In the Contemporary Spotlight: Jude Sierra’s ‘What It Takes’ (author interview, excerpt and contest)


What It Takes 1600px COVER (RGB) - Front

What It Takes by Jude Sierra
Release Date: January 14, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Art: Nelli I, Cover Design: C.B. Messer

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Jude Sierra, author of What it Takes. Hi Jude thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

  • Tell us something about your character’s friends. They’ve grown up in a small town, so they have a small group of friends that Andrew keeps in touch with as an adult – that Milo reconnects with when he comes back home. Ted is a fun guy. He’s kind of the class clown but in an irreverent ways. Their other friend Sarah is a steady, down to earth girl. She’s a good friend who is honest and direct and also a really steady presence in their lives.
  • What is your character’s favorite meal? Favorite dessert? Favorite snack food? Milo has a soft spot for baked goods, particularly any made by Andrew’s mother. He loves snickerdoodles and macaroons. Andrew loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Even as an adult, they are his go-to food. He takes some ribbing for it, but nothing can come between him and his lifelong love of a good old-fashioned sandwich.
  • What activity does your character absolutely hate? Andrew isn’t a huge fan of exercise for the sake of exercise, particularly things like running or biking. He likes being outside in nature, but at a slower pace.
  • What other author’s book do you think your character would be good in? Selfishly, I wouldn’t mind seeing them in Courtney Lux’s Small Wonders. Although I think as kids, their particular dance might leave Trip eyerolling hard core and perhaps not biting his tongue.
  • What’s your favorite decade and why? Well I’m a fan of the 80’s, but that’s because I was born in the 80’s which gives that decade a leg up automatically. I kid. I think that nostalgia can make decades we weren’t alive for seem awesome but the realities are more complex than that, which makes me want to name a decade I know, which limits my answer. I have to say that the late 90’s were brilliant though. Pop culture wise, you had Friends, the X-Files, the rise of boybands and some great alternative rock as well. Lots of great books – including the first half of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Good stuff.


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.”

Buy the book:


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, on Twitter @JudeSierra, on Goodreads at, and on Facebook at


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



Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $25 Interlude Press web store gift card + WIT ebook; plus__5 eBook editions of WIT.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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