Entertainment Weekly interviewed E.L. James about The Mister. And boy o’howdy, it’s really something else.
Entertainment Weekly: 50 Shades rather famously began as fan-fiction. Was there a particular work of pop culture or literature that inspired The Mister?
No, not really. The only inspiration I can say about this work is the hundreds of historical romances that I read over the years. […] There’s no direct inspiration. It’s a story that’s been hanging around in my head for a wee while. […]
There are a lot of gems in this interview, including James saying that she categorizes The Mister as an erotic romance because the sex scenes are descriptive and the “darkness” doesn’t come from within the characters (it’s not an erotic romance and that’s not what the definition of erotic romance is in the first place), and how she doesn’t want to be a part of conversations about on-page consent or our cultural treatment of women’s entertainment, but this was my favorite part:
Why do you think people love to hate on your work? Is there an element of they just can’t stand seeing a woman be so successful?
I think there’s an element of that yeah. I did it in my spare time, having fun, writing for myself. And I think that really pisses people off sometimes.
So, there you have it. Jealous Haters. I hereby remove The Mister from the Second Chance Book Club and rename it an emergency selection of the Jealous Haters Book Club.