldwide and over 35 million copies in the United States, and set the record in the United Kingdom as the fastest selling paperback of all time. In 2012, Time magazine named her one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People.” The novels were subsequently adapted into the films Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed.
Mitchell’s novels have been criticized for being poorly written, and for confusing BDSM with abuse, as they feature a character (Ana) enduring sex and BDSM acts against her will from a character (Christian) who feels justified in doing so because he claims to be a dominant.