Lisa: We’re so pleased to welcome author Jude Sierra today, on the tour for her latest release from Interlude Press, Idlewild.
Hi, Jude. Let’s start right in with the questions this morning: do you buy a book because of the cover, the blurb, or something else?
Jude: Thank you for having me!
I would say I choose to buy based on the blurb, but unless the book is recommended, a cover will influence my decision to even look at the book. There are some amazingly talented artists and graphic designers out there – I know because ours at Interlude is a phenomenon. A great cover will definitely grab me.
Lisa: What does ‘romance’ mean to you?
Jude: I think that being truly seen and understood by your partner is the foundation of a long term relationship. There is so much opportunity to show this when you’re with someone, and many of those are in small moments. Spontaneous and genuine compliments. Remembering your favorite flowers. Making you dinner unexpectedly. Romance for my characters varies widely, because their personalities are so different from mine. In Idlewild, Tyler thinks a lot about the kind of romance he wants; he’s very wistful about it, because for him it’s in movie moment type romance. Horse drawn carriages in the wintertime and that sort of thing. Asher is more like me, in that small gestures can mean a lot to him.
Lisa: What are your current projects?
Jude: As I’m working on this, it’s November, which means I’m currently writing what I hope will become my fourth novel during the insanity of National Novel Writing Month. This one has a huge outline and a lot of concept, but I’m only about 20k words in. Creatively, its code name is Project Keys, since it takes place in Key Largo. This story is hard to describe because it is a new adult story that deals with themes like homesickness and mental illness, but it’s not as heavy as it sounds. There’s a lot of fun and romance in it. And scuba diving! I just wrote the most romantic scene the other day…I wanted badly to be one of them in that moment.
Lisa: What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
Jude: Traditionally it’s in the process of taking a disorganized and non-linear rough draft – because I’m a pantser who writes scenes as they come to me – and making it a coherent first draft. Idlewild in particular was a big challenge. I’ve always written in quick shifting points of view. With this book I wanted to challenge myself to writing separate chapters for each point of view. This changes the narrative dramatically because there are many moments you don’t get to see in action from another character’s point of view. It changes the way you need to fill in gaps. It creates a different tension and, in my opinion, heightens the sense of unreliable point of view. A character can often see themselves in particular way, or react or act according to their knowledges and perceptions, which can be at odds with how another character perceives this. Roan Parrish is excellent at writing single person point of view that shows us the flaws in character thinking without telling. Reading her books definitely inspired me to try to challenge myself to write differently.
Lisa: Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.
Jude: Despite growing up on boats, I have an irrational fear of them. I can’t even do paddle boats or canoes. I am an excellent swimmer and not at all afraid of it. But boats…oh man. Cruise ship commercials alone are enough to cause me anxiety.
Lisa: Thanks for joining us today, Jude! It’s been great spending some time with you.
About the Book
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?
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.
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