Summer Book Festival and Giveaway: The Wayward Journey by Nathan Hale Jefferson

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
Summer Book Festival and Giveaway: The Wayward Journey by Nathan Hale Jefferson

Today I share the next author interview and book giveaway in the Backdoor Survival Summer Book Festival. Nathan Hale Jackson, the author of The Wayward Journey, answers my questions and also is providing one of my readers with a free copy of his book.

Summer Book Festival Wayward Journey

Before we begin, I would like to announce the winner of last week’s giveaway.

“Harold L.” has won a copy of Emergency Air for Shelter-in-Place Preppers and Home-Built Bunkers. Congratulations! I have contacted you by email with instructions for claiming your book. Here is how Harold answered the question “Other than food and water, what, if anything have you done to prepare for a Shelter-In-Place event?”

Trying to connect with other likeminded individuals because I know my wife and I cannot survive alone. Trying to learn more primitive cooking skills (Dutch oven) and definitely need to learn more medical / first aid skills.

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


Tell me about your book, The Wayward Journey. What is it about?

The story follows a man traveling across the country to return to his family in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake from the New Madrid fault line.

To make matters worse, before the quake hits, the country is already struggling through a horrible economic crisis brought on by an oil shortage and high inflation (It’s all just fiction, right?). I try to highlight the dual factor as the reason everything falls apart because I believe people are very resilient and think that it would take two or more large blows to society before it all would fall apart.

What type of research did you have to do while writing The Wayward Journey?

Most of my research came from the DHS coordinated national exercise in 2011 and from the USGS. I also researched many historical records from the last major earthquakes in the region to help provide details on the locations and the range of damage.

How long did it take to write?

It took me about 8 months at an average of about 20-30 hours a week to write the original draft, then about 2 more months to go through edits and revisions. Hopefully the second installment won’t take as long.

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

The biggest thing to take away would be awareness. There is a high level of awareness out there in regards to other potential disasters or catastrophes like pandemic, EMP, nuclear explosions, etc. But the majority of people living in earthquake susceptible areas don’t even realize there is a danger.

The other main take away is the idea of a how a dual (or triple, or quadruple!) blow to the country would be a likely downfall to society. Humans, by nature, are very resilient and in dozens and dozens of disasters, wars, and other catastrophes in the past things have gone crazy but eventually and usually pretty quickly things get back to a level of normalcy. But I would like to help foster thought around what would happen if two or more of these catastrophes lined up together.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I’m just an everyday guy trying to do my best to provide for my family. I grew up on a produce and tobacco farm in the Ohio River Valley where a lot of our neighbors drove a horse and buggy.

After working with state level DHS a few years ago and seeing several documentaries, I have jumped head first into being prepared for the potential problems that might arise in or around the country.

A lot of the story comes from some of my personal fears. I’m a consultant who travels across the country almost weekly to many of the areas I describe in the book.

Do you have plans for another book?

I am currently writing the second installment of this series and have the third book outlined from beginning to end. Depending on how everything goes the story line could be continued beyond that, but I don’t currently have plans to keep it going beyond the next two books.

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

First I’d like to thank everyone who read my book, and to say that I really hope you enjoyed it.

My goal is to write stories that have a mass appeal, not just to preppers, but to everyone, especially to those who are ‘on the fence’ or currently unaware of the need to be prepared.

Hopefully I can help entertain, educate and get you thinking at the same time.


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

If you were an elected official, what is the one thing you would do to help prepare your community for a natural disaster?

To enter, respond in the comments area at the end of this article. The deadline is 6:00 AM Pacific next Friday. A winner will be selected at random using tools on the website. In addition, the winner must respond to my email within 72 hours or an alternate winner will be selected.

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 love survival fiction – simply love it. Learning how fictionalized characters behave in the most dire of situations and yet prevail at the end provides me with inspiration and sets my brain cells ablaze with potential strategies of my own. I don’t always agree with the handling of events in these fictionalized accounts, but most assuredly I do learn something.

The only issue, if you want to call it that, that I have is that there are not enough hours in the day to read as much as I would like to. For that reason I love audiobooks and hope that more authors and their publishers will make audio versions of their book available.

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.

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: As survival fiction goes, The Wayward Journey is one of the good ones. It is the story of family and of hope and ultimately of the strength of the human spirit when faced with insurmountable obstacles.

