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Winter Book Festival and Giveaway: Charlie Palmer and The Prepper Next Door

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
Winter Book Festival and Giveaway: Charlie Palmer and The Prepper Next Door

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books library (Custom)Today I share the first  author interview in the Backdoor Survival Winter Book Festival.  Charlie Palmer, the author of The Prepper Next Door, shares his answers to my questions and is also providing one of my readers with a free copy of his book.

Be sure to check out the details of this week’s giveaway below.

The Prepper Next Door

The very first chapter of The Prepper Next Door provides an introduction to the world of prepping. It compares today’s prepper to the survivalists of the 1980s and to modern day homesteaders and hobby farmers.   As I often say, most preppers these days are quite ordinary and to look at them and talk to them, they would appear indistinguishable from the typical guy or gal next door.

The book is written for and about the typical prepper next door – people like you or me.

Neighboor next door

Your neighbor may be a prepper, too!

An Interview with Charlie Palmer

Tell me about your book, The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning. What is it about?

It’s a book about prepping and some things we can do to protect our families during disasters. I write about things like assembling a bug out bag, assuring drinkable water during an emergency, learning about self-defense. Things like that. I hope the book will be useful to both new preppers and also to those who’ve been prepping for many years. I try to provide more information for those who want to delve further into prepping topics.

What type of research did you have to do while writing The Prepper Next Door?

Most of the “research” was done over much of my lifetime. Much of the book was initially written as a flow of thought. Then I went back and filled in some useful resources to help people learn more if I felt it was needed.

When learning about survival, a motto I’ve always followed is to learn from those who need to do something regularly. To learn about the best clothing for extremely cold weather, I’d look to ice fishermen. To learn about water treatment, I’d look to people working as missionaries or relief workers in Third World countries. What products do experienced backpackers use? To those people, it’s not just a hypothetical. If their water purification methods are inadequate, they get sick. So they’re forced to learn what works. Then, as a prepper, I try to adopt the best methods, within budget, of course.

A good example: I have an extensive chapter about sanitation. Two of the groups I think I’ve learned the most from over the years are self-sufficient sailors in small boats and people traveling around in RVs.

Most of us can take our daily sanitation for granted. In the city, we’re hooked up to a public sewer system, and we have running water. We have garbage disposal. In rural areas, we might have a well with a pump and a septic system. But, sailors and RV-ers don’t have these systems. They need to deal with sanitation more directly, which is what many urban preppers would have to do in an emergency. They’d have to create their own self-contained systems.

The common advice many communities give if the sewer system fails is to line your toilet with garbage bags and then seal them after use. This advice kind of stinks. It’s not the choice of most RV-ers. They’d use portable chemical toilets like a Thetford. They’d have holding tanks for grey and black water.

How long did it take to write?

It was written part-time, so I don’t really know. It was written over about a year. I had the idea of writing a book about prepping or family preparedness many years ago, but only got around to writing it recently. The thought process, though, happened over many years.

In some ways I’m glad I waited a few decades to write it. It gave me a chance to mature and have a more balanced approach to prepping. With age you learn what’s really important.

An example: I write a lot about guns because many preppers are interested in them and I like them. I go into quite a bit of detail. What’s the difference between the 223 Remington and the 5.56 mm, etc. But, most urban preppers really only need maybe a defensive pistol, and maybe a CCW pistol and maybe a shotgun. There are young guys out there who purchase 20 guns and feel “prepared,” but they don’t have a small savings account to cover emergencies. You need to prepare for the most likely emergencies first.

Personal defense is another good example. You can study martial arts all you want, but making good decisions about where you go and what you do is key to keeping most people out of harm’s way.

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

I’d guess the basic message is to make some simple preparations. Another is simply to learn what can go wrong with things in general and have some idea of how to deal with them.

An example is home heating. Recently, Hurricane Sandy knocked out many peoples’ power. We can live without power, but it’s very uncomfortable not to have heat in a really cold climate. In the book I talk about the old-school gravity hot water heating systems that used oil fired or natural gas boilers. These systems didn’t require electricity to circulate heated water through a house. In a way these systems were more robust. There was less to go wrong.

Throughout the book, understanding the systems you rely on in your life is a constant theme. I think preppers should know a bit about repairing their own vehicle. If your plumbing system develops a leak, it’s good to be able to fix it yourself. That can be as simple as owning a few repair clamps or learning how to solder copper pipe. If your heat goes out, what steps should you take to protect your pipes from freezing? Many people don’t know how to turn off the supply of natural gas to their house. In an emergency, you might have to shut it off.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I’m probably just like your average blog reader, just your average prepper next door.

