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.”
INTERVIEW WITH JUDE SIERRA
VP: Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Jude Sierra author of What it Takes
Hi Jude, thank you for agreeing to this interview!
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Thank you for having me!
I would love to keep publishing for the rest of my life. I have lots of stories to tell, and although this can be stressful to juggle with my kids and family and grad school, writing is my heart. I kind of wither without it. I want to tell stories that matter to people. I want to tell stories that help people escape, that make them think. That move them.
How many published books do you have? Can you tell us something about them?
What it Takes will be my second. My first was Hush, which was a fun mix of paranormal and erotic and coming of age story for two young men who are in college in the suburbs of Chicago. What it Takes is a contemporary novel and it has a very different flavor. It covers 20 years in the lives of the main characters, and the emotional center of that story is very different. It’s a book about coming of age, second chances and healing.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Andrew has a tremendous capacity to love others. It’s a beautiful quality, but also one he has to learn to be careful with; without care, loving someone so unconditionally can become unhealthy. But in his heart, Andrew is an incredibly special person.
Milo, despite the fact that he cannot see this in himself when he’s young, is incredibly resilient. Andrew is a part of that, but in his core self, Milo is able to keep a hold of who he is and to keep fighting through the difficulties of his life. It takes a very strong person to overcome and become who he does in the course of the novel.
What are you working on at the moment? What’s it about?
I am currently working on a third manuscript for a book called Idlewild that’s a romance between two main characters – (Asher and Tyler) and their love for their city (Detroit). I wanted to write men in different stages of their lives, and I really wanted to write a novel about Detroit that breaks away from common ideas and images of the city. Tyler is a young man at a crossroads in his life, coming out of college having realized that the path he’d chosen wasn’t right for him. Asher is a widower trying to keep a business afloat. They’re both lost in many ways, which also means that in the course of the novel they get to grow a lot and figure themselves out.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
Only when I’m writing during NaNoWriMO. This book was my 2014 NaNo project, which came to fifty thousand words in it’s first draft. When I do NaNo, I am for 1667 words a day, which is what you need to hit that 50k in 30 days. Of course there are days when I can’t write and days when I’m on fire and sprinting ahead. Other than NaNo though, no. I just go where the inspiration takes me. Deadlines are very important though, because they really motivate me.
Buy the book:
IP Web Store: store.interludepress.com
Apple iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/what-it-takes/id1059511076?mt=11
All Romance eBooks: (Pending, will send to you tomorrow)
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:
21-Jan: Molly Lolly, MM Good Book Reviews