We’re so excited to have Nicole Camden on XOXO After Dark for a special Valentine’s post! Today, she’s talking to us about the inspiration behind her magical, nerdy, and oh-so-sexy billionaire in The Lady Vanishes, the first book in her new series The Billionaire Tricksters of Boston.

Sex, Billionaires, and Magic

So it’s eight o’clock in the morning and my phone rings. I, as usual, have overslept, and it wakes me up from a dream about playing poker with James Spader. Laid out in front of us were stacks of Girl Scout Thin Mints, and he was wearing a fedora and sitting next to a giant Easter basket. I have no idea what this means, but Spader’s got some serious swagger for an older gentleman—he can steal my Thin Mints any time. Anyway, the call is from my editor, the lovely Kate Dresser, and I’d totally forgotten that we’d set up an appointment to discuss my ideas for the new erotica series I wanted to write: The Billionaire Tricksters of Boston (I didn’t actually think I would get to keep that title).

Luckily for me, I had spent some time planning out this series, or at least the main characters and conflicts, and was able to sound reasonably coherent as I discussed the books. Truth time: it was never my intention to write about three billionaires, but readers seem to like them. I get it. I wish a billionaire would stop by and volunteer to pay my bills. But dang, you’d think a mere millionaire would be hot enough, but as Chris Rock said, there’s a big difference between rich and wealthy, and you can lose millions on a “crazy summer and a drug habit”. I guess “billionaire” just screams uber-secure and safe and free from worry—only no one’s life is really that peachy, and if I was going to write about billionaire, I wanted them to be different.

See, I’ve grown bored with stories about rich jerks who like to dominate women and treat them like crap. Maybe I’ve grown up. Unlikely, but it’s possible. My billionaires were going to be extremely smart, quirky, and very human—the complete opposite of the smooth operators I see in other stories. So I was jotting down notes, reading Forbes articles about the 50 richest people in the world—maybe next time I’ll write about a woman billionaire—jeez—and I got distracted looking at Pinterest. One thing led to another, and I found this image of a woman tied up by a magician and standing in a steamer trunk. I think it was an ad for lingerie.  I was suddenly struck by the notion that my billionaires might be interested in magic, or at least aspects of magic.

And so the idea for my first story about Milton Shaw, the nerdy software developer fascinated by magic, became a reality. He and his two other friends Nick Cord and Roland Chandler met at MIT and started the software security and encryption company that has made them stupid wealthy. However, they’ve all retained their love of magic. Milton likes magic tricks, Nick likes to build illusions and use knots, and Roland is a master of sleight of hand and pickpocketing. All three men are from Boston, and they share one enemy from the past that will resurface in the series, a dangerous man that threatens the people they love.

Now, magic can be sexy…but I also discovered that writing nerdy heroes that also like magic can be a bit tricky (pun intended). This was erotica, so they still had to be hot, and manly, and a little dangerous. A fine line to walk, I can tell you. Milton manages to be all three, especially since he is unabashedly enamored of the serious, sexy Dr. Regina Burke, who is far from a weak-willed idiot and is decidedly unimpressed by his wealth. In THE LADY VANISHES, the first book in the series, Milton discovers that money, charm, great sex, and mad skills with a computer can’t solve every problem. Even love, the most powerful magic, sometimes isn’t enough.

I know I fell in love with my strange heroes—I love NERDS. I even made a “preview” for the book—my first attempt at video editing. You can see it below:

I hope you enjoy THE LADY VANISHES and the other two books in the series. Happy Valentine’s Day!


Nikki C