Bargain Bin: Listed below are all of the books in the Backdoor Survival Summer 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.

owl reading book


The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide
The Mini Farming Guide to Composting
Meals in a Jar: Quick and Easy, Just-Add-Water, Homemade Recipe
Fight, Flight, or Hide. The Guide to Surviving a Mass Shooting
Don’t Be A Victim!: An Officer’s Advice on Preventing Crime
Emergency Air for Shelter-in-Place Preppers and Home-Built Bunkers
Real Time Machines: The Future is an APP
Survival Medicine Handbook
Getting Home
Staying Home
Guns Across the Border: How and Why the US Government Smuggled Guns into Mexico
Spiraling Downward: Thinking About and Planning for Economic Collapse


Holding Their Own IV: The Ascent
Apocalypse Drift
299 Days: The Visitors
The Western Front (Parts 1,2,3 – The Complete Collection)
The Wayward Journey

Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials

100 hour candleThis month all Mountain House cans are 25% off with some at 29% off. For my own food storage, I ordered the Mountain House® Sweet & Sour Pork with Rice. In addition, I ordered some Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Slices and some Buttermilk Biscuit Mix. Truth be told, I have never tried FD ice cream so this is going to be interesting.

Although I like to make my own oil candles, I keep of these Clear Mist 100 Hour Plus Emergency Candles on hand as well. This month they are sale for $3.99 each.

In the gear department, the Venture 6 Tool is on sale. This versatile all-in-one tool is compact and converts to a shovel, a saw, a hammer, or a hatchet. It is 35% off this month.

There are a lot more items on sale this month – be sure to take a look.

Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials

Like this and want more?

CLICK HERE to visit Backdoor Survival on Facebook. And CLICK HERE to follow Survival Woman on Twitter.

Spread the Word – Tell your friends: Share Backdoor Survival with your friends. All you need to do to send them a short email. Now that was easy!

I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here.

Amazon has a cool feature called Shop Amazon – Most Wished For Items. This is an easy tool for finding products that people are ‘wishing” for and in this way you know what the top products are. Like I said, very cool.

Shop Amazon Tactical – Great Selection of Optics, Knives, Cases, Equipment
Amazon’s Most Wished For Items in Sports and Outdoors

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!

11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life: This little book will provide you with the motivation to get started or stay on track with a self-reliant life. 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life, co-authored with my long time pal, George Ure (, and can purchased from Amazon.

Aff | Tactical Pen

[DEAL] Ultimate Concealed Weapon

Tactical Pen / Multi-Tool (Flashlight, knife, etc)

Stay Protected
Aff | Emergency Blanket
[DEAL] Emergency Survival Blanket Get Cheap Security

36 Responses to “Summer Book Festival and Giveaway: The Wayward Journey by Nathan Hale Jefferson”

  1. If I were an elected official I would lobby for adequate funding for our Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and our First Responders. Also education for community cooperation with disaster drills.

  2. If I were an elected official (god forbid!!) I would find the “trigger point” topic for my area and highlight that. Where I live the trigger point topic is TSUNAMI….I live on the Oregon Coast. By focusing attention and stumping for tsunami funding/awareness/preparedness I would, by proxy, be lending much needed funding for disasters of all kinds.
    Elected officials walk a tight line ….. they cannot be seen as too consumed by disasters (negative energy), they cannot talk overmuch about being prepared for disasters…and must NEVER, NEVER, NEVER use that “P” word (prepper). Use of the “P” word automatically brands them as a survival kook!!!
    If I were an elected official I would lead by example. Showing my own preparedness to my circle of friends and enabling them to prep in their own ways…..and hope that leading by example will spread like ripples in a pond.

  3. If I were an elected official I would dedicate myself to seeing funds reallocated away from wasteful or gratuitous programs and into infrastructure and emergency preparedness. For example, the decrepit condition of bridges alone could cripple the nation’s ability to respond in the event of a catastrophic event in the New Madrid zone. It is entirely possible that the failure of major Mississippi River crossings would effectively render the US two separate regions and isolate localities along river, creek and stream beds making emergency response questionable and time consuming to say the least. Areas isolated in this way could become hotbeds of criminal activity. Rebuilding these numerous crossings and the infrastructure that runs along them could take years.

  4. If I was elected KING, I could tell you of a few changes, but I am assuming we are to be elected on the local level.
    There has to be a way to get the message to the general population that they need at least a BOB, or hopefully a few weeks of supplies. I live in KY where there are deadly tornadoes, and the dreaded New Madrid Fault. Take some of the millions of dollars that are wasted on building a new water front, or some other wasteful idea, and try to get the message to people. Waste money on an advisory committee to determine what would work. Maybe billboards, or weekly radio call in talk shows with a member of the emergency response team. Take the message to those little absorbent minds in the schools and let them pester their parents. This has worked with me and my little grandchildren.
    If I had the power I would change some of these power grabbing laws that prevent having a few chickens in your back yard. The story of the man that had to keep pigeons or some small feather critter in his yard as a way of getting around the ‘no chicken’ law is ridiculous.
    On another note. I have personally flown my little putt, putt, airplane over eastern Arkansas at the Mississippi river and have seen first hand what an earthquake can do. The range of hills that are there now, but were not there before the quake the made the Mississippi flow backwards. It was mindboggling. I really think another New Madrid Fault quake is what is going to become the disaster that we could very probably see coming.

