|E.L. James is the pen name of Erika Leonard, a writer who burst onto the scene in 2012 with an erotic trilogy about a sexually dominant businessman and a virginal college student. James was a University of Kent-educated television producer and mother of two when she logged onto a Web site devoted to the massively popular Twilight books. She began penning stories based on those characters and posting them on the site under the name "Snowqueens Icedragon." The steamy tales caught the eye of a small Australian publisher called the Writer's Coffee Shop, which released FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, FIFTY SHADES DARKER, and FIFTY SHADES FREED as e-books. In April 2012 they were published in paperback by a division of Random House, and thanks in some part to their tastefully muted covers, which allowed women to purchase them without embarrassment, they shot to the top of the bestseller lists. James is unbothered by those who disparage her writing skills or dub her work "Mommy Porn." "This is my midlife crisis, writ large," she has said. "All my fantasies [are] in there." The trilogy has been optioned for the big screen, earning her a reported $5 million. James, who is married to the screenwriter Niall Leonard and lives in West London, was included on Time magazine's 2012 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Explaining her inclusion, the magazine stated. "[The] trilogy has deeply stirred booksellers, Hollywood and, apparently, many, many mothers. Reading may never be the same."