Niall Leonard, AKA Mr. E.L. James.
“We did fall out once,” he told the newspaper. “I stomped off without finishing the chapter, and she published it anyway, and if any commas were in the wrong place, no one noticed. Whenever Erika encountered a story problem, she’d describe it, and I would come up with a simple solution that was clear, elegant and always so utterly wrong she’d immediately devise her own.”
“It would be nice to picture us working at the same desk but in our case it’s probably better to stay out of crockery-throwing range,” he adds. “I work in my shed, Erika works at her desk, and we meet in the kitchen for meal times or coffee.”
While he enjoys his wife’s writing style and story-telling abilities, he tells CNN that he’s not really the target audience.
“It’s aimed at women. It works for women,” he explains. “Men, not always.”
“I tried giving her writing input,” he admits. “We’re both very individual writers — I mean all writers are. But some people work in writing teams and we’d never make a writing team because our approaches are completely different.”
He may be hoping that his own book will be a hit with the guys. Leonard’s debut crime novel, Crusher, goes on sale this week; it’s about 17-year-old Finn Maguire and his search for his father’s killer.
“You write what you believe in, you write what excites you, you write what makes you passionate,” he says. “And any writer who does that can’t go wrong.”
He says that he’s not jealous of his wife’s best-selling successes, and he’s certainly not jealous of her fictional fantasy guy.
“He’s a deeply damaged fantasy figure,” Leonard says. “I’m really happy not to be Christian Grey, because that guy’s a mess.”
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