Erotica author Nicole Camden chats with XOXO about why it took her a decade to write her huge hit THE FETISH BOX, available now from Pocket Star!

The Fetish Box was an actual fetish store near Hollywood, Florida. It’s out of business now, but I saw it when I lived there for a year trying to convert an old beach motel into condos for a real estate company. It was a sunny day in October I think, and I was driving to the motel when I saw this gingerbread house plunked down in the middle of a strip mall with a big neon sign that read: THE FETISH BOX, Open All Night. I laughed out loud because damn, how cool is that? I thought to myself, What if a girl with very little experience inherited a place like that? What would she do?  At the time I was trying to get published again, having sold the story “The Nekkid Truth” to Pocket for their anthology, BIG GUNS OUT OF UNIFORM. I thought this would be a great idea.

However, finding time to write was a challenge—I know, waaaaah…waaaaah….good writers make the time—but seriously,  I was tasked with managing the motel during the conversion and it was filled with crazy people. The manager at the time had been arrested a couple times for drunk and disorderly conduct, there was a hoarder who lived in the unit on the corner for ten years, and a couple of tenants that liked to swim naked in the pool and have sex with their curtains pulled open. I knew two of the officers from the Hollywood police by name, one of them even gave me his cell phone number.  Two hurricanes came through while I was there, tearing off the roof and damaging almost every room in the process. I lived in a constant state of anxiety.

When I wasn’t dealing with those disasters, I was walking on the beach, trying to imagine what it would be like for someone to get plunked down in this place, and drinking too many mai tais and mango mojitos.   Hollywood, Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale were full of beautiful people, gorgeous beaches, and all kinds of opportunity for trouble. I was pretty lonely though, not knowing anyone, so daydreaming, and writing chapters about a girl who inherits a Fetish shop occupied most of my time.

I’d written about half the story when I found out that it would be impossible to complete the condo conversion—the city put a moratorium on conversions and the bottom was about to drop out of the real estate market. I shelved the story while I tried to bring in enough money to keep my house, and about a year later, my family suffered a grievous tragedy, one that shook the foundations of my life.

I stopped writing and real estate and became a teacher—9th grade English—the hardest job in the entire world! Kudos to all the teachers out there, you are the best. I didn’t write much, but I taught Greek mythology as part of the curriculum. Somewhere in the back of my mind, where all stories live, I connected the idea of THE FETISH BOX and Pandora’s Box. What if owning a store like that was the key to opening up that slightly repressed girl’s life? What if simply accepting such a gift was enough to awaken her true self and all the dangers that sometimes come when you stop pretending?

So here I am, ten years later, and strangely enough, I had just fallen in love with my future husband when I got the news that THE FETISH BOX would finally be published. So maybe that’s all it took, falling in love, for all the pieces of my universe to fall into place.