BDS Book Festival – Rivers + Interview with Michael Farris Smith

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
BDS Book Festival – Rivers + Interview with Michael Farris Smith

When the time came to decide which book to include in the next installment of the current Backdoor Survival Book Festival, I went to my stack of books and picked out something I wanted to read simply for the pleasure of reading.  Given my huge library of prepping, survival and homesteading books, picking something to read for relaxation and enjoyment makes this a guilty pleasure and one that I do not take advantage of often enough.

With over ten books in the survival fiction genre to choose from, I selected Rivers: A Novel, by Michael Farris Smith.  Rivers is a story that describes what happens in the aftermath of over 600 days of recurring hurricanes and torrential rains.  Things are so bad, the map of the gulf coastline has been redrawn by the government and there is a new boundary 90 miles to the north.  Everything below that line is a no-mans land.  The book, so far, is a page-turner.

Rivers Michael Harris Smith - Backdoor Survival

Today I share an interview with the author, Michael Farris Smith,  who is also providing one lucky reader with a free copy of his book.  Enjoy the interview and be sure to check out the details of the s giveaway below.

An Interview with Michael Farris Smith

Tell me about your book, RIVERS. What is it about?

RIVERS is set in a time where the hurricanes won’t stop. The Gulf Coast has been abandoned and life below the Line, which is drawn by the government 90 miles above the shoreline, is violent and lawless and those that stay behind, stay at their own risk. It’s a devastated, marshy wasteland, no services and no electricity and no rebuilding, and the hurricanes keep coming. The story follows Cohen who has hidden himself away on family land in an effort to hold on to his dead wife and child, but when he’s attacked and left for dead, he sets out for revenge, unaware of the craziness that lurks out in the rain-soaked world.

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

Not much. I looked at a map every now and then to get distances and names correct, but I wanted to write this world in the way that I imagined, so I didn’t look at any footage or photographs of weather-destruction.

How long did it take to write?

It took about 18 months with the original draft, then another 6 months revising, so right about two years.

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

I don’t think too much about that, but I would probably say that RIVERS is largely about surviving, emotionally and physically, under the most drastic elements. So many times in the novel it would be easy for the characters to give up, but they don’t.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I’m from South Mississippi, right about the Mississippi-Louisiana line. I grew up in small towns, played whatever sports was in season, was in church all the time since my dad is a preacher. I later lived in France and Switzerland for some time before coming back to Mississippi. I’m married and have two beautiful little girls and an aggravating dog.

Do you have plans for another book?

Absolutely and I’m in the early stages of something new.

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

If you love the power of Mother Nature, you’ll love RIVERS.

The Book Giveaway

A copy of RIVERS has been reserved for one lucky reader.  Here is the giveaway question:

If your home became a no-man’s land, would you stay or leave?

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.  As always, the winner will be announced in the Sunday Survival Buzz.

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

The Final Word

We all need guilty pleasures and for me, reading survival fiction is one that I covet.  That and some of those M&Ms I call Backdoor Survival Tranquilizers.

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!

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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:  Rivers: A Novel

Following years of catastrophic hurricanes, the Gulf Coast has been brought to its knees. The region is so punished and depleted that the government has drawn a new boundary ninety miles north of the coastline. Life below the Line offers no services, no electricity, and no resources, and those who stay behind live by their own rules.  Cohen is one who stayed.

Eerily prophetic in its depiction of a southern landscape ravaged by extreme weather, Rivers is a masterful tale of survival and redemption in a world where the next devastating storm is never far behind.

Bargain Bin:  Today is all about books.  Listed below are all of the books in the current Backdoor Survival Book Festival. 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 Postapocalyptic Novel (The New World Series)
The Long Road: A Postapocalyptic Novel (The New World Series)
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)
Living Ready Pocket Manual – First Aid: Fundamentals for Survival


Emergency Essential Order Jul 2013_03

The monthly specials at Emergency Essentials feature discounts of up to 35% off sometimes a bit more.  I have a monthly budget and each month I add a bit more FD products to my long term storage – always making my selection from sale items.

