Thursday, December 8, 2016

Virtual Book Tour: Idlewild by Jude Sierra #Review #Excerpt #Giveaway #Interview

Author: Jude Sierra
Book: Idlewild
Publisher: Interlude Press
Publication date: December 1, 2016
Length: 250 pages
Cover artist: CB Messer

Reviewed by Erin


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?

 Buy Links:


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.


As a reader, there's nothing better than picking up a book by an author who has been on your wish list (for longer than they should have been!) and having that book be everything you wanted. Jude Sierra's, Idlewild, was all that I expected and more. Like most Interlude Press books, the cover grabbed my attention as soon as I saw it then the blurb had me waiting anxiously for the release. I love books set in a place I've never been and when the backdrop is also a restaurant, well, I knew I was in for something special. And boy, I sure got it with this gorgeous, romantic, and gentle book. 

Asher Schenck is floundering ... in life and his business. He's still grieving over the death of his partner and husband five years ago and their restaurant, Idlewild, is his last tangible connection the man he loved so passionately. Too bad that passion has withered with his suffocating grief and Idlewild is on the brink of failure. As a last ditch effort, Asher fires his entire staff and starts over from scratch. Enter the charming and enigmatic Tyler Heyward. He's young and beautiful and full of joy and light and he's exactly what Asher needs in order to move forward out of the darkness he's found himself during the past five years. With Tyler's effervescent personality, Asher begins to fall in love with his restaurant again, as well as his city ... and of course with Tyler himself. Watching these two move from boss/employee to best friends to lovers was truly a beautiful thing. Sierra's prose is gorgeous and full of emotion that is so palpable it jumps off the page. There's not a lot of heat going on in Idlewild, instead it's this slowly building thing that is tangible, so much so you can feel the threads connecting these two on a soul deep level. There's sex, and it's hot-- Asher seriously knows his way around in the bedroom--but it's MORE than that. It's about touch and intimacy and connection. Despite the ten year age difference between the much worldlier and experienced Asher and the somewhat naive Tyler, these two men fit together and just work. Of course their relationship is not without it's issues, and both Asher and Tyler have plenty they need to work out for themselves before they can truly commit to one another but Jude Sierra doesn't let our two heroes wallow in their angst for too long. Thank goodness!  

I have to say not only is this book about a love affair between two men who are both broken in their own ways, but it's also about Detroit itself. The landmarks and the history of the city play such an important role in Idlewild. The way that both men view their beloved and beleaguered city was something so very refreshing. Sierra's descriptions had me feeling like I was right there with them looking at buildings, smelling food from the food trucks, or seeing people walking through Downtown. I just really dug this book, y'all. It was quiet and full of so many feels. Asher broke my heart and then Tyler, man he had so many layers. There are a few important secondary characters sprinkled throughout the book, but the main focus of Idlewild is on Asher and Tyler, and they more than deserved the spotlight. It's unusual for me not to miss more interaction between characters other than the main ones, but it just shows how brilliant Jude Sierra's storytelling is that I didn't even miss that aspect. I devoured each page of Idlewild and was really quite sad to get to the end. If that's not the mark of a good book, I don't know what is!? Don't miss this one guys, you definitely need this book in your life.


Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Jude Sierra author of Idlewild

Hi Jude, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Thank you for having me!

1)     When did you write your first story/book? How old were you?

 I wrote my first “novel” in 2007 for NaNoWriMo…so I would have been 25. Well *barely*, since my birthday is December 1st. I worked on that book off an on for years…and it’s terrible! Oh my gosh it’s so bad. Purple prose right and left…and when it’s not purple it’s about 40% cliché and 67% awkward. I mean it was doomed from the start, just based on the concept. It’s about a woman whose boyfriend leaves her without warning by leaving her a note. She has mommy and daddy issues. She secretly wants to be an artist. She runs away to a beach house to heal and ends up with her best friend….

All that aside though, I’m very proud of that book. I dreamed for years of writing a novel, and never really thought I *would*. That’s the beauty of NaNoWriMo; the motivation to push past that little voice in your head that tells you you can’t. You just don’t have time to doubt yourself when the whole point is to throw caution to the wind and keep moving!

2)    Are you a plotter or pantser?

 I am historically a pantser. I mean, I’ve pantsed to the point I was probably just running around nude! Idlewild, I believe, was the start of a tide kind of turning for me. With Idlewild, I made a decision to try to write alternating points of view for chapters, rather than in my random, willy-nilly kind of way. It was a huge challenge though, because I am used to writing out of order and at a rapid pace (it was my NaNo novel in 2015). Trying to reorganize and stitch together and make sustained chapter points of view was a BEAR. So for the first time, this year, I’ve decided to try NOT to pants. I plotted for a long time. I actually stayed on track for 25k words on my new project…

In the end though, ya know. Pantsers gonna pants.

3)    What do you think makes your book stand out from the crowd?

I think that there are a few elements in this book that make it unique. First, Detroit. I mean, you’ll see the city in books, but in this book, I treated Detroit as a character – one I love as much as my others. A complex, nuanced, frustrating and beautiful character.

I think that Tyler and Asher, individually and separately are unique. One of my favorite lines of the book -- “Tyler knows of the middleness of his body” captures a lot of him – his mixed race and genderqueer identities – even though he worries about other’s not appreciating the latter, he really knows it about himself. In many ways, Tyler really inhabits that middleness in his personality too. He is very charismatic and changeable; he navigates the world in a fluid way that has a lot to do with him wanting to please people; this creates an interesting journey for him.

Asher foils really interestingly with these two. He’s a widower trying to keep the business he started with his late husband alive. He’s spent years so focused on it, telling himself that he’s healed from his husband’s death, that even as the restaurant is failing, it’s what’s protecting him from facing the outside world. He’s a man who thinks he has a better handle on his shit than he really does. As readers, we can see this though. Hopefully people will see and love his strength too. Despite these things, it takes a strong person to hold on instead of give up.

4)    How do you find or make time to write?

 The age old question! I get asked this a lot actually; between kids and commuting to my graduate school program, working, and studying…I’m not even sure sometimes. I do know that often if I really want to get it done, it involves getting up at 5 am. I’d love to stay up and write at night, or even write after the kids go to bed, but my brain is useless after 8pm.

5)    What do you like to read in your free time?

 I will read almost anything! It really depends on where my head is at; and I go through phases. When I have time to linger and am not super stressed, I end up in literature phases based on particular research tangents. I went through a phase where I was obsessed with reading English and American literature from about the 1880s through the 1920s. I liked looking at the ways in which the fundamental and huge impact World War I is reflected in the literature over that period of time. Stick Edith Wharton and Virginia Woolf side by side and you get some fascinating stuff.

When I’m not being a giant dork, I’m a romance kind of girl. I love happy endings, I’m all about the sexy, I love how easy it is to slip into these fictional worlds. I am way obsessed with sports romance right now; obsessed but picky!  

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.

Connect with the author at, on Twitter @judesierra and on Facebook at


Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of Hold // Five winners receive Idlewild eBook

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No comments:

Post a Comment