Prepper Book Festival: Alone Beth Ann’s Story of Survival + Giveaway

SurvivalWoman SurvivalWoman  |  Updated: September 5, 2020
Prepper Book Festival: Alone Beth Ann’s Story of Survival + Giveaway

Compared to seven years ago, stories of survival are a dime a dozen. Some are quite dark and in my own words, militant. That’s okay, but after awhile I prefer to read something a bit more uplifting and told from a woman’s point of view. The latest book in the Prepper Book Festival fits the bill.

Alone is the story of what happens to a young woman following a catastrophic EMP. The electric grid is down and all of our worst nightmares have come to fruition. Who will survive and how? And who will take advantage of the situation for personal gain?

Alone by C.M. Hollerman | Backdoor Survival

Today’s book, Alone: Beth Ann’s Story of Survival. is a debut novel from C. M. Hollerman. Some of you may recognize the name of Jonathan Hollerman, a popular author in the niche. C.M. is his big sister and a wonderful author in her own right.

Today I share an interview with C.M. plus I have three print copies of her book up for grabs in a giveaway. Enjoy the interview then be sure to check in below to learn about the giveaway.

An Interview with C.M. Hollerman, Author of ALONE

Tell me about your book. What is it about?

Alone: Beth Ann’s Story of Survival describes a young woman’s journey through the chaos after an EMP attack and the destruction of America’s electric grid.

Set in a tiny rural town in western Pennsylvania, the story shows the progression of society’s breakdown in the face of starvation, sickness, and violence. A wealthy man who has anticipated this disaster brings food to the townspeople, but his leadership takes on a communistic tone. With no one to hold the appointed “lawmen” accountable, they take advantage of their position.

Alone is an attempt to paint a realistic portrayal of what an unprotected and unprepared person could face in this scenario. It’s not romanticized or watered down. Beth Ann is clueless at first, but through other people she learns the skills necessary to survive.

What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?

My brother is Jonathan Hollerman, former U.S. Air Force S.E.R.E. (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) Specialist Instructor and best-selling author on preparedness. He is also now a professional survival retreat consultant (

Released in 2013, Jon’s first fiction book, EMP: Equipping Modern Patriots with a Story of Survival, spent four months on the top ten Amazon bestsellers list in the genre. I helped with copy editing and became interested in both the topic and the process. While I was working through the second book with him (EMP: The Aftermath, 2015), my brother asked me to consider re-writing his story from a female’s perspective. Beth Ann is a minor character introduced in his first book.

Obviously, my brother was a huge source of information for me in terms of the EMP scenario and survival, and I had to work within the framework of his primary plotline. I spent time in Tionesta and talked with locals to get a feel for the town and surrounding area, like the Kinzua Dam, the Allegheny River, the State Fish Hatchery, and the Allegheny National Forest.

I did research on gardening, winter greenhouses, and the physical and psychological effects of starvation, and I talked with medical professionals regarding staffing and emergency procedures.

How long did it take to write?

It took me well over two years. Partly because I was working simultaneously on the story editing of Jon’s second book and the copy editing of his latest book—a full-length preparedness manual (Survival Theory: A Preparedness Guide, 2016), and partly because I was working two other day jobs while taking care of two active daughters, one long-suffering husband, a messy house, an unknown number of aquatic animals in nine fish tanks, two dwarf hamsters and a leopard gecko!

Every book, fiction, and non-fiction includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading your book?

Education was one of my primary goals.

I would like readers to understand that real threats face our country and to feel an urgency to get started if they are not already preparing for a longer-term disaster. Most Americans tend to be complacent: we are used to our creature comforts. We turn the faucet handle and water flows; we flip a switch and the room lights up; we drive to the store and anything we want to buy is sitting on the shelf. We take our conveniences for granted, and we’ve lost the survival skills that previous generations had.

We forget that our modern society is built on a fragile, hair-thin foundation of microchip technology, and we don’t fully understand how interdependent our nation’s infrastructure is on this! We also have no concept of what “nice” people will do when there is no established law, or when they are helplessly watching their children starve to death.

