Author E. L. James earned $95 Million last year from her erotic novel trilogy, Fifty Shades Of Grey.
Forbes magazine revealed that the 50-year-old Londoner earned more than any other novelist last year. So, how has she been spending the money?
It is known that some writers splash out when they hit the big time. For example, Harry Potter‘s J. K. Rowling is still the world’s richest author with a fortune of $900 million.
She has a large property portfolio and takes her vacations across the world, renting mansions for £76,000 a week. She spends up to £150,000 a year on security.
E. L. (Erika Leonard) James, on the other hand, has barely spent a penny of her royalties. And you won’t see her in swanky upmarket shops because she’s busy snapping up bargains of cheap flatpack furniture at Ikea.
Her largest single expenditure has been to swap her $560,000 terrace house for a much larger property valued at over $4 million. Of course, the refurbishment plan calls for grey gates, a grey conservatory, and a grey kitchen. However, there is no swimming pool, home gym, or triple garage for her.
Erika’s taste in transport is also fairly basic: no fancy sports cars. She upgraded their old Honda to a Mini Cooper when she got the first royalties from her book. Since then, she added to her car collection with a posh Audi TT, worth $60,000.
Her determination to be ordinary is clearly working. One neighbor remarked, “She keeps a low profile.” She spent the summer playing badminton in her garden with a $30 set from Argos.
For the family vacation they flew to France on cut-price airline CityJet for $240 each, and spent their time visiting a fairground and watching a duck race in the local village. On the holiday she acted like a typical middle-aged suburban mum. She is no stranger to alcohol and she smokes menthol cigarettes.
Her only indulgences seems to be bras from the Royal Family’s favorite lingerie firm, Rigby & Peller, (which specialises in catering for bigger breasted ladies) and home visits from beauticians, who thread her eyebrows.
It seems her reluctance to spend her millions comes from her astonishment at the success of her books She told an interviewer, “It’s completely and utterly overwhelming … I just wanted to tell a rollicking good story peppered with lots of sex. I always had vague hopes of being published, but everyone always tells you it won’t happen.”
Referring to her husband, Niall, She says that she relied on him heavily while writing the trilogy. She would sometimes ask him to help her choreograph the sex scenes to check that they were physically possible.
She said: “I’ve realized I don’t want celebrity. I want to be able to go on the Tube and listen to my iPod and no one knows who I am. Meanwhile, I come home at night and do the laundry and chat to my children and that’s the real part of my life.”
She says, “All the other stuff is kind of unreal.” What is real is that Fifty Shades Of Grey has changed her life forever.