  5. If I was an elected official I would try to promote, to the community, the need for ‘Preparation’ for a natural or man-made disaster and for individual responsibilty and self-reliance. I think individual responsibilty is the key for a community’s overall Disaster and Survival preparedness.

  6. I think that education is key for anything. If I was an elected official, I would introduce a program to educate residents for the most likely disasters for our area. We could start with the Red Cross and FEMA disaster preparedness info. These would be held lecture style with examples of suggested supplies in one of our large venues on multiple occasions and I would see to it that it was recorded. Once recorded it would cost pennies to have that transferred to DVD’s. These DVD’s would be available for sale for a very nominal fee for those who wanted their own copy. There would also be a large number available for check-out at the local library.

    I would also prepare a PDF document with basic guidelines for how to prepare, what to stock, etc. This would be available for free download from the city’s website. Depending on funding available for this program, copies could be printed and bundled with the DVD for those who didn’t have access to a computer/DVD player/printer. This is something that we would want everyone to have access to, regardless of their economic situation. I think follow-up lectures would be a great idea and would love to include an open forum for questions and answers. To take it one step further, if it were possible, I would establish a separate preparedness website where all of this information could be organized and also include a moderated message board where residents could share ideas and ask questions of the “experts”. I think investing in an informed and prepared community would be one of the best things a city could do for its residents.

    Assuming we had the funds, I would also like to implement an “at cost” purchase depot. The city would get set price contracts from sources for typical basic preparedness supplies. These would be listed on an order form. Residents would bring their order forms and payment to the depot, supplies would be ordered and the residents would pick them up when they came in. My initial thought would be for the city to purchase one of everything on the list and put them in sort of a catalog show room. That way residents would be able to see first-hand what the products actually were before ordering. This would keep the city’s investment down by not having to warehouse supplies. Since the orders would be paid in full when placed, the city’s financial investment would be kept to a minimum.

  7. Assuming I’m an elected local official. If there aren’t neighborhood associations I would strongly encourage them. That’s the base stage for connecting neighbors and keeping local connections strong. Then I’d find a way to fund training at that local level for disaster preparedness or what I call Providential Living/old fashioned basic living close to the land. This training would not only teach what to gather for a disaster, but also teach about the available food to be had scrounging just in the neighborhoods’ ‘wild’ or neglected areas for plants, animals etc. while also discussing how the reasons storing and preparing. This would also include each neighborhood association pooling their human resources so no one person or family need do it all. Taking advantage of many people’s different skills and training. There is more power in group think than just individuals doing it on their own. History shows no one person can do all and when you combine forces there is protection there too from outside sources. Building up confidence in the association means stronger communities in bad times and good.

  8. If I was elected local official I would read and try to do many of the great well thought out comments listed already above by many more well informed individuals than myself. It would be of my greatest concern to educate the unknowing populous what could happen and what individual and collective steps could be taken to minimize the situation. The New Madrid Fault would be top priority!

  9. I would have prepareness fair with booths giving away books and information concerning being prepared also items like bug out bags etc this fair would be at different events and at schools

  10. My little town here in Missouri (which would likely be affected by a New Madrid earth quake) has a community volunteer CERT team. It is not widely know and could be far more affective with more volunteers. If I were an “elected official” I would take the CERT team to the schools for assemblies to train the kids…much like the police and fire depts did when I was a kid…to drill kids on safety issues. While I’m on the topic…do they do this anymore??? I see stupid people walking or biking on the wrong side of the road…all things we as kids were taught in elementary school. Anyway…CERT teams are a tremendous rescource for communities and could mean the difference between chaos and clear heads.

  11. Great question. I think that I would hold a free “Preparedness Fair”….luring the folks in with free hot dogs and balloons. Then, hopefully, some people would walk away with some new knowledge and an understanding of the importance of being prepared.

  12. If I were an elected official (would not want the job) I would start with churches and encourage them to educate their parishioners in the basics of food storage and survival techniques for various situations. Here in Eastern Washington we have ice and snow storms in the Winter and wild fires in the Summer. We have endured power outages for many many days because of fallen trees and blocked roads. The churches could set aside food storage rooms and include first aid items to be available to anyone in the immediate area. Many people live within walking distance of a church.

