Virtual Tour ~ What It Takes by Jude Sierra ~ (5 Star Review, Author Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Author Name: Jude Sierra
Book Name: What It Takes
Release Date: January 14, 2016
The connection was instantaneous.
Mere moments after Milo Graham's family relocates to Cape Cod, he meets Andrew Witherell—launching a lifelong friendship built on a foundation of deep bonds, secret forts, and plans for the future. When Milo is called home from college to attend his domineering father's funeral, he and Andrew finally act on their mutual attraction. But doubtful of his worth, Milo severs all ties with his childhood friend. Years later, the men find themselves home again, and their long-held feelings will not be denied. But will they have what it takes to find lasting love?
Pages or Words: 274 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance
Andrew gladly lets Milo drive his car; he hates driving, especially when he can play radio DJ and watch the scenery go by. He looks at Milo: the way the fading light before dusk changes the tone of his skin; the way the muscles of his arms stand out and his lips curl as he sings along, awfully, to the radio. Milo smiles at him and Andrew flashes a brief one back, wonders how obvious he’s being, and looks back out the window at the slipping sand that spills onto the road and the ramshackle businesses along the road.
“So what got this bee in your bonnet?” he asks suddenly.
Milo shrugs. “You sound like my grandma.”
“Awesome; I like her. Let’s focus.”
“So... okay.” Milo clears his throat and his fingers tighten on the wheel. “I um, think I have something to tell you. But I’m—”
“Is everything okay?” Andrew interrupts, scanning his memory for any signs of additional distress Milo might have displayed in the last few months.
“Yeah. Well. I mean, um… whatever. But I—”
“What? You’re worrying me.”
Milo sighs and pulls into the parking lot of a restaurant with a giant crab on the roof. “I can’t do this and drive.”
“Okay,” Andrew says slowly, then unbuckles his belt and turns to face him. Milo’s face is a little drawn.
“So, I think I might be gay,” Milo blurts. “I mean, I know. I know I am.”
There’s a full minute of silence in the car while Andrew tries to work the words out. Static screeches in his ears, fleetingly numbing his reaction. Focus. He has a few seconds to control his face, to tamp down that sprout of irrational hope seeding despite the chaos, and be ultimately supportive.
“Um.” Andrew licks his lips and tries to pull himself together. That seedling wants to grow into something bigger, and he can’t let it. He looks at Milo’s face, which has morphed into something more vulnerable and worried. Hope is a hollow bell in his chest, ringing loud and dissonant; he wants to vibrate out of his skin with the inappropriateness of his own reactions. This is about Milo, not him. “You aren’t worried that I’m mad or something, are you?” he manages to say.
“I don’t know. Um, your face is doing... a thing,” Milo replies.
Reflexively Andrew puts his hands to his cheeks. His fingers are cold. Okay, so he definitely doesn’t have his face under control. “No, I... wasn’t expecting it, that’s all.” Andrew’s brain, sometimes faster than his mouth, is careening backward. “Maybe I should have had a clue.”
“Well, for starters, you kissed me back.”
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Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Jude Sierra author of What it Takes. Hi Jude, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Thank you for having me!
Thank you for having me!
- Do you pay attention to literary criticism? If so, how do you handle it?
Absolutely. It’s important to go into reading criticism of your work with a willingness to listen and thick skin. I’ll admit I don’t always have that – I have cried before. But I do want to learn, so letting myself get over those feelings so that I can absorb what’s said is important. I think it’s imperative to know that a reviewers words aren’t the end all, be all. But when you read all review of your work (both positive and negative) it can help identify common threads and trends, what worked and might not have. I have learned to take the positives and praise over the negatives, because otherwise it’s too easy to spin into self-doubt.
- How do you come up with your titles?
I am absolutely horrific at titles! Titling Hush required two phone conferences and a dramatic reading of Katy Perry’s song, Dark Horse. While funny, it was a challenge. What it Takes was a little easier. It was the working title, pulled from a song lyric (Linkin Park’s Waiting for the End). But when the book was complete, it just fit. My upcoming book had a working title I knew would never work – a friend had just released a book with the same title. I was at a loss for a bit. But then one day in conversation with another friend, I told her I could not think of a name for the bar that was the center of the book, and she threw out about seventeen brilliant names in one go. Idlewild just jumped out at me. After naming the bar that, I knew the book had to be Idlewild as well.
- What new authors have grasped your interest?
