50 Shades of Grey made me do it!
February 28, 2015

It wasn’t my desire to explore the thrill of bondage and get kinky with ropes. It wasn’t the riveting dialogue or burning romance or tantalizing sex scenes. But there was something about the understated grey cover, the words and the popularity of that book that made me do something.

50 Shades of Grey made me write a book!

I wrote my book because of 50 Shades of Grey!

Photo by Fi R Backhouse

When the worldwide phenomenon hit the bookshelves in 2011 and sold more than 100 million copies, I had to take notice. When, on my commute to work at the time, I saw woman after woman riding on the tube with their noses buried in the book, it made me think.

Then, I read about the background of E.L. James bestseller success and how she self-published it as an eBook and print-on-demand, and that it grew from there.

An eBook? Self-publishing? People reading books? All these concepts whirled around my head, and I knew I had to, finally, write a book. All my life I’d flirted in the back of my mind with the idea of writing a book, but it seemed to be a pipe dream. To just sit around and write, with no hope that anyone would ever publish it, or read it or care about it, let alone buy it, put me off for decades.

50 Shades of Grey showed me that people still read, and love books. Other indie author’s success stories such as Amanda Hocking showed me that you can self-publish and bypass the soul-killing process of finding a publisher by doing-it-yourself.

Well, it took me two years to do so – but I have now written and self-published my first ever book In Ark: A Promise of Survival, a tale about a woman who gets abducted by an eco-survivalist cult. No, I can’t report that…yet…my book is a worldwide phenomenon, but it is attracting 5 STAR reviews on Amazon, and being read by people around the world. My mom even tells me she liked it.

With the success of 50 Shades of Grey I have heard that a whole new genre called mummy porn is on the rise. As a mother, who did include a couple of racy adult scenes in my fictional book, I suppose I may fit in that category – but my interest was in using climate change as a backdrop to my story and trying to raise awareness about this pressing issue for Earth. I feel scientists have, and are, doing a fantastic job of alerting the world about the dangers of climate change, despite being attacked by deniers, but that what the issue needs is entertainment. My book attempts to entertain people with a speculative look at how we may live in the world with climate change, and show how a single woman living in New York City is coping in the face of it all.

My book fits into an emerging genre of fiction called cli-fi. I’m in good company with some very famous other writers who are producing climate-themed cli-fi novels, such as Margaret Atwood and Barbara Kingsolver.

While, with the movie out, 50 Shades of Grey is earning a lot of controversial attention, I am glad to see that it has provoked some important disucssions and attention. But, despite what people say about the quality of the book and the nature of it’s content, I remain very grateful to E.L. James for helping me act on a dream that I may never have tried to make happen. I wrote a book because of 50 Shades of Grey!