Before the 1980s, I was into wilderness survival, the outdoors, martial arts, and guns. In the 1980s, I became interested in what we call “prepping” today. Although I have a long experience with prepping, I’d describe myself as a moderate prepper. I don’t think society will completely fall apart and that we’ll need to live off the land for an extended period of time. But I like to encourage people to be a bit more self-reliant and learn to take care of themselves and their families during emergencies.

Do you have plans for another book?

Not currently. I have started writing a blog at

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

Well, I hope they’ll read and enjoy the book. The one thing that comes to mind is the 80-20 rule.

Some new preppers feel overwhelmed, like there’s too much to do. Often the first basic preparations you make will be the most important. You’re much more likely to need a two-week supply of food than a two-year supply. A basic defensive handgun will protect you in most self-defense situations.

So just get started prepping. And if you’re beyond the basics, that’s great too. There’s always more to learn.

The Book Giveaway

owl reading bookA copy of Charlie’s book, The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning has been reserved for one lucky reader.  You know how I like to make things easy so all you need to do to win is to share a prepping tip in the comments area below.

The deadline is 6:00 AM Pacific next Friday. A winner will be selected next Friday at random using tools on the website.

The Final Word

Charlie and I agree on something very fundamental and that is that ordinary people becoming ordinary preppers will be those that prevail in the months and years ahead.  The challenges are clear and of course, no one can do it all.  Still, with time, patience and a bit of perseverance, my hope is that we will all remain safe and that we all will remain well.

And to that end, keep on prepping!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Backdoor Survival on Facebook to be updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.

Spotlight Item:  This week’s spotlight is The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning.  Every prepper worth their salt needs to make modest preparations to plan for disasters, emergencies, and unexpected life contingencies. This guidebook covers the basics and a whole lot more including things not found in other prepping guidebooks.

Bargain Bin: Listed below are all of the books in the Backdoor Survival Winter Reading List. There are both fiction and non-fiction titles and a bit of something for everyone. Also, some of these books are Kindle e-books but you do not need a Kindle to read Kindle e-books. Simply download the free Kindle app from the Amazon site and you are good to go.

The Backdoor Survival Winter Reading List – Non-Fiction

The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning (Author Charlie Palmer)

Rapid Fire!: Tactics for High Threat, Protection and Combat Operations (Author Max Velocity)
Lanterns, Lamps and Candles (Author Ron Brown)

An Operations Manual For Humankind – The Complete Compendium Of Natural Health: (Author: Paul Patrick Robinson)

Understanding the Use of Handguns for Self-Defense (Author David Nash)

Where There Is No Doctor (Authors David Werner, Jane Maxwell, Carol Thuman)

Making the Best of Basics – Family Preparedness Handbook: (Author James Talmadge Stevens)

Live on $10,000 a Year or Less – Newly Revised for 2013 (Author George Ure) – available in mid to late February

Barbed Wire, Barricades, and Bunkers: The Free Citizen’s Guide to Fortifying the Home Retreat (Author F.J. Bohan)

The Prepper’s Pantry: Building and Thriving with Food Storage (Author Anne Lang)

The Truth About Simple Unhooked Living (Author Estar Holmes)

The Backdoor Survival Winter Reading List – Fiction

Preppers Road March (Author Ron Foster)

BUG OUT! Preppers on the move! (Author Ron Foster)

The Light In The Lake: The Survival Lake Retreat (Author Ron Foster)

Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises: (Author Max Velocity)

Holding Their Own: A Story of Survival (Author Joe Nobody)

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The goal with these recipes is to help you rotate and take advantage of your food storage on a daily basis – not a bad idea if I do say so myself. One other thing. The recipes can be printed or saved in a PDF so they can be saved on your hard drive.

Specials that I like this month are their SUPERPAIL of Soft White Wheat, a Deluxe Grain Mill and Motor and the Provident Pantry Freeze Dried Meat Essentials Combo.

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22 Responses to “Winter Book Festival and Giveaway: Charlie Palmer and The Prepper Next Door”

  1. Preps are nessesary. water, food, security, barter ect… but at some point all these hard goods will be used up, then what. I believe that Knowledge and no how is as important, if not more important than the hard goods. The hard goods will help you get by or get started. However knowing how to start a garden, what plants will grow at any time of year, how to save your own (non GMO) seeds, how to raise chickens, ducks, rabbits, fish (Aquaponics), goats, preserve your own foods, make your own E85 ethanol, build a gasifire to run a generator and the list can go on for pages. The homesteading skills our grandparents had were many, these are the skills that will get us by long term. I have been and still am a quiet prepper and have been for some time, but I have spent more time gathering knowledge than hard goods. Hard goods will help get you by if you have a crop failure or if an animal (2 or 4 legged) gets to your chickens or ducks and you need to build up the flock again, but knowing your grandparents basic how to’s will be a lasting solution. Don’t forget we need to practice the skills we read about. reading about how to start a fire with a bow drill is NOT the same thing as makeing fire with a bow drill. Bill B

  2. I am still learning, but remember Y2K? I minimally prepped then. When nothing happened, I still had food stored up. Within weeks of the new year, we had problems with our partner and were out of jobs. Both of us. But we had food! So I am prepping once again, feeling the need. Who knows. Maybe we’ll lose jobs, maybe worse. But we are prepared, once again. Such peace. Thanks for all the info!

