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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Road to Revelation series: Author Interview with Cliff Wellman

According to your website, you’ve been interested in Bible prophecy for more than twenty years, but what made you decide to put your thoughts to paper?
As I learned about Bible prophecy and began thinking that there was a chance that we might actually witness the return of Jesus, I decided that it was important to share whatever information I had with my friends and family. So periodically I would write-up a short document about certain "end-times" topics and email it to my small group of friends and family. 

I almost never received a response from any of the recipients. Most people don't want to know about the end. 🙂 One day while hunting, I was sitting in a tree thinking about how I could help people learn about end-times and it suddenly dawned on me to write a book, specifically a fictional story that would engage the read, but at the same time provide analysis of critical scripture.

The study Revelation and the end times has been a topic of interest since the time that Revelation was written by John the Apostle. What type of background do you have in biblical studies? 
I have zero formal study in regards to the Bible. I began reading the Bible in high school as a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. This provided some foundation of the Bible for me, but it wasn't until I was in my early 30's that I began studying in earnest. Most of my 20's were spent in search of something unknown to me. As it turned out I was looking for Jesus. I tell people that it was the book of Revelation that literally scared the "hell" out of me. It was the study of the end that helped me finally find God. 

At the end of each book in The Road to Revelation series, I list some of the books that have helped formulated my opinions on Biblical Prophecy. Joel's Richardson's Islamic Antichrist was the catalyst for the path that I'm on. I have dozens of books related to end-times from a wide variety of authors. I owned a half-dozen translations of the Bible, for a well-rounded understanding. I have read some of the Apocrypha (including Enoch, Jasher, and Jubliees). There is so much to read and so little time. As I tell everyone, I am far from a scholar.

What was your writing background before publishing these books? 
I was never a writer before becoming a published author. My background is in computer software development and real estate investing. My bachelor's degree is in Computer Integrated Manufacturing. I received a C in my American Literature class in high school. Pretty much everyone I know was absolutely surprised that I published a book, let alone a series of 4, soon to be 7. There will be seven books in The Road to Revelation series.

Are you active with any writing critique groups?
I am not active in writing critique groups as I really don't know the lingo. 🙂 If that makes sense. I write from my heart and my lovely wife makes sure that my sentence structure and spelling is correct. Over the past five years my writing has improved, but mainly because I have quit making some of the mistakes that I made early on.

The Left Behind series of 16 bestselling novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins were best sellers beginning in the mid-1990s. In their series, they point to the Antichrist as coming from Europe. Do your books follow that path? 
Back in the early 2000's, I read the entire Left Behind series and loved it. At the time, I followed the European Antichrist opinion, frankly because that was the only one that I had ever heard. 

It wasn't until reading Joel Richardson's Islamic Antichrist that I began considering the Islamic Antichrist position. It's not a popular one. Some people think it's a fad, but there is some solid research that would take days to explain. Joel also has a book called the Mideast Beast that furthers his study of the Antichrist. One scripture that is important to this study is Daniel 7:7 "After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns." 

The key here is that the fourth beast will crush and devour everything. Daniel 2 shows a similar story with the statue from Nebuchadnezzar's dream. History shows us that the Roman Empire didn't conquer the same geographic area that the previous three empires (Babylon, Persia, Greek) did. The Islamic Caliphate on the other hand did and more. The Roman Empire in general didn't destroy evidence of all previous religions, but this is what Islam still does to this day. There are countless churches and other religious buildings that have been destroyed of converted into Mosques. I would recommend reading Joel Richardson's books for more information.


Who do you see as your target audience?
I think my target audience is Christian readers who aren't familiar with end-times eschatology. Additionally, I would love to have non-Christians read the series and as a result begin searching and finding Jesus. I direct my writing toward the adult audience, but think that it is suitable for New Adult and some Young Adult readers.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? 
The hardest part of writing is editing. Those seemingly endless cycles of making sure that the story is good. Haha. My editor (my wife) makes sure that I deliver a good product. I am what the writing community call a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants. I begin writing and the characters tell their own story. Many times, I'll finish a chapter and will be like "Holy Cow, I had no idea that was going to happen." And those scenes end up being my favorite. I have a general idea where the story needs to end, but I almost never know how I'm going to get there.

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
When I wrote the first book, I really didn't know how it was going to go. I didn't know if anyone would like it. I didn't know if I would end up liking the process. When I started writing in the fall of 2015, I was retired from software development, but was still building a solid real estate investment portfolio. Writing was a hobby (although I wrote book 1 in 35 days). 

Today, I am mostly out of the real estate investment world and my daily focus is now writing. I spend most of my time reading, researching, and writing. And I couldn't be happier. I am encouraged when I continually see my monthly sales improve. I love to see reviews (good or bad, but mostly good) continue to be written about my books. Best of all I love it when someone says or writes that my books encouraged them to open their Bible, because that means that I'm doing something right.

What has surprised you the most in writing/publishing? 
The biggest surprise in writing is the fact that you have to spend time marketing your books and yourself. as a beginner, you sort of expect your publisher to do that. 

What frustrated you the most?
The most frustrating thing for me was when my first publisher, Tate Publishing, went out of business amongst a scandal that should have been beyond a "Christian Publisher". If you're not familiar with Tate, feel free to look it up. I am currently self-published and couldn't be happier.

What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
I'm not sure. I do wish that I had started writing sooner in life. I know that I have more books to write after I'm done with The Road to Revelation series. Ideas popup all of the time, and I write them down in hopes that I'll remember them when I get a chance to get back to them.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
The best advice that I've received is to keep writing. I have moments where I wonder if my books are good enough. Every time, in that moment before I press the button to "publish" my book, I get a little scared. "Is it good enough? Will people like it?" Those are some of the questions that come to mind. But I just push the button and go forward. 

So, advice to a new writer. Start writing, keep writing, keep reading. My son and my niece are budding new writers. I encourage both to write, write, write. Get that story out there, because someone will enjoy it.

Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
Don't get caught up in what other people are doing. Some people tell you that you have to create an outline. Others will tell you that outlines don't work. Your process will be unique. Your story is unique. Forget about what other people are doing. 

One caveat to that statement is in regards to marketing. There are merits to doing what other people are doing when it comes to marketing. Although, that isn't always true either. Some people focus on social media marketing while other people focus on Amazon marketing (or similar). Do what make sense for you and your projects.

What is the next book coming out? What can readers expect from that book?
The next book that is coming out is The Road to Revelation 5 - Dire Warnings. This is a continuation of The Road to Revelation series. As you might expect, the closer we come to the end, the crazier things will get and my readers are going to see some crazy stuff in this book. I don't want to leave any spoilers. 🙂

That's all for today's interview. If you would like to learn more about Cliff's books, here are some links to get you started.
Amazon link to The Road to Revelation series: https://www.amazon.com/Clifford-T-Wellman-Jr/e/B079WGPLT7
Author website : www.cliffwellman.com
Series website : www.TheRoadToRevelation.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CliffWellmanAuthor