BDS Book Festival: Expatriates + Interview With James Wesley Rawles

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
BDS Book Festival: Expatriates + Interview With James Wesley Rawles

Today I share the first author interview and book giveaway in the latest Backdoor Survival Book Festival.  James Wesley Rawles, the author of Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse, is joining us today for an interview and is also providing one reader with a free copy of his latest book.

As most of you know, James (or Jim as he likes to be called) is a prolific writer in addition to blogging at his website,  Enjoy the interview and be sure to check out the details of this week’s giveaway below.


AN  INTERVIEW WITH James Wesley Rawles

Tell me about your novel, Expatriates. What is it about?

To start, I should mention that Expatriates is the fourth book in the Patriots novel series, which is about a near-future socioeconomic collapse. I use an unusual contemporaneous approach to writing sequels. Rather than the traditional formula of following the same group of characters in sequential installments, I show different characters in different geographic regions, but in the same near-future timeframe as in Patriots. So it isn’t necessary to have read the other novels before you read Expatriates.

Expatriates is set primarily in the Philippines, northern Australia, and Florida. The main characters are American ex-pats—a missionary family on Samar Island in the Philippines and a young Texan petroleum engineer living in Darwin, Australia. (Darwin is up on the tropical northern coast of Australia.) Another storyline follows a family in central Florida that is related to the family in the Philippines.

My goal with this book was to illustrate the international repercussions of an economic collapse. In Expatriates I show one likely outcome of a power vacuum in Australasia, when American military influence quickly disappears. Sensing that there will be no American response, a newly-radicalized Indonesia begins a jihad, and in rapid succession invades the Philippines, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and finally northern Australia.

Most of the second half of the novel describes those calamitous events from the perspective of American expatriates in Australia.

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

I did a lot of correspondence and conducted phone interviews with Australians and American ex-pats in Australia and the Philippines. I also corresponded with a number of subject matter experts in America and overseas.

How long did it take to write?

Roughly one year–although I had outlined all of the key storyline elements a year earlier.

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

Like all of my other novels, Expatriates is a tool to encourage family preparedness. If families prepare for the dreaded “worst case scenario,” then they can handle lesser disasters in stride. My novels are essentially survival manuals dressed as fiction. Most folks read them twice—the first time through for the fun of it, and the second time with a notepad and highlighting pen close at hand, taking notes.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I served as a U.S. Army Intelligence officer in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I resigned shortly after being promoted to Captain. I live on a remote ranch in the Inland Northwest, where my family strives to be as self-sufficient as possible. I write a daily blog at Between writing the blog, writing my books, and work on the ranch, I keep very busy.

Do you have plans for another book?

Yes, I’ve just written a non-fiction book, tentatively titled Tools For Survival, that will be released by Penguin in May of 2014. I’m also drafting another novel, titled Liberators. That one will be set mainly in the Bella Coola region of western Canada, and in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

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

I encourage everyone to think seriously about preparedness, and to set your family budget accordingly. You need to ask yourself: What is more important —a new jet ski and a big screen HDTV, or being prepared for the worst?


A copy of Expatriates has been reserved for one lucky reader.  Here is this week’s question:

What is the biggest mistake you have made in your “Prepping” career?

To enter the giveaway, you need to answer this question by responding in the comments area at the end of this article. The deadline is 6:00 AM Pacific next Thursday and the winner will be selected at random using tools on the website.  Also not that the winner will be announced in the Sunday Survival Buzz and he or she will have 72 hours to claim the winning book.

Note: If you are reading this article in your email client, you must go to the Backdoor Survival website to enter this giveaway in the comments area at the bottom of the article.

summer book festival 2013_04


I am thrilled that Jim was willing to take the time to share his thoughts with Backdoor Survival.  His book, as with all books in the survival fiction genre, teaches us that even through we do our best to prepare, circumstances do not cooperate and we must rely on our survival skills and the unwavering faith in our ability to prevail, no matter how bad things get.

