Talk about expectations. The husband of best-selling author of “Fifty Shades of Grey” has come out with a book of his own. In an interview Tuesday on TODAY, Niall Leonard answered questions everyone is asking — about his wife’s erotic novel.
First, he answered the obvious.
“I am not the inspiration for Christian Grey, except in the sense that being married to me might have made her invent Christian Grey,” he said about the protagonist in his wife’s book.
And no, the couple’s small, semi-detached house does not feature a dungeon or a “red room of pain” full of sex toys.
“We barely have room for the ironing, never mind all the equipment,” Leonard said.
Leonard said his wife, E.L. James, mainly wrote the book “for herself and a few friends,” and that the novel’s extraordinary sales surprised them both.
“In the beginning, when there was no marketing campaign at all, it was purely word of mouth, that momentum just grew and grew,” he said. “It became beyond a phenomenon. It became something that metaphors couldn’t capture. There are no words for it. We just used to sit around and go, ‘wow.’”Story: ‘Crusher’: Murder and mystery in London's underworld
Leonard said he is a fan of the novel, which he described as passionate, funny and engrossing: “I think it’s an amazing book.”
Watching the joy his wife got out of writing the book inspired Leonard, a longtime television screenwriter, to pen one of his own. His debut novel, “Crusher,” however, is anything but erotic. Instead, it centers on a teenager who tries to clear his name after becoming the prime suspect in the murder of his stepfather, an embittered television screenwriter.Story: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ loses top spot on Amazon’s best sellers’ list
Leonard said he has enjoyed his career as a TV writer but found it frustrating to be confined to very specific format, length and budget. He craved the freedom his wife had when writing her book.
“She was doing what she really wanted to and doing it her own way, and I kind of envied that,” he said. “I thought, yeah, I had forgotten that, that joy of just doing it just for fun, so I wanted to capture some of that when I started writing Crusher."
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Leonard said the success of his wife’s book really hasn’t changed life much for the longtime couple.
“We have the kids at school. We have to walk the dogs. We have to do the shopping. All that stuff still happens,” said Leonard, who also has gotten used to his wife’s spotlight.
For the record, he doesn’t know who will play Christian Grey when the novel is adapted for the big screen.Video: Is this man ‘Shades’ of Christian Grey?
Leonard said he’s heard all sorts of crazy rumors but doesn’t have the lead on any of them.
“My official line is no comment,” he said. “I have no idea.”
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