A big welcome to Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead as part of their release of The Captain’s Snowbound Christmas from Pride Publishing.
The Captain’s Snowbound Christmas might be a Christmas story, but its inspiration had nothing to do with Christmas at all. Catherine and I were having a chat about make-up artists who work in films and on TV programmes. We were intrigued by the methods used to achieve the sheen you see on actors after a love scene.
Baby oil and water in a spray bottle, apparently, is one of the most commonly used concoctions.
“Imagine if you had a crush on an actor, and you had to spray their bare chest with that!”
And so we had the kernel of the story – Reuben, a make-up artist, and the actor he’s got a rather enormous crush on: Christopher Manners, or Captain Firth, as he’s known to his fans. And what should Reuben get hired for but a love scene involving his favourite actor?
I know a make-up artist who’s spruced up Benedict Cumberbatch for magazine photoshoots, glammed up Eddie Izzard’s eyeshadow, given fake tattoos to celebrity chefs, and worked on music videos. Having seen her posts online over the years, and from my own admittedly less-starry experience doing my own make-up in am dram, and for photoshoots for my online shop, writing Reuben felt pretty natural.
And as for Captain Firth… We didn’t have Colin Firth in mind for Christopher Manners, but we were thinking of Firth’s role as Mr Darcy, and how despite the many other characters he’s played over the years, Mr Darcy is the one character that most people remember him for.
And Christopher Manners has the same problem. A classically-trained actor who has tried to bring sensitive period pieces about historical gay lives to the screen, the public are more enamoured of his swashbuckling, Cornwall-set costume drama Captain Firth (ahem… cough… Poldark). Wherever he goes, complete strangers rush up to him to shout his famous catchphrase:
“Draw your sword, sir!”
When we started to bat ideas about for a Christmas story, our make-up artist and our actor seemed like good candidates for a Christmas romance, especially as it meant we could sprinkle their tale with some Christmas magic and bring about a second chance for them.
Once again, their jobs bring them together when Christopher is performing in a special, televised Shakespeare for Christmas, and who should be working on make-up but Reuben? But of course, with it being Christmas, we decided to add a certain jolly gentleman clad in a red coat to the mix to properly bring our chaps together.
And what could be more festive than that?
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Release day: 22nd December 2020
Will Reuben be unwrapping a captain this Christmas?
Reuben’s a makeup artist who’s much in demand in the business, from making the beautiful even more gorgeous to creating an alluring love-scene glow. All of his Christmas wishes come true at once when he’s hired to work on the set of his favourite TV show. And not only that but on the swoony Christopher Manners.
Bunny is lusted after by millions as the brooding hero of television’s Captain Firth adventures. His manly swash and handsome buckle have earned him a legion of fans, and when he strides onto the screen and commands, “Draw your sword, sir,” it’s time to get down to business.
When Reuben and Bunny’s first date turns into a disaster, it looks as though the show’s over before it’s begun, but a blizzard, a mysterious bearded man in a red coat and a hot winter night combine to give them a second chance.
About the authors:
Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead began writing together in the spring of 2017 and swiftly discovered a shared love of sauce, well-dressed gents and a uniquely British sort of romance. They drink gallons of tea, spend hours discussing the importance of good tailoring and are never at a loss for a double entendre.
They are the authors of numerous short stories and two novel series, the de Chastelaine Chronicles, and the Captivating Captains, published by Totally Bound and Pride. Their novel The Ghost Garden was shortlisted for the 2020 Romantic Novel Awards.
Find out more at their website.
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