Right now I’m reading a lot of KJ Charles’s stuff – her A Charm of Magpies series is wonderful. She’s very funny and it’s great historical romance with supernatural elements and very steamy love scenes. I can’t wait to dive into her other stuff. I’ve recently read some anthology and short story stuff from Dale Camron Lowry and cannot wait for more of her stuff. I am salivating with the hope that she’ll release full length novels one day.
- What is the hardest part about writing?
Finding the time and working around joint pain. That’s such a boring answer. But when I’m in school I juggle working, commuting, the actual course work – I’m getting my MA in Writing and Rhetoric – my family and my home. I really have to be diligent and make sacrifices in order to find time to write and edit as well. I also have a lot of wrist and elbow pain that is exacerbated by driving all the time and typing. I have to be aware of that and respect my limits, as well as take advantage of pain free days.
- Name your four most important food groups.
Tortilla chips, baby carrots, tea and coffee. Those are food groups right? What is a food group? I mean you can have a hundred types of tortilla chip and they’re all brilliant. Then you have new baby carrots fresh from the store. Soggy ones that have been buried in your veggie bin. The weird dry ones that have white on them. I love baby carrots so much I’ll eat them all. Maybe I don’t understand this food group business.
*copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review**
At eight years old Milo's family moves to the Cape. Milo is upset one day and while running down the beach, he runs over Andrew, literally. They become fast friends, but Milo has secrets. Secrets he can't share with anyone. We follow these young boys as they grow into pre-teens, teenagers and eventually go off to college. Then Milo's abuser, his father dies while he's in college. Even though the physical threat is gone, the emotional scars remain. Milo is still broken. He feels ashamed and worthless. He's angry and sad. The only thing about the Cape that has ever been a comfort to him is Andrew. To heal Milo has to say goodbye to everything, his home, his mother, and even Andrew. Andrew is heartbroken when Milo leaves, but he has to try to go on with his life. Try to move forward without his best friend and the love of his life.
Jude took me on a journey. I felt I grew up right along side Andrew and Milo. This story was an emotional rollercoaster. Even the happy moments were laced with fear, sadness and anxiety. But Jude kept me hanging onto every word. I loved seeing Andrew and Milo grow up. The first half of the book is told in the past and at about 50% we move to the present. When Milo returns home, the HEA they, and we desire doesn't happen right away. They have to fight for what they really want.
The story was well written and flows well. The characters were unique and well developed. We hear from both of the main characters throughout the story. The story takes place over a 20 plus year span, but it held my attention throughout. I loved these characters, my only wish is we would have had more page time with them as a couple.
This was a truly enjoyable read. Highly recommended!
Meet the author:
Jude Sierra began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read "pool+tv." She first began writing poetry as a child in her home country of Brazil, and is still a student of the form.
As a sucker for happy endings and well-written emotional arcs and characters, Jude is an unapologetic bookaholic. She finds bookstores and libraries unbearably sexy and, to her husband's dismay, is attempting to create her own in their living room. She is a writer of many things that hope to find their way out of the sanctuary of her hard drive and many that have found a home in the fanfiction community.
She is currently working on her Master of Arts in Writing and Rhetoric and managing a home filled with her husband, two young sons, and two cats. Her first novel, Hush, was published in 2015 by Interlude Press.
Where to find the author:
What It Takes will be published by Interlude Press on January 14, 2016. Connect with author Jude Sierra at JudeSierra.com, on Twitter @JudeSierra, on Goodreads at goodreads.com/Jude_Sierra, and on Facebook at facebook.com/JudeMSierra.
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27829994-what-it-takes
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Art: Nelli I
Cover Design: C.B. Messer
Tour Dates & Stops:
14-Jan: Book Lovers 4Ever, Lee Brazil, Inked Rainbow Reads
15-Jan: Havan Fellows, Love Bytes, Hearts on Fire
18-Jan: Elisa - My Reviews and Ramblings, A.M. Leibowitz
19-Jan: Velvet Panic, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
20-Jan: Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews, The Novel Approach, Kirsty Loves Books
21-Jan: Molly Lolly, MM Good Book Reviews
22-Jan: BFD Book Blog, Happily Ever Chapter
25-Jan: Nautical Star Books, My Fiction Nook
26-Jan: Emotion In Motion, Bayou Book Junkie
27-Jan: Full Moon Dreaming, Alpha Book Club, QUEERcentric Books
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