I hope you will enter the giveaway to win your own copy of this fabulous new book!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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

In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Spotlight Item:  Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse

This a story about two expat families who struggle for survival in the midst of a global economic collapse.  When the United States suffers a major socioeconomic collapse, a power vacuum sweeps the globe. A newly radicalized Islamic government rises to power in Indonesia, invades the Philippines, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and finally northern Australia.

No longer protected by American military interests, Australia must repel an invasion alone.  In the thick of these political maneuvers, an American family of missionaries living in the Philippines and a Texan petroleum engineer in Australia must face the fear of being strangers in a world in flux. Are their relatives back home healthy and safe? Will they ever see them again?

Bargain Bin:  Today is all about books.  Listed below are all of the books in the current Backdoor Survival Summer Reading List. There are both fiction and non-fiction titles and a bit of something for everyone.owl reading book


Backyard Cuisine: Bringing Foraged Food to Your Table
Home Remedies
Living on the Edge: A Family’s Journey to Self-Sufficiency
Make It Last: Prolonging + Preserving the Things We Love
Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills
The Pocket Guide to Wild Mushrooms: Helpful Tips for Mushrooming in the Field
Good Clean Food
The Amazing 2000-Hour Flashlight
Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living
The People’s Apocalypse
Go Green, Spend Less, Live Better


Going Home: A Novel of Survival (The Survivalist Series)
Surviving Home: A Novel (The Survivalist Series)
Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse
The Border Marches
Rivers: A Novel
After the Blackout
The End: A Post Apocalyptic Novel (The New World Vol 1)
The Long Road (The New World Vol 2)
3 Prepper Romances:  Escape To My Arms, plus 2 other e-books (your choice)
Prepper Pete Prepares: An Introduction to Prepping for Kids


The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking
Escaping Home: A Novel (The Survivalist Series)

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You know how I like to have comfort foods and hot chocolate is right up there on the list.  This particular combo includes 4 cans: French Vanilla, Mint Truffle, Raspberry, and your basic Gourmet Creamy Hot Chocolate.

For a head start on your holiday gift giving, a dozen red emergency candles – including gift bags and bows – are on sale at $49.99 or 41% off.  These are great candles, even for non-emergency purposes.

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59 Responses to “BDS Book Festival: Expatriates + Interview With James Wesley Rawles”

  1. Easy answer. Having all these critters. I may have been able to purchase long term storage food that can do the same thing as raising animals. I love prepping and it is my life at the moment, but with critters, you are tied down. There is life still out there and I would like to enjoy what time I have left. Cant go anywhere when you have to feed and water animals. Calgon, take me away.

  2. My biggest mistake was trying to absorb too much information at one time, which got me confused, thus, not much constructive progress. I had to stop, regroup and start again! Now, everything is coming together much better! Thanks for all your advice and articles!

  3. My biggest mistake was not tasting ALL the canned food we set aside. I mean, we knew better than to go with the canned peas which are always mushy but the canned sweet potatoes lured me in. I love sweet potatoes, always have seconds on Thanksgiving, right? Then we opened a can. The worst food I have ever tasted! They were horrible. That’s my biggest mistake so far. Thanks.

  4. My biggest mistake has been the tendency to read and read and read, and not DO. BTW, as a suggestion, can you repeat the question near the bottom of the page, so we don’t have to scroll all the way back up when we forget what it was we were supposed to be answering? 😉

  5. My biggest mistake was to buy, buy, buy with money I couldn’t afford to spend and then not know what to do with all the “stuff” I bought. I let myself get overwhelmed and thought I had to have everything on everyone’s list without having a plan for myself.

  6. my biggest mistake at prepping was trying to do too much at once, i overwhelmed myself and alienated my family at the same time, better to do a little bit consistently than a big chunk and burn out and quit.

  7. My biggest mistake is storage. I can’t always find what I have stored. I have a list, but I don’t always update it when I use and\or replace items. I plan to sort and resort my preps in the near future.

