The author of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy made an unexpected appearance at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Kansas City.
The Fifty Shades trilogy was a runaway hit, but has drawn strong opinions from both fans and detractors.
The author, E.L. James, had been quietly attending the convention, which started earlier this week, organizers say.
She revealed herself after her trilogy came under the face of withering criticism during the New Adult Fiction panel Wednesday afternoon.
Organizers confirmed Thursday that James stood up and identified herself as the author of the books during that panel discussion. She indicated that she was attending the conference in support of a friend, and was taking a low-key approach.
Some attendees in the room said on Twitter that once James identified herself in defense of her books that dead silence filled the room, and that James eventually exited abruptly.
Organizers said James' name was on her badge, but it was turned around in a way that it wasn't clear to those who saw the author. James has since asked for the name on her badge to be changed to "Erica."
James is declining interview requests, wanting to continue to maintain a low profile, organizers said.
Author Abbi Glines, who was one of the panelists discussing New Adult Fiction, posted on her Twitter account that James was in the audience in support of her.
"Just for record @E_L_James was at the NA panel for #RT13 because she was supporting me. Yeah, taking total credit ;)" she wrote.
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