Here’s some news appropriate for Bram Stoker’s 165th birthday: Another piece of Twilight fanfiction is getting adapted into an original novel, Fifty Shades of Grey-style. The fic, originally called “The Office,” reimagined Edward Cullen and Bella Swan as a powerful businessman and his smart, ambitious intern.
Sound familiar? That’s not because the story rips off Fifty Shades — in fact, “The Office” appeared on the Internet before the fic that became E L James’ bestseller. “The Office paved the way for Fifty Shades and a thousand other imitators,” University of Utah professor and fanfiction expert Anne Jamison tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It turned fanfiction’s ‘porn without plot’ into porn as plot, peopling Twilight‘s basic plot structure with sexually voracious, assertive and snarky adults.”
The fic-fiction version of “The Office” is titled Beautiful Bastard. It will be released Feb. 12, 2013, with a sequel called Beautiful Stranger to follow on May 28, 2013. In the novel, Bella has become Chloe Mills; Edward is now called Bennett Ryan. Bastard is a collaboration between “The Office”s author Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, another fanfiction writer; the two also keep a joint blog called Swoontini. Their final novel will be credited to the pseudonym Christina Lauren.
Though the Reporter calls Bastard “the first project to make the leap from fanfic directly to traditional publishing without an intermediary step” — Fifty Shades of Grey was published as an e-book and print-on-demand paperback before being picked up by Vintage Books — that isn’t entirely the case. In October, Penguin announced that it had inked a deal to transform 16-year-old Emily Baker’s One Direction fanfic into a YA romance novel.
For the record, the phenomenally popular Mortal Instruments series, which is currently being adapted into a movie starring Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower, was also penned by a writer who got her start in fanfiction — though Cassandra Clare (real name: Judith Rumelt) did not directly adapt any of her Harry Potter-inspired stories when she began writing original fiction.