    Education materials are available from organizations such as FEMA, LDS Churches, Red Cross and many many web sites that go into great details on survival topics.

    Knowledge and preparation are critical to any community’s survival.

  13. Have contingency plans for possible disasters in your area. Then have back up contingency plans to those. Publish these plans in your local newspapers/internet and let the public know your plans so that they can create their own plans to coincide with the local governments.

  14. I would make sure all local schools’ classrooms and buses were equipped with lockdown/preparedness kits and have some training for the school staff members on how to handle disasters, etc. Also send kids home with info packs about preparedness to hopefully get their parents involved (if not already).

  15. I would get funding established to use for equipping all local classrooms and buses with preparedness/lockdown kits and for training school staff members on how to handle disasters etc.
    Also to send preparedness info kits home with the kids hopefully to help get their families onboard (if not already).

  16. if i were an elected officer in my town i would push very hard on the issue,s of drinking water and sanitation for the township area. as i am living in a drought driven area i can relate to this issue. we cannot survive without water and sanitation can quickly become a dangerous situation. where i live our city council has waited down to the last minute to do something about our lake which is our water source drying up. now they want to build a septic filtering center for our drinking water. without water we either have to move someplace else or die, it,s that simple!

  17. I would systematically purchase storable emergency food supplies in schools and/ or other public buildings for sheltering people and feeding before Red Cross or other relief agencies arrive. Would also consider building a municipal tube ice plant as part of the water department to manufacture a supply of ice to people in stricken areas . The plant may get wiped out in a disaster, but if built to withstand one at the outset, a good chance that it can be made to operate with generator power.

  18. I would declare a City Preparedness Day and have the different city departments each have info. on what to do in case of a disaster. This could be held at a city community center or a park.
    The Water Dept. could have info. on how to purify water, safe ways to store water, etc.
    The Sanitation Dept. could give info. on how to handle human waste safely, use of chemical toilets,
    outhouses, etc.
    The Fire Dept or EMT’s could hand out a list of items in a first aid kit and demonstrate splinting or makeshift stretchers, how to identify heat stroke, etc.
    The Power company could give information on alternative energy/lighting, etc. Safe use of candles, lanterns and generators.
    Local Boy Scouts could demonstrate making a fire.

  19. So many great ideas! Makes me sad that I don’t see these things being done in my own very small town. I like the ideas that focussed on educating the public – preparedness fairs, pamphlets available in lots of places like the county tax assessor’s office, the one grocery store, water and electric agency offices, and the local churches. I would emphasize the need to store at least a few days of water and BOB in anticipation of wildfires, which pose the greatest natural danger in our area of Central Texas.

  20. I am a CERT qualified instructor. Unfortunately no one seems to think any degree of community preparedness is necessary in my area of Georgia. If I were an elected official, public safety would be a priority. By brining all the “players” in the community together, I would put together a response team that included business, churches and community organizations. I want to have roles and responsibilities hammered out, rehearsed and publicized.

  21. If I were an elected official, I would start by informing the general public about the need to be prepared. Also holding drills so the first responders school officals, police and other officals would know their roles and inform the public. I live in a small community so I would finding funding for an alternative power source like windmills. Giving instruction on gardening, sanitizing water and first aid would also be a priority.

  22. Wow I am amazed at all the great ideas that everyone has given. After reading them all I have to admit that I can not follow with any better idea than whats already been submitted. Honestly, in my opinion, Olivias idea is a great idea that seems easily implimented and probably the best way to get the community involved and ultimately more prepared as a whole. Plus the idea isnt area specific so its a great basic start for any location. Bravo Olivia my hats off to you. I know its a random winner but my vote is for Olivia.

  23. If I were an elected official, I would focus a lot on individual education and training programs for the general public. Making more people aware of what can potentially happen and giving them the knowledge and skills to survive on their own when it does happen.

    FEMA is a good tool to have at our disposal when it comes to small, localized disasters. When tools, equipment and help can be brought in from unaffected areas, but even then it can’t respond fast enough (we saw that with the recent hurricanes). Individuals need to have the skills, knowledge and supplies to take care of themselves and their families until FEMA can arrive in the small disasters. But more importantly, they need that knowledge and skill for when FEMA isn’t coming. For when the disaster is so big that it sets this country back 100 years or better.

    If everyone had food, medical supplies, knowledge and equipment to live like the pioneers did many years ago. The odds of more people surviving the initial disaster would be greatly increased and the fear and violence that is sure to follow a disaster would decreased exponentially. Can you imagine what a different outcome any disaster would be like if everyone effected had prepared and trained for it?

