Paperback: 278 pages;
Publisher: Interlude Press (May 19, 2015);
Amazon: What It Takes
Amazon Kindle: What It Takes
Blurb: 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?
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.”
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.
1) Tell us something no one else knows about your characters. Thank you for having me! I’m happy to be here.
So my characters: Milo hates to have people sing Happy Birthday to him. He never got that really at home and it always made him feel too seen elsewhere. On the other hand, he has really deeply hidden and over the top dream-wedding fantasies. Not even Andrew knows about that.
Andrew writes weird, awful dystopian novels that even he doesn’t like. In the back of his mind it’s because they remind him of Milo. Partly that’s because he doesn’t understand the genre and he thinks that’s something Milo might like (although it isn’t necessarily. Milo would read and love anything Andrew writes though).
2) Have you ever written something that made you cry?
Absolutely! This book in particular actually. I have never cried as much as I did with this one. For example, after I wrote the epilogue, I cried. A week later while on the beach on family vacation I was laying on the sand and watching the sky; it was the richest deep blue of Michigan summer. The waves were up on Lake Huron and I could hear the kids laughing in the water. For some reason this made me think of that epilogue and I just burst out crying.
3) Have you ever co-written with someone before?
Yes! In fan works, I used to co-write with my friend Alice. We wrote hilarious stuff together, mostly because she has brilliant dry wit.
4) What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
Being organized. Holding timelines and the details that go with those together.
5) Name your four most important food groups.
Rice. Rice and beans. Rice and beans with bell peppers and cilantro and sea salt. Garlic. Watch out, my Latina is showing today :D
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
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
Rafflecopter Prize: $25 Interlude Press web store gift card + WIT ebook; plus__5 eBook editions of WIT
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