There are a lot new items that are put on sale each month – be sure to take a look.

Note: I earn a small commission on your purchase making this a great way to support Backdoor Survival which will always be free to everyone.

Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials


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

The Amazon Top Ten Most Wanted Survival and Outdoor Items
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Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!


My new eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage will provide you with everything you need to create an affordable food storage plan, including what to buy and how to store it. Nothing scary and nothing overwhelming – you really can do this!  Now available at Amazon.


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.

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48 Responses to “BDS Book Festival – Rivers + Interview with Michael Farris Smith”

  1. “If your home became a no-man’s land, would you stay or leave?”

    I would prefer to stay, but if things got too dangerous I would do what I feel is best to keep my wife safe.

    Thanks for another GREAT article!

  2. I would stay because where I live is fairly isolated and there are abundant natural resources to draw from. However, if it became dangerous, I would leave.

  3. Where I live about the only disaster would be forest fire or chemical spill. Difficult to imagine it being declared a no man’s land. But, if it was and there was no threat of immediate death (like fire or poisons) then I would probably stay and defend what I have.

  4. If I was forewarned that the area was to become a “no man’s land”, sure I would leave. If it happened quickly and I was alone, I would leave. If it happened quickly and I had friends and family to help, I would stay.
    Like now. The chemicals from West Virginia is flowing down the Ohio. 2 days ago it was going past Cincinnati, yesterday it was going past Louisville, so I know Evansville will be today. I get my drinking water from the Ohio, just down river from Evansville. I am so torn about what to do. They are saying in WVa that the hospitals are receiving many people with skin rashes, now that the locals have been told they can shower in the water. We have in no way heard the last of this disaster.

    • I believe the best move is to have a preplanned remote site. Buy a small isolated cabin or something similar. I believe that if you stay anywhere in a reasonably populated area, you are prone to fail due to human nature and the abundance of people in any populated area. People will all try to survive and they will be after your resources. This will happen quickly in the beginning because most will not be prepared and will be takers.. After a while the takers will be thinned out by attrition and then the survivors will start to work together to increase the quality of life..

  5. Unless I had a strong network of fellow preppers to band together with (which is not currently a reality, though I would like to begin working on that), I would not stay. It’s not worth trying to save “things”, at the risk of my family. Hopefully, we would have enough warning to get enough of our stockpile out.

    • Gaye – don’t count this one!
      Jennifer – if they declare an area a “no man’s land” then they will be intercepting everyone who leaves the area and sending them to FEMA camps. So, it comes down to do you trust the uncaring government to take care of your loved ones, or do you stay (if possible) and defend your loved ones as well as your ‘stuff’ that you and your loved ones need to survive?

  6. If there were actually a safe place to go, I would leave. But that may not be the case. Due to health issues I may have to stay and do the best I could to survive.

  7. If it’s a dangerous, lawless, no-man’s land below a line on the map and life is (for the most part) somewhat “normal” above that line? Since I don’t have a fortress and numerous like minded Preppers to help me defend it, I don’t think just the two of us could hold out long in a lawless no-man’s land. I would be taking whatever I felt I needed and head for that more “normal” place. Doing the best I could to avoid getting trapped in any type of FEMA relocation camp along the way.

  8. I live by myself and I know I would not be able to defend my home with out help. At my age I would have to leave.

  9. I plan on staying put. I believe I can make life difficult for those intent on harm. Where I am is probably better than an unknown. I have enough space to retreat to that will make pursuit not worth the effort. There are more desirable targets between me and thee.

  10. I would like to think I would stay, but being handicapped and having an 84 year old mother, I probably would give up and leave.

  11. I would like to say my husband and I would stay since we are doing our best to fortify and already have food storage for a year and a way to purify water. However, we would have to review situation at that time.