What can it hurt to save some food and water and medical supplies, learn some new skills, and have a plan in place with family members in case communication systems are down?

My second goal came from my brother. Many of his readers have a wife or girlfriend or sister who is hesitant to support his preps. She doesn’t understand the threat and isn’t interested in reading the “Rambo” type of stories that dominate the genre. They have specifically asked Jon for a version of his story that a woman might more easily connect with.

Please do not misunderstand me and accuse me of gender-typing! Men have read my book and loved it, and I know plenty of women who like the “shoot-em-up” fiction! But I hope that my book will help fill a gap where one exists.

My third goal was to provide an option for readers who want books in this post-apocalyptic/survival genre written by women about women, since this seems to be lacking.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I live in Pennsylvania with my wonderful husband of 17 years and two amazing young daughters. I get my left-brain fix as an executive office administrator at an Art Center, and my right-brain fix in writing early in the morning before real life starts—working, chauffeuring, housekeeping, and volunteering for my church and local playhouse. My life is full, sometimes frantic, and often fun (although not fun enough according to my teenager). On those rare occasions when the blue moon shines, I may get a little time to do some of my favorite things—read, travel, craft, or learn something new.

As an author in the survival, prepping, self-sufficiency or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?

We hold to my brother’s recommendation, which is “prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

We believe that a grid-down scenario would be one of the worst things that could happen, as it has the potential to take out not only light and heat, but also our nation’s food delivery infrastructure, communication and transportation over a very large geographic area. World-wide financial collapse would certainly follow, and soon thereafter uncontrollable pandemics.

So preparing for a grid-down scenario would cover many other possible disasters.

What would be your first prep-step if you were just getting started?

My recommendation for the first prep-step would be to research a plan. For example, Backdoor Survival has a good twelve-month plan for starting out your preps. That way, you have something to follow and keep you focused.

A good plan will help you prioritize, which is helpful because when you are starting out it can be very overwhelming. There are also more in-depth manuals (books) if you are a person who needs lots of detail; just be careful – there is a lot of misinformation out there as well.

Let me say a quick word about the first thing to store: In my opinion, potable water is one of the most essential things for health and well-being in a long-term survival scenario. People can live weeks without food but far less–potentially only days–without water.

However, bottled water is expensive, takes up a lot of space, is too heavy to carry (in quantity), and actually expires. Yes, I know it could still be technically “safe” to drink, but the chemicals released by the breakdown of the plastic it’s stored in may not be a good idea to drink with a compromised immune system.

My point is, if you live near (or will be retreating to) a good water source, stock up on purification tablets and a filtration device/system with plenty of extra filters, and know how to use them.

What movie do you think gives the best portrayal of what could happen?

Honestly, I don’t watch many disaster-style movies because I don’t enjoy the graphic violence they often contain. But I would say that American Blackout by National Geographic is very realistic without being overly Hollywood-ized. It is a docudrama depicting what happens over a ten-day period after a cyber-attack on the electric grid, presented in an interesting format by splicing together what people are recording on their cell phones. The movie follows multiple people from various walks of life and how they are affected by a grid-down event. It does a very good job of showing how extremely fast society would fall apart without food and electricity.

However, in this movie the cell phones and cars still work, and the news networks keep broadcasting (on generators). Things would be even worse in the absence of all transportation and information. In addition, the grid miraculously starts working again on day ten, and the movie implies that everyone is relieved and ready to get back to normal.

Realistically, the grid would probably take months or years to repair. Also, once neighbor kills neighbor over a can of peaches, you don’t just go back to work the next day like nothing ever happened. With trust destroyed, financial collapse, and innumerable lawsuits filed, it would take a very long time to begin functioning as a society again…and it may never go back to “normal.”

Do you have plans for another book?

