Fifty Shades of Grey

7 Seconds in Heaven with Andrew Shaffer

Today's guest: Andrew Shaffer (a.k.a. Fanny Merkin) Why we love him: He's written a laugh-out-loud funny parody of Fifty Shades of Grey. (And y'all know we don't toss around the LOL's lightly!)

His latest: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey

The scoop on it: Young, arrogant, tycoon Earl Grey seduces the naïve coed Anna Steal with his overpowering good looks and staggering amounts of money, but will she be able to get past his fifty shames, including shopping at Walmart on Saturdays, bondage with handcuffs, and his love of BDSM (Bards, Dragons, Sorcery, and Magick)? Or will his dark secrets and constant smirking drive her over the edge?

Our thoughts: Sometimes it's just about having a good and naughty laugh. Jennifer Weiner said, "Filthy, Disgusting, I loved every word." Our thoughts exactly.

Giveaway: FIVE copies. Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll select the winners on Monday, September 24th after 3pm PST.

Where you can read more about Andrew: Twitter and his website.


Liz & Lisa: We know it was because you were reviewing it, but are you one of the only men to admit to reading this book? Do you think there area lot of closeted male 50 Shades readers out there?

Andrew Shaffer: From what I've seen, 50 Shades is almost exclusively a female phenomenon. Whether they love or hate the book, it's a shared cultural experience for many women—something that's increasingly rare in the fractured entertainment landscape. Most guys don't understand it, and I think that's fine.

I actually warn men not to read 50 Shades, for a couple of reasons. If this is their first romance or erotica novel, they will walk away with a skewed perception of romance genre. There are other books I would recommend they read first. The other issue is that some guys read the books and think, "Does my wife/girlfriend want me to act like this? Does she want me to do this in the bedroom?" The answer: Yes. No. Maybe. Why not ask her what she enjoys about the books, and what she wants in the bedroom?

L&L: Why did you decide to write the parody?

AS: While I was live-tweeting my reading of 50 Shades of Grey, I joked that I would create a publishing wormhole by writing 50 Shades fanfic. I started to serialize a 50 Shades "fanfic"/parody on my blog,, as a joke at first. After 50 Shades of Grey sold for seven figures to Random House, it suddenly became, "How fast can I write an actual full-length parody and get it to my agent?"

L&L: We read that you wrote the manuscript in 10 days. True?

AS: Yes—I had to get the manuscript to my agent quickly, because no one knew how long 50 Shades would remain "hot." (Obviously a lot longer than anyone anticipated!) After it sold, though, I worked closely with my editor at Da Capo Press to get the book into shape. The editing took about two or three months. While other self-published parodies began to appear during this time, I'm glad we spent the time we did to put out the best book possible.

L&L: What was your favorite part of 50 Shades of Grey? Least favorite part?

AS: The sex scenes were well-written. I know that sounds like a typical "guy" answer—but you could just tell how much work James put into those scenes when compared to the rest of the series. By her own admission, she researched BDSM online to ensure it was authentic...but she couldn't check with any college student about the details of college life in 2011? Anastasia is a college senior who has never had an e-mail address, which is just absurd. Little stuff like that got under my skin as a reader.

L&L: You have three twitter handles. We can barely tweet with the one we have. How do you juggle?

AS: I have a couple dozen, actually, but who's counting? Only a few have ever really "taken off." I mainly tweet personal stuff from @andrewtshaffer and publishing world stuff from @evilwylie these days. Twitter is fun, especially for a freelance writer: it's the water cooler. I don't have real-world co-workers, so Twitter fills that hole in my life. The deeper emotional and spiritual holes, though? Not so much help with those.

L&L: The opening line of the book is our favorite. What's your favorite line from the book?

AS: "I've already seen him at what I figured was the depth of his shame, buying a Nickelback CD. Do I want to know how deep his perversions go?"

L&L: Because we couldn't not ask, do you think Ryan Gosling should play Christian Grey? If not, who...

AS: After seeing Gosling in Drive with that hammer, I could totally see him playing Christian Grey, flogger in hand. "Hey, girl...laters."

Thanks, Andrew!