  8. My biggest mistake was also the best thing I ever did because I learned from the experience. I tried to prepare for Y2K. No knowledge of how to store things, I lost most of it in the first year. Except for non-edibles like tools and such. This time, I’ve learned how to store things properly.
    We still call our prep storage room the Y2K room. 🙂

  9. My biggest mistake is/was distraction. I will start on a project, then start another, only to forget the initial project. So now I have several unfinished things that won’t do anyone any good. Not a focus problem, a forgetting problem…

  10. We live in a large house but a small yard in a city. We have everything stored here and not another
    location (just in case). I am sure there are others that have this same problem. I think it is necessary
    to have a second location besides the house. We don’t have a storage shed or another building on site. A second place gives another layer of security.

  11. Biggest mistake was before even prepping and reason I do prepare; Vaccinating my son and allowing over prescription of antibiotics. He was injured by the vaccine ( hospitalized that day) regressed and was dx with autism. First power outage we had was unbearable. Asd children need everything the same in routines. Led me to my first generator ( waiting on my solar system now). Now for gut heal everything has to be gluten free casien free soy free corn free gmo free and organic, otherwise my child is very sick and miserable. This has made trying to do long term storage food very hard. If it were not for the many hours of therapy we would live in a more rural setting. But if I were not awaken by my child’s medical injury I wouldn’t have the desire or see the need. Curse and blessing I guess.

  12. With limited income source, I started, but have nothing like the big storage #10 cans of dehydrated or freeze-dried foods. I can only slowly bring up my prepping supplies a little at a time – store canned goods, canning my own vegetables, dollar store items. Better than nothing! I wish I had started earlier to stock up on even the non-food items. My biggest wish, to this day, is finding other preppers to communicate & possibly share protection stances in this area.

    • Vicki, you might check with Meetups ( in your area and look for preparedness or survival groups. It can be done in such a way that is discrete and protects your location and level of preps. I have found it very helpful in connecting with other like-minded individuals and also for learning new skills. Plus it helps you build a network of trusted people with different skill sets that might be helpful if and when the SHTF.

  13. My biggest mistake was telling too many people that I was prepping. I thought I was encouraging them to prepare, and asked them not to tell anyone what we had in our storage. But it got out and now when people see me and I bring up whether they are preparing, they say,”Oh, we are just coming to your place.” When I say “You need to prepare for yourself and if you come, you need to bring what you have…” they look confused.
    We are preparing not only for ourselves but to be able to help others. Obviously we won’t be able to help everyone. So that is where Hubby has to step in and decide who can come and who can’t. And that is what I loved about in Patriots, they had a system in place to determine whether people who just happened by could stay or not.

  14. My biggest mistake was in not building a network to work with. I am a husband and father and for a long time figured that we with a few trusted relatives could handle most anything on our own. Fortunately i have had time to figure this out. It has taken some time but i am building a small network of TRUSTED people along with my family. We will be better off in the long run. This endeavor has also helped me meet other small networks. In a couple of cases we are talking about pre barter and possible fall back locations if someone is overrun and needs to bug out. Bill B

  15. Like Carey, my biggest mistake was talking to too many people. My greatest need is to be involved in a community of preppers, but I am probably overly cautious because of my first biggest mistake. I continue to prepare weekly and have a good supply of “beans, bandaids, and bullets. I’m working on skills (have been gardening for 3 yrs now), skills (got the treddle sewing machine up and running), and homemade cleaners/laundry soap/hand soap, am starting on water storage and fire starters. For tools, I’ve borrowed Mr Rawles quote: 1 is none and 2 is one. The medical supplies now fill two boot shoe boxes. My next big project is learning ham radio operation. It’s a big job to maintain preparredness, but worth it for the peace of mind it gives.

    • look into sprouting wheat…I read it’s easier to digest on those who have a gluten intolerance.

