The bestselling author took to Twitter to field questions from fans and quickly found out how hashtags and the best of intentions don’t necessarily mix
Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James got more than she bargained for during a Twitter Q&A that quickly descended into chaos as people used the #AskELJames hashtag to bombard the writer – who is now worth a reported $37m – with questions and comments that (perhaps predictably) made fun of her much parodied series.
The session, which took place in Twitter’s UK headquarters, began with James fielding questions about the plot of Fifty Shades of Grey, such as what she would have liked to change anything in the Ana and Christian relationship with answers such as: “Yes. I would have liked to split them up for longer at the end of FsoG.”
But alongside the serious queries came a deluge of questions that made fun of James’s much-criticised prose style, including jibes such as “Do you get paid per adjective?”, “Have you ever held a dictionary?” and “Did you ever consider using a thesaurus, or did that sound too much like hard work?”
As well as her writing style hashtag users also referenced the similarities between her work and that of Twilight author Stephenie Meyer with questions such as: “What’s the minimum distance you have to stay away from Stephenie Meyer at all times?” and “Did you see the abusive relationship of Bella and Edward and think ‘hmm needs more abuse’.”
While others were more creative in their criticism, with queries such as: “How many roads must a man walk down before he devotes an entire room in his apartment to the abuse of young women?”, “50 Shades takes place in 2011 but Anastasia, a journalism student, is mystified by the concept of BASIC EMAIL?” and “what do you think of the proposed plans for Cardiff’s new bus station?”
Some users used the hashtag to comment on how far off track the Q&A had got:
Others defended James’s attempt to chat with fans “50 Shades of Grey author EL James’s #AskELJames Twitter chat is a fiasco: EL James was simply trying to engage …”, but often Twitter Q&As get out of hand. Robin Thicke was bombarded with questions when he took to Twitter amid the controversy over his Blurred Lines lyrics, which some argued glorified rape.
James is currently promoting her Fifty Shades of Grey follow-up Grey, which tells the story from the point of view of protagonist Christian Grey, and has become the fastest-selling adult title ever.
This article was written by Guardian staff, for theguardian.com on Monday 29th June 2015 22.20 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010