  3. I went to his website and he had an article about finances. He mentioned trying a no-spend month but utility bills would be hard to work around. My idea of prepping for this comes from us being older and a one income couple. I try to have all our utilites paid 6 months ahead of time, at all times, in case of accident or job layoff. This gives us a buffer zone to come up with new solutions to a difficult problem.

  4. Gaye, I like to think about having light and electronics when a storm takes out the power grid. I always recommend stocking up on 12V Inverters, Solar Chargers, and a quality 12V battery or two. LED lights have really come down in price and they do give off some pretty good light. Pre-cut heavy black plastic mil is rolled up and ready to cover windows for light security. I use different size 12V Inverters to power different levels of electrical needs. Why use a 1000W inverter that is sucking so much power from the battery when you can get by with a 100W Inverter. Love your articles and products!

  5. While bleach can be used to treat water,it has a shelf life that is fairly short. Calcium hypochlorite( pool shock) in powdered form stores indefinitely if kept dry and uses nowhere near the space of the equivalent amount of liquid bleach.

  6. I’ve enjoyed crystal mining over the years. Like the miners of old, we would go into the mountains for weeks at a time. A lot on their shopping list became my list. You can do a lot with flour and baking soda and the dried beans. I’m sure they would have grown to love powdered eggs and cheese.
    Canned cheese and powdered cheese a must for our prep stock. I’m from Wisconsin we can eat about anything with cheese on it!

  7. I would like to help all of those who want to store good for you food. I bought a TON of organic brown rice. With all the stories of how fast it went bad, I started thinking about what I could do – I made instant rice with it! I cook it (on our woodstove). I think you could cook extra when you’re cooking rice and testing your food storage recipes. After it’s cooked – and try to make it loose, not gummy. I dehydrate it. Then I bag it in gallon bags to disperse the leftover moisture. After that I put some in my canning jars to be used right away and use a vacuum sealer to seal the rest in smaller, usable amounts. Organic brown rice saved from rancidity. How to use it? You just pour what you need into a heat proof container and cover the rice with hot water. It’s much better than the store bought. With the dehydrated beans I’ve made – a burrito or a bowl of spicy rice and beans is moments away!

  8. This sounds like an interesting book. I have a fairly new prepper and since I’m a low-income single mom, I need all the bargiins I can find. I hope I win this book!

  9. My tip would be whatever you need first, get basics at every opportunity. It adds up pretty quickly. And the basic things are actually cheapest. Dry beans and rice, batteries, water etc. I bought a dome ceramic water filter a few weeks ago, then went and bought 2 food grade buckets. I just dont have room to store tons of bottled water. So I will build my own water purification system. I have begun buying potted meat, not a big fan, but it can be cut up and put in other things. If you eat out, cut that expense at least one meal a week purchased “take out” could go a long way buying cans of Ravioli at Save a Lot. Print simple recipes out for the food storage you do have, all those beans and rice wont be good for much without knowing how to make versatile meals. I have stocked up on a lot of chicken, beef, pork, and tomato bullion as well as different spices, only a dollar at Dollar Tree stores.I fear a grid down scenario, so I print out important information that I will need, and keep it in a binder. I try to get at least one prepping thing every time I go to the store, even if its just buying an energy bar, a stick of beef jerky, bar of soap at again the dollar store.

    • Also think about buying up barter items, alcohol, cigarettes, medicines vegetable seeds. People are talking about buying gold and silver, personally I don’t think that will have any real value for a long time.

  10. Here in Ky we just learned that a coal fired power company is going to raise their rates. One aluminum smelter has filed notice they will close within one year.(almost 600 jobs)They cant stand the rate increase. The power company said they would then have to raise our rates another 18%. The other aluminum smelter anounced they would have to close also. (almost 500 jobs). My rates go up another 20%. I cant stand the $200 a month now, let alone another $75 a month.
    I had heard of a rocket stove, but never thought a lot about it. I started looking into one and now I see a ‘rocket stove mass heater’. Where have these things been all my life? Why doesn’t everyone have one? Heat your whole house with one cord a wood a year? No polution. Build one for $200. So easy to use. I say every bug out shelter, or bug in shelter should have one of these babies. This is the way I am going to fight the big electric companies.

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