I am pleased to be hosting Teshelle Combs today. She was kind enough to also give me an interview.
Cale Anders lives a normal life–as normal as any eighteen year old dragon could hope for. He has always managed to straddle two worlds, one of underground fight clubs and siren hunts, and one of family barbecues and backyard football. Still, for as long as Cale can remember, he’s been the middle man –the ambassador for his own family–bent on reconciling the stark differences between his fiercely intelligent blue dragon relatives and the boisterous, passionate red dragon nesters.
But when Cale picks the steely-eyed human, Ava, to be his rider, he must choose between the family he’s always loved, and the only girl who can unlock his potential and spark his core.
Ava, her heart entrapped in a prison of callouses, is caught off guard by the rawness of the Anders’ life and the honesty of the boy who claims to belong only to her. But even more alarming than her immersion in a world she never knew existed, is the realization that love can grow slowly, steadily, and painfully, no matter how furious her resistance.
Together, Cale and Ava upturn the balance of the dragon world, leaving their very lives vulnerable to the wiles of forces neither of them truly understand.
Teshelle Combs is the author of the YA contemporary fantasy novel, “Core.“
She’s one of those crazies who majored in English in college and works as a full-time writer.
Teshelle grew up in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and currently lives with her composer and voice actor hubby, Nate Combs, and their soon-to-be-born baby boy, Jaxter, in Cape Coral, FL. Their house is generally filled with epic film themes, video game scores, and the sound of chattering keyboards.
If you’d like to be interviewed, featured, or reviewed for Teshelle’s blog, or if you would like to interview her, feature her, review her, or just say hi, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teshelle Combs was kind enough to give me an interview. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
I would like to welcome Teshelle Combs and thank her for taking the time to give me this interview. We will be finding
out about her and her book Core.
Before we begin the interview, Teshelle, can you tell us a little about yourself and your novel?
Sure! I’m 24 years old, from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in English-Creative Writing. I’m a full-time professional author–which probably makes me a little nuts–and I’m indie, which means I get do it all myself! So far, it’s been unbelievable.
I started writing Core in the fall of 2012 and it was released in kindle and paperback this June. It’s done surprisingly well so far, coming in at #5 on amazon’s bestselling sci-fi/ fantasy list for print at one point.
I’ve always loved dragons, and I wanted to make a novel that portrayed them in a different light. I wanted my dragons to have depth and character rather than simply being support, and Cale, one of my main characters, may have just accomplished that for me.
Core is about Cale, a teenager and a red dragon, who finds his rider in the tough, thick-skinned human, Ava. At first, Cale works to win Ava over, and Ava works to keep herself distant, but when the two join forces, they wreck the carefully maintained balance of the dragon world. It’s a great story with lots of twists and turns, and it explores a compelling, complicated relationship between boy and girl and rider and dragon.
Now on to the interview.
- When did you start writing?
Like most who end up as authors, I started writing when I was itty bitty. Stories were a big part of my culture, and most of my family members are born storytellers, so I was surrounded with the art of storytelling for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until college, however, that I decided to make it my career.
- What/who inspired you to write?
Like I mentioned before, my family and my island were big inspirations for me (I’m from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands). Besides that, I’d have to say God. And not just my relationship with him–which is the most valuable thing I have–but the idea of him. I love philosopshy (my minor in college), and so I enjoy theorizing and philosophizing about who and what God is. To me, He is the greatest storyteller.
- Who has been the most supportive?
I love this question, because I love my support team so intensely it’s maddening.
First, my husband, Nate. He is just spectacular. He’s a musician/composer/voice actor and though he’s busy pursuing his master’s degree, he put hours and hours into reading and editing my work, creating my cover art for Core from scratch, and writing a book trailer and the music to go with it, not to mention the nights of pillow-talking about ideas for my stories. He’s the one who pushes me to write more. My dream partner extraordinaire.
Then there’s my little sister, Nell. The summer after I graduated from high school launched the beginning of our writing relationship. I wrote my very first novel that summer, and she would sit on my lap and read through the chapters with me. It amazed me to see someone get so excited over what I was writing. And even though now, at seventeen, she’s way too old to sit on my lap, she still gets just as excited. She’s without a doubt my number one fan.
