Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Idlewild by @judesierra @interludepress

Let the touring begin…

Jude Sierra
Release date: December 1, 2016

Was there a basis for you story? A previous experience or something else?
Thank you for having me!
My parents met in Detroit in 1971 – my mother was raised in the nearby neighborhood of Redford and her father was a Detroit cop. My father came to Detroit to go to the University of Detroit (now the University of Detroit Mercy) when he was 16, and a few years later met her. Although they lived – and raised us – overseas until 1994, I grew up with their stories, and my grandmother’s stories, of Detroit. I was 12 when we came to the States, and from the beginning I was drawn by Detroit’s history, by her face, and over the years, by the positive and negative changes she went through. National media has seen some really negative stories about the city – and I can’t deny there are difficulties the city faces. But if you check foodie magazines, travel articles about hidden gems – if you go downtown – you’ll see another side to the city: what’s been called her “Renaissance”. But Detroit is much more than just these two extremes. It can be really easy to slip into wrong and right rhetorics, into us vs. them, into literal and figurative black and white conversations. But the threads tying up and tying together this city are complicated. As complicated as love, as healing, as recovery, as self discovery and growth, as being human. I really wanted to write a story about the city, and I really wanted a love story that mirrored and was mirrored by similar themes.

What skills do you think a writer needs?
Well a love for writing is important. I think anyone can learn to be a writer if they have the desire. Not everyone will write the same – style, tone, cadence, story, genre – but if we all did, dang the world would be boring!
I think that the most important aspect of writing is the desire to work hard. Not only does it take time, but heart. And determination! I’ve come close to giving up when writing more than once. Seeing an idea from a what if to a full blown novel takes some grit. Being able to accept criticism AND praise – both of which I am not great at – are skills. Because you learn from both.

What for you is the perfect book hero?
Well I do love complex humans in books. A one dimensional character doesn’t draw me in as much, and if I’m not drawn in, then I don’t really get invested in the forward movement of their story. My perfect book hero has been subjected to a lot of character work ;)
Otherwise, they’re sweet but sensual. Smart in unexpected ways. Utterly human in that they make big mistakes but also, even if it takes a bit, are willing to grow or learn.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Every book presents a new challenge, and for this one, the research was an issue. Not doing it, because I liked that part. But finding ways to balance so much history and research with a fictional love story was a hard balance to strike. For Idlewild I spent a lot of time in my own head, anxious about doing it wrong because this book has some really complicated themes and background work. I am also working on my Masters in rhetoric and writing and I study cultural rhetorics; as I wrote this I was balancing a lot of intense learning I was doing about particular cultural rhetorics with the actual topic of the book.

Tell us about your favorite childhood book.
Gosh. I always say that These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie series) is. It still is. Almanzo Wilder….oh be still my tender heart! The truth is that once I learned to read (I was late to the party), I became the voracious reader I am today. The other day I was going through boxes of books – we just moved this summer – and I came across all of these books I used to love that I’ve kept for close to 30 years; books that came with us when we moved from Brazil to the States. One in particular – The Little Gymnast -- gosh I was obsessed with it. It actually fell apart from so much reading. I really liked gymnastics and apparently, I have been obsessed with underdog stories since birth.

Asher Schenck and his husband John opened their downtown gastro pub in the midst of Detroit’s revival. Now, five years after John’s sudden death, Asher is determined to pull off a revival of his own. In a last ditch attempt to bring Idlewild back to life, he fires everyone and hires a new staff. Among them is Tyler Heyward, a recent college graduate in need of funds to pay for med school. Tyler is a cheery balm on Asher’s soul, and their relationship quickly shifts from business to friendship. When they fall for each other, it is not the differences of race or class that challenge their love, but the ghosts and expectations of their respective pasts. Will they remain stuck, or move toward a life neither of them has allowed himself to dream about?

Categories: Fiction, Romance, LGBT, Interracial, M/M

250 pages
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: CB Messer
Today when Asher greets him, he seems more present. Tyler knew this place was in dire straits, but if he needed confirmation, the harried expression on Asher’s face when they first  met was it.
Although his clothes hint that he’s tried to put himself together, his hair is a mess. It’s longish, with a hint of curls and is the kind of tousled only some men can pull off. Though deep brown, Tyler can see some gray at the temples. Asher has dark eyes and sports the shadow of a beard. Despite the pallor of his skin that indicates he hasn’t gotten sun in a long time and his slightly sloppy appearance, Tyler can’t help but notice how handsome he is. He’s taller than Tyler by a few inches—most men are. He has no idea how old Asher is—it would hardly be polite to ask—but he thinks maybe in his thirties. That’s hardly old, but it’s older than he; that’s never been an attraction. But, it’s working right now. Tyler swallows and smiles.
“So,” Asher starts. He sits at the same table. It’s just as covered in paperwork. “What are your thoughts about working here?”
“Are…” Tyler eyes him. “Are you hiring me?”
“I am strongly considering it.” Asher doesn’t smile but his eyes are friendly.
“It would be great to work here,” Tyler says. “Really. This building has a vibe.”
“Oh, I don’t know. Something here feels right.” He wonders if he’s making a fool of himself. Tyler sometimes can sense the energy of a person or place. It’s nothing he seeks—but some people and places he’s encountered just feel right.
Empty, Idlewild brims with potential. It’s a building with great bones, long but narrow, with high groin-vaulted ceilings and a bar that curves down the length of the front-of-house floor. Cream-colored wainscoting lines the bottom of the walls—he sees it running up the stairs to the second floor—and the walls are a rich deep red that’s brightened and warmed by an eclectic assortment of antique lighting fixtures. Wide wooden steps with carved spindles lead to the second floor seating area. The dark wood and walls are offset by light through the large glass window.
“Well, I hope so.” Asher looks around, then shrugs. “Or that I can make something of it.”
“Just you?” Tyler asks. “That sounds exhausting.”
Asher tilts his head with a tiny smile quirking his lips.
“Well, if you wanna take a chance on me, which I recommend, I want to help you with that.” Tyler smiles as warmly as he can and is gratified when Asher’s eyes catch his. They share a second of eye contact that leaves Tyler short of breath. He looks away quickly.

Buy the book

It’s all about the author…
Jude Sierra first began writing poetry as a child in her home country of Brazil. Still a student of the form, she began writing long-form fiction by tackling her first National Novel Writing Month project in 2007, and in 2011 began writing in online communities, where her stories have thousands of readers. Her previous novels include Hush (2015) and What It Takes (2016), which received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly.

…and stalking them :)

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This tour & must read brought to you by Interlude Press

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