Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cliff Ball: The IAN Interview

Cliff Ball lives in Texas, born in Arizona, is a Christian and is Baptist. Cliff has two BA's, and a Certificate in Technical Communications. He has published nine novels and two short stories so far. Cliff got his start when he won third in high school for a short story written in Creative Writing class for a young adult magazine. You can find his website at

IAN. Hi Cliff. Please tell us about your latest book.
C.B. Beyond the New Frontier is a combination of the novels New Frontier and Final Frontier, this is the story of alternate timelines, partial political thriller, and time travel, in which President Kennedy is kept from being assassinated, but there are other unintended consequences as a result.

In 1976, Ronald Reagan becomes President of the United States, declares the U.S. will plant a base on the moon by 1980 and a base on Mars by 1989. The Iranian Hostage Crisis occurs, but Reagan issues a stronger response by rescuing the hostages within two weeks of it happening. As a result, Osama bin Laden rises to power earlier than he normally would have in the prime timeline. Meanwhile, The Soviet Union decides to build a starship that will travel to the stars because they want to one-up the United States. The ship launches, but soon becomes lost, while the Soviets pretend it isn't.

In the early 1990's the U.S. and the Russians join forces to find the Soviet starship, which leads the joint venture to the other side of the galaxy by means of a wormhole. When they attempt to return to Earth, they find themselves in the past, where they try to fix certain events in the past while they wait to re-route the Soviet starship and for history in general to catch up to where they launched the joint mission to begin with.

Things go wrong as events do not play out as planned and numerous cases of unintended consequences result from the multiple attempts at fixing the timeline.

IAN. What inspired you to write Beyond the New Frontier?
C.B. I’m into alternate timelines and I wanted to write a novel where the U.S. keeps going with the Moon landings and creating bases on the Moon and Mars. It really saddens me that the U.S. currently has no way of getting into space without relying on another country.

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?
C.B. I used an outline, because I found that just winging it doesn’t work for me all that much.

IAN. How did you come up with the title?
C.B.I chose New Frontier for the separate novel because JFK talked about a “New Frontier.” When I combined New Frontier and Final Frontier, I decided to name it Beyond the New Frontier, because it sounded interesting. At first, I was going to choose “To the Stars,” but I don’t think that worked as a title.

IAN. How much of the book is realistic?
Since it’s alternate history, it’s based on stuff that happened, but I fantasize it and twist it around.

IAN. What book are you reading now?
C.B. I’m currently reading three books at the same time: reading a biography of Andrew Jackson, trying to get through 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and catching up on the Wizard of Oz series because I didn’t read them as a kid.

IAN. Are there any new authors that have caught your interest?
C.B. There’s a lot of indie authors I’ve read that I would’ve never heard of before if we didn’t have the opportunity to publish ourselves. Authors like K.C. May, M.R. Mathias, JC Phelps, to name a few.

IAN. Do you see writing as a career?
C.B. In this economy, I’m kind of stuck with writing as a career.
IAN. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

C.B. My parents bought me a lot of books as a kid, most of them were young adult and above when it came to reading comprehension, and I thought I could do it too one of these days, so I began writing random stories when I was ten.

IAN. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
C.B. Writing dialogue that doesn’t seem stiff and stilted.

IAN. Is Beyond the New Frontier published in print, e-book or both?
C.B. Both, but only on Amazon since Beyond the New Frontier is in KDP Select

IAN. Where can we go to buy Beyond the New Frontier? (links)
C.B. Please follow this link to

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?
C.B. I actually have two works in progress. One is a prequel to Times of Trouble, which explores the Evans family and how they came to power, while a secondary storyline is about the Atwood’s, who come into contact with the Evans’ in the early 1970’s, and then the story will go until around the beginning of Times of Trouble. The other work in progress is about a young Christian who sings only in church, gets discovered by a producer of a national talent show, he wins, and we see him go through the ups and downs as a result of the consequences of wanting to be rich and famous. This is also set in the same period as Times of Trouble and Times of Trial, but won’t be political in nature.

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