And finally, my closest friend, Megan. She and I built our friendship over exchanging and critiquing each other’s work. She’s who I call when I’m feeling down about my writing; she’s who I text when I’ve got writer’s block. And even though our friendship has evolved far past the written word, writing will always be its core (get it? Core???).
- What writers inspired you and what about their work do you most like?
The first writer to ever rock my world was Toni Morrison. I read Beloved in ninth grade and something about the magic in her writing just took me to a different place. She soaked into my head and my heart. I’ve always admired her and her work.
Next up is a tie between Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth. Suzanne Collins’ the Hunger Games was exactly what I needed to read to be inspired to write Core. The pace, the characters, the style… I wanted it to have been my book!
And Veronica… okay, I’ll confess I’m a little guilty of stalking her blog…just a little. I’m just so encouraged and inspired that a young writer like myself could chase her dreams and actually catch them. I wish I knew her in person; she seems so genuine and obviously she’s very talented. And hooray for the new Divergent movie that’ll be coming out! I hope that will be me someday.
- What is your favorite piece of writing by them?
(oops… already answered this in #4)
- Have you collaborated or plan to collaborate in the future?
I haven’t collaborated as of yet, but I have grand and lofty plans to do so with my dear friend, Megan. I love her stories, and I think whatever we come up with is going to kick boot-ay!
- What future projects do you have in store?
I need to finish the sequel to Core, which means I need to start it first. I’ve already got folks asking for it, and I literally write a page, stall, start over, write a page, stall…It’s frustrating, to say the least.
- Are you currently working on a project?
Oh boy…probably my least favorite question (no fault to you, Ronda! This one’s on me). Here’s my problem. I have a tendency to write half novels…which means I get a great idea, start typing like a crazy person, and then stall halfway through for no reason. So my latest novel is awesome, but it’s half completed.
- What is your favorite piece of writing from your own work and why?
Hmmm…wow this is a really tough question to answer! I suppose I love the scene where Ava and Shiloh meet later on in the novel (chapter 17). I like that Ava meets her match in a sense, and the quiet way that I try to bring Shiloh to life. He’s one of my favorite characters of all time and I love all of his scenes. Hope that sort of answers it!
For the lighter questions
- Do have any writing quirks?
Yep! I like to put the TV on when I write. Usually, I play reruns of the Office or a similar non-dramatic series that I’ve seen every episode of multiple times. I don’t actually watch, though. It’s just something about the background noise that helps me to zone in on what I’m doing. And when my brain does need a break, I can just look up for a second, have a laugh, and then get back to work.
- Do you snack while you write?
I binge write. That means I start a novel and keep going until A) I stall or B) I finish. Either way, it’s a month of nonstop typing. So if I don’t eat my meals over my keyboard, I will starve. New interpretation of starving artist!
- Do have a special place that you prefer to write?
I’m a homebody. My spot is in my bedroom, on my bed, laptop on my lap, snacks on my side table. My husband always walks in and goes “why is there no place to lie down on this bed? Is this your office or something?” Yes. Yes, it is.
- Do have certain amount of time that you have set aside to write each day?
Like I alluded to before, I write like a maniac. I also write full time, so I consider it my job. I wake up, have breakfast, and get to it. Yes, my schedule is flexible, but most days I write, or work on marketing for my writing, or blog about my writing. That usually takes up at least 8 hours of my day, if not more. (My hubby also works from home, so it all sort of makes sense for us).
- Do you listen to music when you write? If so what type of music (genre and/or songs)?
If I’m not watching TV, then yes, I do listen to music when I write. I especially use music when I’m writing very dramatic scenes. I like lots of types, but for writing I go with indie flavors, or some nice contemporary folk tunes, or whatever concoction Pandora or Spotify churns out for me that’s up that alley. My go-to’s are usually the Civil Wars, the Head and the Heart, Of Monsters and Men, and of course, Mumford and Sons.
- Anything other interesting information that you would like to add.
I’ll be having a baby in august! So add that to my inability to start the sequel to Core, and… I may have to duck and cover from the ensuing fan apocalypse.
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me, Ronda! It was a lot of fun.
Thank you for granting me this interview, Teshelle. It was great!