Now that she's about to publish a sequel to her blockbuster trilogy, here are five fun facts about the bestselling mom of two

By Liz McNeil
Updated June 05, 2015 04:20 PM
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Credit: Ian Gavan/Getty

She’s sold over 125 million copies of her Fifty Shades trilogy, but according to a few friends and locals who know her, E.L. James “is just an ordinary mum.”

James just announced a sequel to her erotic trilogy entitled Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian, to be published on June 18. Still, her incredible success hasn’t changed her (too much). Here are five fun facts about the 51-year-old British-born author.

1. Her family keeps her real.
“Her [two] kids are kind of embarrassed about the content of the books,” a friend tells PEOPLE. “And she’s always telling funny stories about her husband who doesn’t quite get the craze over the books.”

2. Despite her extraordinary success, locals in her Ealing neighborhood, about 10 miles from central London, say she’s "low key."
While she lives in a mansion worth £2.65 million with six bedrooms and six bathrooms on a large plot, she hangs out at the same spots as everyone else in the neighborhood. “She goes to the local pub for the pub quiz with a group of friends and just sits in the corner having a couple glasses of wine,” says one local. “We only found out who she was when someone on our quiz team heavily into literature pointed her out.”

3.Still, as one of publishing’s biggest powerhouses, she does like a dose of fabulousness.
“When she’s in Los Angeles, she likes hanging out at Chateau Marmont,” says the friend. “She likes to sit in the garden with her British girlfriends and have cocktails. Sometimes she’ll order a Moscow Mule. It’s surprising considering her success, but she’s very humble.”

4. She wasn’t a huge fan of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.
“She thought the scenes were beautiful, but the story was a little bland,” says the pal. “The shots are great but as the writer, she didn’t like how it was translated on the screen. It sort of seems like a long extended music video. She wanted it to be a very sexy film but it wasn’t.”

5. She’s rarely recognized.
“She is just an ordinary mum who does normal things,” says her neighbor. “She looks after her kids and goes to the local supermarket like everyone else. You wouldn’t recognize her when she’s out in public. But given the nature of the books, it’s probably for the best that she keeps a low profile!”

Reporting by PHILIP BOUCHER