Yes! A sequel will pick up where Alone ends, and it will tell the story of Meghan, a friend of Beth Ann’s, as she helps the small town of Tionesta rebuild. This book will continue the gardening and add in medicinal remedies, and it will deal with the fallout of the abuse that takes place in Beth Ann’s book. I am working with professional counselors for this.

My brother’s third book will be published soon and it will finish the series; Meghan’s book will end at the same time and place, to keep my series and Jon’s series together as truly parallel stories.

Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?

Please, if you have not already, start a conversation with your family members and arm yourself with knowledge. Do your research, and don’t let the media and social media be your only source of news.

There are currently multiple credible threats to modern American culture as we know it, and we may not get a warning in time to prepare. Do little things to prepare as consistently as you can – without cashing in your kids’ college fund. Be sensible! Think of preparing as a type of insurance for your family and your future.

I do hope you enjoy Beth Ann’s story and share it with your friends!

Additional Reading: How to Prepare for an EMP

The Giveaway

C.M. has reserved three copies of her book in this newest Book Festival Giveaway.

A special word about the giveaway question/comment: Please read the question and respond accordingly, even it the answer is “I don’t know”. This week’s question is:

If you starting preparing today (as opposed to sometime in the past), what would you do differently?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM MST Tuesday with the winners notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winners must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

Note: Due to customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to individuals with a mailing address in the United States.

A Special Offer from the Author

C.M. Hollerman contacted me a few days ago and offered special pricing on ALONE during Prepper Book Festival week.

The Final Word

It is Interesting to consider that preparing for a grid-down situation would also constitute preparing for many other disasters. Once you come to that realization, you can move forward preparing in a more focused manner without being stressed by not being able to prepare for multiple events at once.

That being said, I always suggest that you prepare for local disasters first. Be is a hurricane, flood, wildfire, or other natural disasters, doing so will set the groundwork and will help you learn the basics of such things as food and water storage, first aid and trauma care, and rudimentary communication with the outside world.

For more information about the books in this latest book festival, visit Prepper Book Festival 14: Books to Learn, Prepare, and Be Ready for Anything.

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates. When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of our e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide. Also check the Facebook page regularly for links to free or almost free eBooks that we personally review just for you.

You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!



Spotlight: Alone: Beth Ann’s Story of Survival

So you think you’re afraid of the dark?

Twenty-two-year-old Beth Ann is content with her small-town life. That is, until the day America’s electric grid is destroyed by terrorists. What starts out as an inconvenience quickly becomes a catastrophe—not only do the lights stay off, but cars won’t run and phones are dead.

The world screeches to a halt. Without communication and basic supplies like food and water, widespread confusion spirals into deadly chaos within days.

A wealthy opportunist saves the townspeople with his secret cache of food and easily takes over the desperate town. But the darkness that follows is even more devastating than the electrical outage. When Beth Ann finds herself on her own, she must do whatever it takes to survive.

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74 Responses to “Prepper Book Festival: Alone Beth Ann’s Story of Survival + Giveaway”

  1. I think I would do the same thing. I started learning how to can, dehydrate and store food. I stayed away from prepackaged emergency food( it has its place and will include that). Started to learn new skills, became a certified herbalist, and compound medicines. Now I’m learning more about essential oils. My concern is sanitation and am looking into that. A steady pace in prepping is important. What can you do today and incorporate it in your lifestyle. Prepping doesn’t have to take over your budget but be a part of it. I’ve always gardened and have learned to grow veggies through out the winter. Just keep going. Expand your knowledge and stay away from the fright hype.

  2. If I started prepping today, what I would do different is start with water. I started with gear and food, then realized I was woefully lacking in water.

  3. I bought many things and gadgets I didn’t need. The monies could have been used more wisely. I would have researched more and stayed away from doom sites, which are really useless.

  4. Two things I’d do differently now if new to prepping:

    1st buy used gear – garage sales, thrift stores, military surplus and use it.

    2nd spend more time learning new skills – skills could be more valuable then gear. Skills can be bartered for gear and supplies. examples: medical, dental, carpentry, plumbing.

