E L James has said she has written a paranormal romance, a "ghost story set in contemporary London", according to an interview in the New York Times. Meanwhile her latest book The Mister, out this week from Cornerstone, is said to explore the plight of undocumented workers and the oppression of women in conservative societies, according to the publication, and the author is "contemplating" writing a sequel.
The latest books see E L James moving on from the Fifty Shades series, which broke sales records for contemporary adult publishing, and has also been adapted into a series of films.
“There’s so many ideas and everyone’s like, oh, go back to what you’ve been doing for the last 10 years,” she told the NYT, saying of The Mister: “I’m incredibly nervous about it.”
The Mister will be published on 16th April by the Penguin Random House division and is James' first book for almost two years, and apparently contains more political topics than her previous titles. It is a love story set in contemporary London and Cornwall, featuring a British aristocrat who falls for his house cleaner from Albania, described as "a porny mash-up of 'Cinderella' and 'Downton Abbey'" by the NYT. Apparently James also made two trips to Albania to research the novel.
“Beneath the frothy fantasy, The Mister deals with unexpectedly weighty topics like economic inequality, the plight of undocumented workers, the oppression of women in conservative societies and the way social institutions and governments elevate the wealthy and powerful and exploit the vulnerable,” the NYT article reads.
“It’s important for me to put some of this in,” James told the newspaper. “As an incredibly wealthy person, you keep the money.”
James' opposal to Brexit is also featured in the inteview, which spans a day journalist Alexandra Alter spent with the author, beginning with croissants in the author's West London home.
“James is a passionate Remainer who wants Britain to stay within the European Union, a position she broadcasts unabashedly on social media even though she knows she risks alienating some fans. The issue has come up repeatedly in interviews she’s given about The Mister, including with French and Norwegian media outlets."
The writer also revealed sadness over the criticism levelled at her.
“Being a successful, middle-aged, overweight woman, people are so angry that you’re stepping out of line,” she said. “Sometimes it really gets me down.”
The promotional activity for the book is also featured, including a discussion with Charlotte Bush, director of publicity and media relations at Cornerstone. The concept of beaming a pink light from a lighthouse was discussed but was dropped to prevent nautical hazards. Bush told The Bookseller that she explored some stunt activity with Cornish landmarks, where the book is set, including Lands End lighthouse which she had hoped to turn “Mister Pink” but was unable to project onto due to shipping restrictions.
Other plans include a “Superfan Sleepover” in a hotel the night before publication along with an event in Chelsea Town Hall and an extensive marketing campaign as well as outdoor advertising.
James has sold 12.7 million books for £57m according to Nielsen BookScan's UK TCM, and Fifty Shades of Grey is still the bestselling book of the BookScan era, at 4.7 million copies sold.
Cornerstone said it had no comment to make on an acquisition of E L James's London ghost story.