  16. Procrastinating. I know what I need to do and have some things in place but am not totally prepared if something should occur. I do have lists and just need to push ahead and get it done!

  17. My big failure was buying “things” and not spending the time to use and practice with them. Like my generator that still has the tags on it.

  18. I ran out and bought a lot of items just because they were on someone’s list.
    Most I will never need and could have uses the money on better resources. I wish I’d read more and bought only what my family will need to meet our circumstances!
    Live and learn!

  19. My biggest mistake so far has not been keeping track of my canned food rotation and ending up with canned food that has expired. I’m trying to be better at it now.

  20. My biggest mistake was not watching my expiration dates close enough, and found several cases of canned vegies that had expired 2 years ago! Oops! Talk about kicking myself in the rear!

  21. For me it is listening to others and being fixated on believing what’s most important for another may be most important for me. We must know our strengths and areas of opportuniy and build our prep’s around maximizing these areas to ensure when the time comes we do not have gaps – this may be skills, location tools, etc.

  22. What is the biggest mistake you have made in your “Prepping” career?
    WOW! Tough one to answer having made quite a few… But I guess the biggest mistake I’ve made with regards to prepping has to be having sold several firearms a few years back. Sure the cash was great but within two weeks that money was gone, and so were the guns. I regretted selling them from the moment I accepted that money. Sellers remorse claimed me as a victim with a sick, depressed feeling in the pit of my stomach.
    Sell something other than firearms, OR don’t buy what you THOUGHT you needed for a week. THEN after a week if you still feel you simply must have it, get a second job!!! But hang on to your firearms.

  23. So far, I think my biggest mistake is getting distracted – mostly by information overload – and not completing some of the tasks in a timely manner. I aggravated the problem by not beginning some of the more daunting tasks sooner.

  24. My worst mistake was buying cooking oil and not labeling the date it was purchased and not checking its normal shelf life. So you can guess what happened. This spring I had to dump three large bottles of vegetable oil. They had become rancid. A costly mistake. Now I date everything and rotate the old to the front of the shelf. I buy only what we can use within its normal shelf life. This includes other things that have oil in them too such as peanut butter.

    • Ruby, you can always use cooking oil for oil lamps or to make candle cook stoves, rancid or not. My kids are always shaming me as to ‘I never throw anything away’. If I open a can of something to eat and it smells bad, feed it to the critters. I don’t even pay for my trash pickup. I use the burnables, to light my campfires in my back yard, which I have quite often. The metal that is unburnable goes in a container to sell to the junk man. Pay to have something hauled off, when someone will pay you for it???? I guess only in Kentucky.

  25. My biggest mistake was originally thinking friends and family members would see the benefit of prepping if they were made aware of the problems which are currently occurring and how close we are to a multitude of disasters.

  26. my biggest mistake in my prepping is allowing myself to be overwhelmed with all the chatter and letting myself become ;depressed; with the whole situation.

  27. brian gest mistake is same as hoagie i sold my firearms now they cost double and i sold them for half so i guess my mistake would actually be i suck at math:( live and learn right never again will i make that mistake hopefully i can replace all before i need them hopefully i dont need them but if i do that is one thing u cant replace very easy

  28. Many here have expressed the same as what I feel. I regret not really getting a handle on things years ago, and not stepping back and re-prioritize, getting caught up in the news, and getting worked up, when I should use that energy on preps.

  29. I would have to say my biggest mistake is not starting earlier. I had a gut feeling I needed to start a food-storage plan about a year before I actually started. Granted my pantry is ALWAYS well-stocked, but things like meat was a weekly trip to the grocery store. I now feel comfortable that I have several months of food storage (maybe more, I’m not very good at inventory) and the beginnings of basic hygiene and medical preps storage.

    When my husband finally got on-board with food-storage is when I was really able to ramp things up. I guess inventory is something I need to work on next.

