British boy-band singer Harry Styles can check “inspiring a work of literature” off his bucket list: the One Directioner star has allowed a 25-year-old writer to go from fan fiction scribe to six-figure published author.
Styles stars as a barely-disguised version of himself in 25-year-old novelist Anna Todd’s debut erotic novel, After, which hit stores this week. Todd began writing the sexy fan fiction – which involves a college freshman who falls for and has kinky times with a guy named Harry Styles – on free writing site Wattpad last year. But what started as a few chapters has grown into a 2,500-page epic novel that earned the Ohio native a six-figure publishing deal from Simon and Shuster imprint Gallery Books.
The first of four installments will be around 500 pages and will feature more cleaned-up prose and longer sex scenes than After’s online incarnation, plus a name-change from Harry Styles to Hardin Scott. Each subsequent book in the series will come out quickly thereafter, with novels expected in November, December and February, according to the New York Times. It’s safe to discern that Gallery is making a run at the rabid masses that made E.L. James’ thinly-veiled Twilight fan fiction 50 Shades of Grey a worldwide literary smash.
But not everyone in One Direction’s fanbase is keen on Todd’s idea. According to the Times, many fans are lashing out at Todd on social media, accusing the first-time novelist of using 1D’s fame to cash in. Still, it’s hard to argue with numbers: the original Wattpad story has received over a billion hits since its initial publication.
Todd decided to ignore her detractors, having quit her job with the full (albeit somewhat surprising) support of her husband in order to write a new chapter daily to keep up with her site’s demands. Her hard work has obviously paid off: Paramount Pictures acquired the stories’ screen rights, though still no word on whether Harry Styles will agree to play himself.