This interview with Cliff Ball, author of Don’t Mess with Earth, was first published in May 2009.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1974, and was raised partly in the East Valley (Mesa and Chandler) and in Amarillo, TX. My family kind of moved back and forth during elementary school (to Amarillo then to Mesa) and in Jr/Sr High school, we lived in Mesa until I graduated high school in 1992. I've lived in Texas ever since.
What was it that first got you into writing and when did you start writing?
My parents gave me a journal when I was in 5th or 6th grade and I began to write in it until halfway through high school.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
I currently enjoy reading science fiction with an alternate history twist, so I read a lot of Harry Turtledove, S.M. Stirling, and Eric Flint, for example, so they influence me.
What kind of things do you write?
I primarily write science fiction, which includes time travel, alternate history, and alien invasion. I've written short stories that were satiric, a little bit social commentary, some fantasy, and some poetry.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on a re-write to my novella Out of Time, writing a sequel to Don't Mess With Earth, and a story about what-if the United States became a dictatorship. The President dissolves the main military, assassinates the previous President, creates a Civil Defense Force, decides the opposition and Christians are the enemy, has them sent to re-education centers, and has to deal with States that rebel. The main character participates in all of this until his family disappears and he vows revenge, so he works his way up to become the bodyguard of the President. Beyond that, well, you're going to have to read this next novel
What is your writing day like?
I don't want writing to feel like work, since I enjoy writing, I usually write when I have inspiration, and try never to force it. Usually, when I do write, I keep going until I feel like I've exhausted that idea for the day.
What’s the most exciting thing about writing for you?
The most exciting thing is that when I'm inspired, I can write and write until I'm mentally tired, and then I feel like I've accomplished something real.
What’s the most frustrating thing about writing for you?
The most frustrating thing about writing is when I'm stuck and can't figure out how to move the story along. So, I wait a couple days or a couple weeks, then try again.
What’s the best piece of feedback that you’ve had from your audience?
I need to show and not tell!
Do you write for a particular audience, or is your first priority to satisfy your own creativity?
My first priority is to satisfy my own creativity.
Home page is: http://www.cliffball.com, where you can find my short stories on a separate page.
author of Don't Mess With Earth