    • If I was an elected official I would set up various community education programs and workshops and ask for those who have knowledge in various areas of preparedness to share their info with others. A hands-on experience is an excellent way to get the word out.

  24. I would work with my first respondors but morewith neighborhood watch and community watch groups. Survial in a SHTF situations will come down to people helping people and neighbor helping neighbor. then on up the chain to communities coming together. I would also encourage all people to learn at least one skill that would be beneficial in a world without electrical devices or that is being supplied by the government

  25. If I were an elected official, I would contact FEMA, the Red Cross, the local fire, EMS and police departments, stores and other entities that are involved with the area in which I am elected. I would also invite mayors, city council members and church leaders from other cities and towns who would be involved during a disaster in our area, who would possibly open doors for our evacuaees, survivors and victims during any type of evacuations from our homes. Then I would conduct a Preparedness/Survival Expo with actual programs, speeches, booths from each entity, and invite the governor of our state to make an appearance as well. We need not only to be involved in our own community, but at least be aware of other cities, towns and small communities in and around our state who would come together to help each other in a time of need. As an elected official I feel it would be my duty to make sure that surrounding areas as well as my own, would be informed of knowledge, skills and abilities to enable all of us to help each other if the PHTF….(poop hits the fan!!!)

  26. If I were an elected official, I would do what I see some of my elected officials doing. A local chief of police regularly gives classes to train people in firearms safety. I know ministers who advocate being prepared and openly encourage their church members to put away extra for themselves and to help others and have opened the basement of the church as a shelter in the case of storm. I am continuing my preparations by learning to can food, got my treadle sewing machine oiled and ready to use in the loss of electricity, have an extensive first aid box filled and ready for use, just learned today how to make a rocket stove for cooking outdoors, and have purchased enough food to feed my family for 1 yr. Our household is armed and ready to try to protect ourselves and those who will come to our house to wait out a major disaster.
    Thank you for your frequent articles encouraging us to not rely on others, but to be ready ourselves.

  27. I would have an Annual City Preparedness Day. I (and any other civic officials I could rope in) would pose for the local paper with our bug out bags and/or in front of our emergency food and water supplies -72 hour minimum as per FEMA to prevent drawing federal attention as a possible hoarder and enemy of the state. The article would announce a contest for school children to submit a photo or short written submission of an emergency plan of any nature with numerous small prizes – flashlights, whistles, food bars etc and several larger prizes either donated or paid for by the city. The paper could print follow up pictures of the happy winners with the best submissions.

  28. I would organize a committee whose main focus was on disaster preparedness. They’d have to have a public community meeting once a month to educate citizens on their findings.

  29. If I were an elected official I would work on increasing both the awareness of being self reliant as well as improving the overall perception of preppers. trying to show that it is a lifestyle that helps in a time of emergency and away from the stereotype bunker/anti-government mountain man. Being prepared is a wise choice for everyone and I would do what I could to help raise the awareness of this life saving mindset.

  30. If I were an elected official in my community I believe I would have to educate my constituents, the more information the better. CERT is a wonderful way to educate they offer free classes and give free tools to help. MRC medical reserve corp is another program with CERT. as well as fire corp. I would involve local schools, churches, businesses and the general public of the plan should a disaster occur in our community so that every one had knowledge and get all able body people involved and assign small parts to each eg: help with neighbors that are unable to help them self sort of a buddy system. the best resource we have is each other. I would make sure our community had resources like food and water and medical supplies stored enough to help sustain our community until larger govt officials could bring in more. i would send out monthly letters or place notices in local papers keeping the community up to date on plans of action and monthly meetings. i would tell the truth about funding situations and ask the community for there thoughts and get there input. because we all know a plan of action is only as strong as the people who are involved in it. so the more people involved the stronger the plan. i would also have several reenactment days so people in the community could see and implement there skills and learn how to help in the event of any disaster or emergency. I still recommend each person have there own personal plan as well as getting involved with there local CERT group and recommend each person to contact your local officials and find out what the plan is for there community should a disaster or emergency arise in your community.

  31. What would my one tip be for a successful food storage.. go slow.. If you eat ten cans of beans a month then buy 20 and when you get to the ten can limit buy twenty again.. do this will all your products.. you can drop that amount to to satisfy your grocery costs as well.. then once a month add one dehydrated product. before you know it you will have your years supply of food and water. I have found that people that attempt to do it all at one time get discouraged because they get overwhelmed with the magnitude and cost but if you take it slow it will appear in short order.

Leave a Reply