  12. If I still had resources (water, game, etc), I’d stay put. Otherwise there would be no choice but to leave.

  13. If my home became a no mans land I would definitely leave. I would try to hold up as long as possible and leave if things became to unbearable. An assessment would have to be made and I would not wait too long.

  14. “If your home became a no-man’s land, would you stay or leave?”
    Since we live in a large metropolitan area (DFW) it would quickly become a very dangerous “no-man’s land”. Even though we have a plenty of resources here, and could more than amply defend ourselves and our home, I would rather not have to harm others if we can avoid it. We would probably leave and go to our remote bug out retreat. Much safer and less chance of the government herding us somewhere we do not want to be.

  15. I have 5 grown children and I’d consult with the family to determine the best thing to do. Hopefully we’d all come to an agreement whether to stay or go. We do have friends that we’d probably head for if we had to leave.

  16. I would probably stay and try and make it work. I’m not in the mountains, so there’s not many places I could go anyway.

  17. I would go to a different place – I still remember 3 mile island and the radiation that came in the wind from that – and that was one strong reason why I moved from there to New Zealand . . . I would do the same now, some 33 or so years later . . . . how time flies . . . bob g

  18. i guess i would stay and make a go of it for as long as possible. it must be very hard to have to make decisions such as this when you are responsible for other people other than yourself. every decision i make i have to ask myself what is best for my wife and then consider myself.

  19. I live on the Gulf Coast (14 miles in and on the bayou) in Orange, Texas…me and my family would HAVE to leave…as we already have been evacuating for hurricanes that hit this area for years. I’m right outside of Bridge City, Texas, where we had a 1 in 500 year flood that flooded every home in Bridge City except for 14. My house was fine, although the bayou is just a block or two away. My parents home flooded, my sisters homes were flooded as many others. I’ve ordered this book by way of NOOK for only $1.99 and can’t wait to get started reading.

  20. I believe we would try to stay. Out of all of our family, we live in the most rural area and we have neighbors who are liked minded in preparedness.

  21. I would try to stay, we are already in an area that would be considered a good bug out location. But if necessary and it became too dangerous we would leave.

  22. My answer would depend on what MADE my home a no mans land. Was it a chemical, biological or or nuclear disaster? If so, I’d get…but to where? If it is just famine, drought or fighting…that’s a maybe. We’ve been through droughts and used to live in the desert, so we know how to get by…if it were a sustainded drought leading to famine? Not sure. Neighborhood fighting? Not sure, depends on how defensible we’ve been able to make our property.

  23. I’m older and in poor health. I will stay as long as humanly possible. I don’t believe I would make it very far anyway. Sometimes no man’s land for one person would work for another person. It just all depends on what no man’s land meant.

  24. I would stay as long as I could. The exodus out of NJ would be horrendous! I have faith in myself & my family to be able to do what needs to be done to survive!

  25. It would depend upon the circumstances. Where I live if the New Madrid fault was to go we would definitely have to leave.

  26. It really depends on what happened to land us in a No Man’s Land. I’m most comfortable here, familiar with the geography and nature of the area, and so I would try to stay if at all possible. But that being said, i am not the defender type and if the area was riddled with violence, I would leave.

  27. I would stay. We live in a very rural area and would have a better shot at a happy survival here than relocated to a strange area.

  28. I think I would leave in order to try to keep my family safe…depends on WHY it’s considered a “no man’s land”. I love survival fiction =)

  29. I’d keep my home as a base camp but I would set out to explore and stock up on supplies while they are available.

  30. If my home became a no-man’s land, would I stay or leave? I would stay. I feel it is safer to stay even if there is no more people. I live in an area where we can hunt for food and I have room for a large garden. There is lakes and rivers near by to get water. So to be near a population I feel would be dangerous because more people who cannot take care of themselves can get out of hand. Being alone away from people would be safer.

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