  5. I would try to get my husband and myself to determine our prepping goals together. He is not as interested in prepping as I am.

  6. I think I would do more research on exactly the what and how to prepare before buying some gear and stuff I really don’t need or could have made a better purchase on.

  7. Planning better, looking at used gear and better record keeping of what I get and where I put it so not duplicating items.

  8. I would be more particular about storing what we eat. If we have a limited budget & limited storage space it is important to focus on what we eat. I stored buckets of rice & beans until it dawned on me that no one in the family ate beans & rice! I realize we would not be so picky if we were starving but it’s wiser to focus on what the kids will eat.

  9. I would be much more structured in my approach to honing skills, gathering supplies and establishing off-grid capabilities.

    Thanks Gaye for your contributions toward our safer future.

  10. I would have bought my Berkey sooner and used the money spent on bottled water for food supplies instead.

  11. I want to agree with all the above. There are times I would do it exactly as I have and at other times I think I should have done it totally different.

  12. I would have organized my priorities differently and been more diligent about learning the necessary skills for survival.

  13. If I was starting again, I would be more organized. I bought this and that and then stored water…. following the Backdoor Survival guide would have helped a lot as I started.

  14. If I was starting fresh, I would look for land for a retreat and find a way to move there permanently including a way to support myself and my family.

  15. If I were starting over, I would be putting more emphasis on basics rather than expensive luxury items (ie. 2 Goal Zero Yeti generators). I also used prepping as an excuse to buy fun “toys” that, practically speaking, probably wouldn’t be all that useful (crossbow, throwing knives).

  16. Agree with the post on planting fruit trees earlier and preparing the garden soil for optimal fertility.

  17. I would start with a better plan and set priorities. A better look at real necessities.

  18. I like the other comments. I would go with better organization and a plan. I think those would make a major difference.

  19. Like a lot of people have said already… I’d spend less time on doomsday sites (sure wish I’d found this site sooner!!!)… and more on learning and practicing skills… I’ve found meeting with people the greatest help in my prepping

  20. focus more on staying put vs. bugging out. Aux. source of water, better garden prep, more secure storage………

  21. I have a well but with no electric it would be useless. Need to figure out a way to get water!

    • Hey Diane I’m in the same situation- I bought a generator that works great for our frequent short term outages. Long term I suppose a Flo-Jack or other hand pump would work but life here in the crowded northeast would probably not be tenable in a long term grid down situation so I would have to bug out. Make sure your generator has proper output ( probably 240 volt) and enough amperage for your well pump and reefer and furnace/boiler. My 6K does fine but it sure is noisy. If I come into some big $$ I will buy a Honda.

  22. I would start with the basics before worrying about the details. I would also focus on the 2 most likely events in my area and focus on those.

  23. As CM states, water purification would be my first prep, instead of just purchasing bottled water. I would want to have both.

  24. I’d put more effort into locating a good bug in and bugout place and safe routes to get to both.

  25. I would do more research on food and water storage as well as different foods to store like the Wise and Mountain High products.

  26. Preparing for a CME or EMP with a Faraday cage is very important and I made one to protect my electronics including the electronic ignition for my old 1979 Jeep which will be easy to change out if need be…So I should have a way to get around in my 4X4 bugout vehicle…

  27. If I were starting over, I’d focus as much on learning skills as buying supplies. AND be better organized from the beginning!

  28. If I were to start again, I would use a more organized approach and less of a scatter gun approach. But the real point is getting there, no matter how you did it.

  29. If I could start over, I’d leave AZ for a state with a natural water supply, as well as get far away from a large city.

  30. I would study safer locations to move my family to. I question whether any amount of water and food can out weigh a safer refuge.

  31. Should have added Heirloom seeds to my stash a lot sooner and learned about prepping my soil for the area we live in. Outside of weather events for our area I had some preparedness started and then kicked it up several notches. I did initially start with water purification and then added pots and pans to cook on an open fire. Your good set of pans will be ruined. Keep moving forward with knowledge. I found Gaye not too far into my full on preparedness quest and I was glad I did. No scare tactics, honest opinions on products she has reviewed. It could be so easy to go out and just buy stuff but we all want to use our money wisely. Thank you Gaye for everything you do for all of us!

