updated 05/03/2012 AT 1:50 PM ET
•originally published 05/03/2012 AT 4:25 PM ET
EL James teared up as she took in the screams of more than 1,000 women from across Connecticut – and beyond – who paid $25 each to see her at a New Haven hotel Wednesday night.
“I’m pretty impressed by this turnout,” the emotional Fifty Shades of Grey author told the event host, R.J. Julia Booksellers owner Roxanne Coady. “This is really f–––ing phenomenal. I didn’t foresee this at all.”
The audience on this latest stop of James’s book tour included women of all ages, shapes, sizes and relationship status. And they didn’t hold back with their personal questions for the author, whose books are holding firm at number one, two and three on the bestseller list.
One of the more bold questions: How did James’s husband react to seeing her sexual fantasies on paper?
“It was a very considered study,” James joked of her research for the explicit sex in her books. “My husband still rolls his eyes and says ‘God, what do we got to do now?’ He was very cooperative.”
So does she have her own playroom, like main character Christian Grey?
“Unfortunately my house isn’t big enough,” she said. “I do have a spare bedroom and one of the walls is painted [red]. But actually it’s full of my ironing.”
As for the banter between Christian and Anastasia Steele, “That’s actually how I write my emails I am a terrible flirt,” she said. “I have a lot of fun with those.”
With a multi-million dollar book deal in the U.S. (the books were first published by a small house in Australia) and now a movie in the works, James didn’t indicate she has any intention of buying a yacht, snapping up a mansion in the south of France, or going on a luxury car-buying spree.
“I don’t think my life is going to change hugely,” she said. “I’m looking forward to getting back to my house and my Ugg boots and not washing sometimes, and getting back to writing.”
Movie Casting … And Fifty Shades Babies
One tidbit she won’t spill: Which hunky actor she thinks should play her main man, Christian Grey, in the movie.
“I’m so not telling you,” she teased the audience. “It’s really, really early days in the film process. I’m keeping my mouth shut because I will get into trouble.”
She did reveal one surprising side effect of her writing: Pregnancies possibly caused by her work.
“There are women around me who point their fingers at me,” she admitted with a laugh, adding that she thinks the graphic sex scenes in the trilogy are overblown.
“Fundamentally for me it’s a love story,” she said. “That’s it. I think women love to read love stories. People concentrating on the sex I can say over and over again I cannot own people’s reaction to this story. If they want to concentrate on the sex it’s their issue, not my issue.
“There’s a lot of noise around the book and that’s all it is. I tend not to read much of it,” she continued. “I tend to read the emails people send me, and the connection to the people who are actually reading the books.”