Cliff Roberts has sold a huge pile of books, and in all of his books there are gunfights. But you don’t need a gun to join Cliff Roberts’ gang. You just need to enjoy great stories. This interview is all about the stories and how they are written. You will find that part interesting. But there is also a reward for reading this interview. If you want the reward first… scroll to the bottom. There’s a book to be claimed, if you’re ready to claim it…
What made you want to become a writer in the first place?
I don’t know. I’ve always had a desire to write and to tell stories. I have an extremely vivid imagination.
Have you written any other books that are not published? Do you have ideas laying around that you may work on one day?
Oh, yeah. I have dozens of books that I’ve written and they sit in my computer. I probably will never publish them, though I may rewrite them. I also have a very thick file on my computer that is nothing but story ideas and partially completed books. I work on them from time to time, slowly working my way through them. In the meantime, while I’m waiting for just the right bit of inspiration to finish the partially completed books, I’m writing new books.
What do you think about the e-book revolution?
The e-book revolution has changed the world. It has allowed authors, some very good authors, who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance, find a way to reach out to the readers. In the past, the type of books we had to choose from came from a limited number of publishing houses. Those publishers picked and chose the authors who got the opportunity to go public through some arbitrary methods. Things like, which school you attended, or if you attended school or who you knew. My personal favorite was the grammatical error method. When you sent in your manuscript, it was given to a reader, the reader would read your first page, and if they found a grammatical error or a spelling error or even a punctuation error, they tossed your work in the trash bin. It didn’t matter if the story was great or not. That is what I’ve heard was the issue with John Grisham’s work. The publisher wasn’t going to make him an offer because of some typo on the first page of his manuscript, when another reader at the publishing house picked it up and actually read it. From there, well, you know the history—John Grisham is one of America’s great all time writers. E-books give every writer the chance to become an all-time great. It also gives the author the lion’s share of the money earned by their work instead of the publisher keeping the majority of the money.
How would you describe your writing style?
I have to say my style is easy. I write as I speak, and I try to keep it simple. Not too much description and not too much background unless it’s really important to the story. Like Elmore Leonard advised, “Try to leave out the parts that the readers skip over.”
Pen, typewriter or computer?
I have used all three in my writing career, but I have to say I prefer the computer. First of all, there’s no paper to worry about. You don’t have to buy or store it. If you make an error, you simply back up and retype it. You don’t have to have Wite-Out and a steady hand. Then there’s the easy mailing process compared to having to drive to the post office and buy postage to send a paper manuscript. On the computer, it’s an easy email process. So I’ll take a computer every day over having to hand write something or typing it out.
Do you write alone or in public?
You make it sound dirty or something. I write alone in my home office but I do spend the majority of my time thinking about my different stories no matter where I am.
Music or silence?
I like it quiet when I write. Too much noise is distracting.
When you are in full writing mode, do you have goals of a certain number of words a week, or do you just as write when inspiration strikes?
No, I don’t have any word count or chapter completion goals when I sit down to write. I go with the inspiration. Sometimes I spend as much as eighteen hours straight, writing away.
What tactics do you have when writing? Do you jump right in, or do you have to outline?
I write by the seat of my pants. I’ve tried outlines, but I was never able to follow them as I would discover a better version of the story somewhere along the line and change everything. I just find the outline too confining.
What has your experience been like as an author?
It’s been a lot like work. Work that is always fun and exciting, but work just the same. If you treat writing like a hobby, that is exactly what it will be—a hobby. In order to achieve anything, you have to put the effort into it, and writing is no different. It takes time, and even when you think you’ve written something good, even great, the readers may not find it or they may not agree with you. So you have to strive to continually improve.
What have you put most of your effort into regarding writing?
As an independent author, you wear all the hats involved with publishing a book. Writing, editing, marketing, etc. They are all important, but I have tended to focus on the writing by improving my skills at the fundamental level, as well as crafting stories that are compelling and interesting.
What is your new book about?
I have several books that are about to be released. The next two are “Reprisal! The Eagle’s Challenge” (a continuation of my series, “Reprisal!”). It is the fourth book in the series, and this one focuses on the growing threat to America in Central and South America. It also explores the tie between the drug lords and the radical Islamists. There are lots of guns, a terrorist bombing, fire fights, car crashes, torture, spying, golf-loving drug lords and a beautiful half-naked woman. Yeah, it’s an action-adventure story. The other one due out shortly is titled “The Meek.” It’s a stand-alone horror story dealing with the possible end of the world as we know it. It’s intense and should keep you awake at night. If I tell you any more, it will give it all away.
And finally, why are you allowing readers to download your first hit “Reprisal” for only 99 cents?
The reasoning behind it is that a lot of people love that book. I would like more people to download it, enjoy it and understand the message. We live in dangerous times, and that book shows, in particular, that many of the problems we face today can become the war of tomorrow. If you are watching the news, keeping up to date with the election… you are going to really enjoy the book. I promise.
You can download “Reprisal: The Eagle Rises” by Cliff Roberts today from Amazon for 99 cents. This is a story ripped from the headlines of today. The series has moved over 40,000 copies, and if you enjoy reading about current events, politics and the fight between the left and right… this book could be the one for you!