I have a treat for you all today! I had the opportunity to put a few questions to the authors of The Captain and the Best Man, Eleanor Harkstead and Catherine Curzon.
First, here’s a bit about their book:
Blurb: FROM POPULAR AUTHORS OF GAY ROMANCE, CATHERINE CURZON AND ELEANOR HARKSTEAD
Book four in the Captivating Captains series
When Josh meets handsome airline pilot Captain Guy Collingwood on a sun-kissed island, he finds out what flying first class really means!
When Josh leaves the rainy shore of England for the sun-drenched tropical island of St Sebastian, his biggest worry is remembering his best man’s speech. But a chance meeting with handsome airline pilot Captain Guy Collingwood leads to a hot and raunchy holiday romance.
Guy’s everything Josh is looking for in his ideal man. Mature, dashing and confident, he’s also single and more than happy to show Josh the pleasures of St Sebastian. Yet Guy’s unruffled demeanor hides a past regret. Is the wedding of Josh’s best friend about to reopen a painful chapter that has never fully closed?
As a fearsome tropical storm threatens the island paradise and a broken family threatens Josh and Guy’s happiness, the stakes have never been higher. Can St Sebastian work its magic to heal past wounds and will Josh and Guy’s holiday fling take flight?
Sounds exciting! So without further ado, I will hand you over to my earlier self, Eleanor and Catherine for more:
As a writer:
Do you have any writing quirks / odd writing habits?
EH: I suppose our quirk is writing together! Other than that, I usually manage to include the word “susserate” in every book we write. It’s a whisper or a silk tie or waves on pebbles or the wind in the trees… but something’s going to susserate if I’m writing it.
CC: She’s always susurrating, it’s true. One day we’ll just write a book that’s nothing but susurration. But not today.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
EH: I love family history and old documents, so I’m either rooting through a parish register or a will, or wandering about in a churchyard. My most recent trip was to Mistley in Essex, which is in a beautiful area. The countryside looks like a Constable painting, which it is, because he’s from that part of the world.
CC: I’m a gamer, currently still giving too much of my spare time to RDR2. To the point that I spotted a real squirrel in the park and was bowled over by the graphics. I’m also a Terriers season ticket holder, screaming hot bile at whichever poor official didn’t get his flag up in time. I love to walk of course, with my wee dog and constant companion, Pippa. And anyone who knows me knows I’m an aviation nut, as my Insta will testify.
What do you most love and/or hate to write?
EH: What I find annoying are passages where the characters are “doing a thing” and you’re trying to describe it with enough detail that the reader knows what they’re doing, but not so much that it reads like a how-to. And I’m not just talking about love scenes here, either! What I love it when the story’s flowing — you can see the setting, you know the characters and the story writes itself.
CC: I hate indexing my non-fiction. What I love is when we clear away the plot and let our characters loose in the sandbox to do whatever they like, no limits and no rules.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
EH: When I started writing, I poured over every review, but now I’m more relaxed about them. A good review is great, and my favourites are where it feels like the reviewer has really “got” the book. If I read a bad one, what I usually find is that the book just wasn’t for the reviewer, then… that’s life. I recover by rereading a good review!
CC: I definitely read the reviews my publishers send, because they’re usually lovely! It’s a fact of life that not everyone will enjoy everything. Less than stellar reviews are part and parcel with sharing any piece of art or creativity, it’s just a case of taking the rough with the smooth. And screaming hot bile at football officials.
As a reader:
What is your favourite book (other than your own!)?
CC: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, by Laurence Sterne. It’s chaotic, exhausting and perfect. Everyone should read it.
Which author do you feel deserves more love than they get?
EH: [oooh…. I haven’t got an answer for this one, sorry!]
CC: If you’d asked which Eurovision entrant, I’d have had a list as long as your arm. I’m not sure who I’d say as an author though. Charlotte Dacre was my introduction to gothic, so perhaps I’ll plump for her.
What was your favourite book as a child?
EH: I loved Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch stories. I started to read them just as I’d started at a new school. My uniform was almost identical to Mildred Hubble’s and I even had my hair in plaits like hers – and the school was in a tall, narrow Gothic house so did look a lot like a school for witches! I wasn’t very happy there so I spent a lot of time imagining myself in the world of those books.
CC: Any Faraway Tree book, by Enid Blyton. I still love them today, especially Moonface and the idea of pilchard ice cream. I’d certainly eat it.
What book is top of your TBR pile right now?
EH: I’ve just started reading Jeevani Charika’s A Convenient Marriage, about two Sri Lankan friends in the UK who marry – one to please her parents, the other to disguise his sexuality. It’s really hard to put down!
With regards to THIS book:
The two of you clearly make an effective romance-writing team! How do you go about the process? Do you both write separate chapters, taking it in turns? Or do you focus on different writing strengths (i.e. one writes dialogue and the other writes description)?
EH: I know people who co-write and each writer does a separate chapter. Or one plots and the other writes. Or one does the first draft and the other comes in with their own additions. That’s not how we do it, though — we divide up the characters, but what’s rather fun is that people struggle to guess who’s writing who! We sometimes share a character and reading back we can’t remember who wrote them when, and that always makes me happy because if we can’t tell the difference then readers won’t either!
CC: We share everything other than characters. We write live in Google Docs and are equally responsible for plot, narrative and editing. We do, however, control our own characters and write their dialogue. That’s one thing we don’t split.
Your series hook is Captivating Captains and the Captains range across every relevant profession, from military officers and pilots to sports team-leaders. What is it about a Captain that makes them a perfect romantic lead, and what qualities complement them in a partner? Which characters are your own personal favourites out of those we have seen so far?
EH: It’s always tempting to say someone from the most recent book! Then again, I’m fond of Henry from The Captain and the Cricketer, the tweedy cricketing vet who adores George, his heroic captain, but doesn’t know how to tell him. Being a hero is an important trait for the captains, and often I think they show their partners that even if they don’t feel very brave themselves, deep down they are. But it goes the other way as well — even captains have a wobble sometimes and that vulnerability, that chink in the armour, is all-important.
CC: As an aviation nut, it’s probably airline captain Guy, from The Captain and the Best Man. He’s confident, breezy and knows how to handle a 777. And he knows how to wear the heck out of a uniform.
Each of your Captain novels and short stories features new characters, and often a new setting and time period too, with no apparent connection between the stories other than that one main character is some kind of Captain. What made you decide to start fresh each time, and are there any characters that tempt you into revisiting their stories?
EH: There’s all sorts of captains — army captains, ship captains, aeroplane captains, sports team captains… and each time we thought of a new kind of captain, a story — or several — sprang to mind! We’re lucky that Pride, our publisher, lets us roam where our captains take us, through historicals, contemporaries, romcoms…
CC: Behind the scenes and for our own amusement, we’ve actually revisited quite a few of them. We decided to start fresh each time because there are so many wonderful captains, and all of them have a story.
Is there anything else you would like new readers to know before they dive on into your book?
EH: Enjoy and let us take you on an adventure!
CC: That a lot of love and care goes into each story we write. And we’re really super grateful for everyone that takes the time to read them. It means an awful lot.
You can find The Captain and the Best Man on Amazon here, and it sounds just as steamy and sweet as the other Captivating Captain romances by these authors, so I am very excited to be able to bring you all my thoughts soon!
For more from Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead, check out their respective links below:
Check out my other reviews of the Captivating Captain series on the following links!