    On another note, my husband has ALL these wonderful ideas on what we can do to sustain ourselves and barter if TSHTF…but time is seriously lacking for both of us (we both work 3 jobs and have 3 teens at home). TIME to do more preps would be wonderful, which takes me back to wishing I had gotten started sooner.

  30. For anyone wishing they had started earlier, think of it this way. If you had started 10, 15 or 20 years earlier, all the food you would have bought & stashed away would be that much further past the expiration dates!


    • My biggest prepping mistake was telling my sisters & brother (who live in a HUGE city — I live in a very rural farm –paid for!) that I prep. My brother started prepping for his family and he has brought alot of preps to my place incase he is able to bug-out and get here because he is welcomed…but all my sisters just think that they will get in their car and come to my place!! One sister had TWO cans of food in her pantry when I came to visit…and she has LOTS of money!! I really ache for my sisters and their kids, but I’ve warned them that getting to where I live would be impossible with their roads clogged and no bug-out bags. 300 miles is a long ways on foot to my house!

  31. hoagie, Thanks for reminding me. Most of my food storage is over 25 years old. If I could post a little smiley face with its tongue stuck out, I would. All in good humor.
    crazyteacher. I have a sister in the suburbs of LA. Her husband is a Judge. They live in a large fine home and I can talk until the cows come home, but they don’t believe in prepping. She told me of waking the morning of the last big shake. She couldn’t get out her bedroom door, the house was shaking so bad, but still no preps. What’s wrong with people. She doesn’t even know who Nancy Pelosi, or Diane Feinstein is. Maybe that is the way to live. No worries, living life large. Taking great vacations. Makes me wonder who is better off, me or her.

  32. Hey JR, regarding that sister in the LA area, a friend once told me that he felt that life is a shit sandwich. The more BREAD you’ve got…. The less shit you’re eating.
    He may have a point????

    As for prepping, at times I think we might just be little boys playing soldier and having war games, only difference between now and when were children is that we’re supposedly grown up.

    Perhaps it’s nothing more than escapism???

    I don’t know, what I do know is that it’s fun and I also know that THOUSANDS in New Orleans after Katrina as well as just as many more after Sandy, all wish they had prepped. So despite what some may say, regardless of what might be said about me, none of that matters. Bottom line is I don’t listen anyhow! Better to have stuff and never need it as opposed to need stuff and not have it.

    • hoagie, I think I am running out of bread. Have stuff? I really think the time is getting very close to where “stuff” is more valuable than money. I have found out that as of this week, I have more toilet paper in stock than the local Wal-Mart. I also feel that with money not gong to be worth anything, what is always worth what you pay for it. Yep. Guns and ammo. All my loose change is going into guns and ammo. If it doesn’t hit and I get between a rock and a hard place. guns are as good as gold.

  33. I agree JR. Fact is that with solid, reliable firearms one can gather food, defend family, barter ammo and if you have spare firearms they will be worth a ton of goods during a SHTF scenario. Rarely do they drop so much in value that you would be sorry you have them, I have been sorry when I sold them, wished I had kept them. Overall a firearm is a tool just like a chainsaw, hammer or socket set. And tools, like knowledge, empower the person to survive.

  34. Not starting earlier. I keep thinking if the grid goes down in a couple of weeks Nov 13 & 14th and doesn’t come back up for a while. Of all the things I don’t have stored yet!

  35. Here comes my two cents worth. From my back porch I can see Big Rivers power plant. Beside it is Alcan Aluminum. The aluminum foundry can NOT loose power. That is why if was built beside the power generating plant. Across the road is another aluminum foundry that mixes special blends of metals, including the aluminum from Alcan. There are 5 “pot lines” at Alcan and 2 pot lines at PWI. To restart one line, after a power failure, is about 2 million dollars. 5 pot lines is over 10 million dollars. That would put Alcan out of business and the lost of hundreds of jobs.
    They are not going to turn off the power, just practice what would happen. If the power goes off here, the fan is brown.