  32. I would first start by saving up to buy a piece of land with water access outside of my city. In the meantime, I would start educating myself and learn how to start a fire, do more outdoor cooking, etc., and start to purchase dual-purpose (items useful both pre and post disaster) while reading and exploring what items would be best for me and my situation. Thanks for the giveaway!

  33. If I were starting today, I would first do two things simultaneously: Stock some water, probably in 5 gallon water fountain jugs from a big box store, and plan, plan, plan. I would decide which are the likeliest short term emergencies in our area, and figure out what skills, supplies, and tools we need to get through them.

    Only after that would I start spending money. After we were prepped for the first week, we would add until we were ready for two weeks, and so on.

    Even if we were working toward prepping for TEOTWAWKI, none of the short term emergency preps would be wasted: They would be the foundation for long term emergencies.

    The reason for immediately stocking water before deciding what other things to get: While water may not be terribly important for some very short term problems, in any multi-day event it could be the difference between getting by OK and not getting by at all. That is especially true if you have children or elderly in your home.

    While we might survive three days without water, we could not do physical labor more than a few hours without it. While a gallon per person per day is the normal recommended minimum amount, that does not allow for heavy work in hot weather, so one should take that into consideration. In any case, I’d start with a three day supply of one gallon per person per day, then a one week supply.

  34. We live in a small house and don’t have adequate (enough) or suitable (cool, dark) storage space for long term storage. I should have figured out how to add some when we first started prepping.

  35. I would focus more on what my family needs are instead of following someone else’s lists. I wasted money on things others said we needed.

  36. If I start over, I will have a dedicated area to keep all the prepping stuff. Not scattered all over and not being able to fine anything.

  37. I would have searched out a location as an alternative to home, if need be and learned more about ways to store water.

  38. If you starting preparing today (as opposed to sometime in the past), what would you do differently? I would focus on knowledge, financial and then guns and ammo.

  39. Other than talking too much I have no regrets. I’ve made mistakes (buying an 80 acre homestead was the biggest) but God has redeemed my errors and blessed my path. What exciting times we are living in! I encourage all to enjoy every day we have left. Play with your children and/or grand kids. Bless those less fortunate with your talents and treasures. Have a song in your heart. And make sure you have at least 1K rnds. of 5.56.

  40. I would start with a plan and record dates and amounts rather than gathering things haphazardly, as I did years ago. Now bloggers have such nice lists in which to organize your preps. It’s so much easier to keep records of preps on the computer now too.

  41. I would start out more organized, from a list or a plan for each category. Also, a plan to learn old skills.

  42. I am starting over due to a house fire. I plan on being more organized so I don’t loose track of what I already have or where something is that I already have.

  43. Starting today… I don’t know. I’m still very much a newbie, learning as I go. I hope that every little thing I do will make it better than before… and so I go, hoping for more time. Both to learn and to obtain needful things.

  44. I would probably start with water filtration/purification first. A water still would be an excellent first prep item!

  45. I would have lived somewhere that didn’t have HOA restrictions! I’d like to be able to have a well that could be hand operated, solar panels, and chickens and rabbits!

    • Ok I jumped the gun and bought it. If I should win I promise to pass it along to one of my friends. Also thank you for posting the free books it’s just like winning every time.

  46. If I started prepping today, knowing what I do now, I would concentrate on the accumulation of knowledge first and things second.

  47. If I started prepping today, I’d do a better job of tracking my purchases early (instead of doing it haphazardly and then going backwards to play catch-up) so that I can keep better track of what I already have, where it is stored, and what I need (or need more of).

  48. If I started preparing today I would focus on prepping to stay put ( bug in) as apposed to bugging out. I don’t believe being where I am that I would likely bug out.

  49. If I started prepping today, I would try for more balance in my prepping items and keeping better inventory records.

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