  36. Oh, how I wish I had organized my “stuff” as I bought it and not just dumped it in the basement. If you can’t find it, you can’t use it. I have been making some progress, but should have had a PLAN in place before I started. I at least know HOW I am going to organize the various categories. Even have the boxes and tubbies, etc.

  37. I have felt the need to be aware and prepare for more years then I’d like to admit. But actually putting things aside and doing it was my downfall. Trying to make up for lost time sometimes is overwhelming. But I can things and mylar and do lots of research and print things off making books of how to’s etc. Money is always the issue so doing things that aren’t as costly but just as effective is the key for me. Sometimes takes extra research using what I have to prepare for when we won’t have at all.

  38. Underestimating the effort it takes to ignite, build and sustain a fire that will keep you warm, boil your water, and last long enough to actually let you sleep for a few hours without dying out

  39. My biggest mistake, is: not getting started sooner, and as a single woman, living in the city, in the desert; I find it hard to find info that relates to my situation. It’s generally geared towards GUYS, livng Out There- on land in the middle of nowhere, and having big tools, equipment and apparently LOTS of cash. It’s just me, and several animals. However, I have started putting things together, need way more pertinent info. Thnaks!!

  40. I have only been prepping for a few months so have probably made lots of mistakes that I haven’t discovered yet. The biggest mistake I have made so far was deciding I didn’t need a bug out bag because a) I couldn’t carry 25-50lbs and b) I would survive about 5 minutes in the bush if I managed to hike out of the suburbs. No thanks – I would rather stay put. Then I started thinking about why I prepped. I read a pamphlet for foreigners in Japan on evacuating due to typhoon, earthquake or tsunami. The focus was on what to bring with you to a shelter. That made a lot of sense to me. So now my bob is a coming along nicely, packed in a rollerboard suitcase and containing food, water, first aid and hygiene supplies and extra clothing. I have a flashlight and extra batteries but no survival gear to speak of. If I have to evacuate due to a natural disaster I can.

  41. Honestly, my biggest mistake has been not prepping earlier, although I saw the signs of a coming economic collapse many years ago. I know I should have been preparing back when I started feeling edgy about things, not wait til recently, then prep like crazy.
    It’s like studying for the test just before you sit down to take it. It’s neither intelligent nor advisable.

  42. My biggest mistake has probably been not keeping an inventory of everything I have. Like someone else said, I just dump it in the “first aid bin” or the “batteries” bin in the basement. I have no idea what I really have or how much, & I sometimes buy duplicates I didn’t mean to. Whoops. I just chalk it up to the “2 is 1, 1 is none” theory, or maybe the charity pile.

    Second biggest is probably worrying that my spouse thinks I’m nuts, going overboard, etc., so tempering how much I really want to do. My prepper gal friends always tell me “someday he’ll be thankful you prepared!” LOL.

  43. The biggest mistake I made was thinking I could do it all alone. Without others, both those doing it longer and those I am learning with, I have found that I need help. A small trusted group that have the same goals and mindset have been the most valuable thing in my life, rather prepping or just in life.

  44. The biggest mistake I have made is thinking I could do everything by myself. I have found that I need a small group of like minded people. They have made all the difference in both my prepping and in my whole life. Thinking I could do it alone was so overwhelming that I almost gave up.

  45. Biggest mistake was waiting too long before certain food items in the proper containers before bugs got to them. Don’t put off storage for to long.

  46. My biggest mistake is that there are so many new items coming out all of the time. For ex. Say I have a fire starter and later on they come out with a fire starter that seems like a more efficient one and this happens over and over. I should get a couple and get really good at using them. This happens with all prepper supplies. My wife and I are trying to live on $800 a month and with prices going through the roof we can’t afford for me to do this. But it is very difficult to stop.

  47. Don’t waste time or money on Liberators. It is disjointed and not engaging at all. Loved his prior work but something went very wrong with this release.

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