For the past year I have found that when it comes to post-Apocalyptic fiction, there is a lot of sameness. Either the story lines have been told before or the writing is dark and oppressive to the point where I can’t get beyond the first twenty pages. Call it a personal quirk if you must, but I want to learn from survival fiction and to open my mind to possibilities and scenarios that could play out if “it” – whatever it is – happened to me. But I also want to enjoy the read.
It is the dearth of suitable titles that have prevented more fiction from appearing in these past couple of book festivals. For that reason, a couple of months ago I reached out to multiple book festival author, Kyle Pratt, and he suggested that I contact author Franklin Horton to see if he would be interested in contributing to a prepper book festival.
I am glad I did.
His book, The Borrowed World: A Novel of Post-Apocalyptic Collapse, grabbed me from page one and accomplished my reading goal of examining how I would act and re-act in a world where the laws of society no longer exist. The Borrowed World is book one of a series of 3 books and Franklin has generously offered three sets of the entire series in the book festival giveaway.
They include The Borrowed World, Ashes of the Unspeakable, and Legion of Despair.
Enjoy the interview with Franklin and then check in below to enter the giveaway.
An Interview with Franklin Horton, Author of THE BORROWED WORLD Series
Tell me about your book. What is it about?
My first novel, The Borrowed World, is the story of a prepper who is on a business trip with a group of coworkers when there’s a coordinated terror attack on the country.
The terrorists target the infrastructure of the country, including fuel refineries, bridges, dams, and vulnerable connections in the power grid. The result is a cascading systems failure event, which is a situation where one collapsing system burdens other to the point that they collapse too. With the refining capacity diminished, the president freezes fuel sales to the public through Executive Order, leaving this group stuck hundreds of miles from home.
While part of the group is willing to accept that FEMA will find a way to get them home, another contingent prefers to take their chances on the road.
The Borrowed World and the following books in the series are the story of that journey, along with the story of the main character’s family trying to survive at home without the man they trusted to take care of things for them. It’s a story of survival but also a story of family.
What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?
I have been interested in survival from an early age. As a teenager, I read Soldier of Fortune magazine and a lot of the survival magazines of 1970s and 1980s. I am an also an avid hiker, backpacker, and shooter. Those hobbies provided me with a strong background for writing these books.
As a result, most of my research ended up not being about gear and techniques, but about cascading systems failure and how society can begin to collapse when deprived of a few of the basic conveniences we take for granted.
Without fuel, we quickly lose food because the trucks aren’t running and the just-in-time inventory model collapses. Without food comes civil unrest and crime. Without power people lose access to information, refrigeration, essential medical devices. All of these issues lead to first responders being overwhelmed. Those are the things that I spent my time researching. The nuts and bolts of how societies crumble.
How long did it take to write?
The first book was written over a four month period on my lunch breaks at work. I had written some unpublished novels before so I knew what was involved in the process. I knew that if I could crank out one or two thousand words a day, I could have a book in a few months.
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 think the take-away from my books is that survival is more than information and gear, it’s about mindset. You can own all the gear in the world and you can take all kinds of training and classes, but developing a survival mindset is the difficult part.
I consider mindset to be adopting the attitude that there will be hardship and pain but you are going to survive because you are willing to make the hard decisions and live with the consequences. You may have to let other folks die so your family can live, you may have to kill people so they don’t come back and kill you later, you may have to turn away people wanting to take your food and other preparations – those are all cases where your survival mindset comes into play. It’s the difference between why some people lay down and die and other keep walking.
That’s part of why my book is about a regular guy and not a highly trained super-soldier. The point is to show that normal folks can have the mindset to get them through this type of event.
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I’m a native of southwestern Virginia but have lived in some other parts of the country over the years. I’m married and have two children. We do a lot of camping, kayaking, and other outdoor activities. I think those outdoor experiences are important as a basic entry into survival training. It teaches your kids not to be scared of the outdoors. They also get to practice fire building and outdoor cooking.
I live a preparedness lifestyle and try to always be learning new skills and techniques. And as a testament to perseverance, I wrote for over 35 years before hitting on a commercially successful project.
As an author in the survival, prepping, self-sufficiency or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?
I have two things that I am wary of. The first is weather events. My region has been struck by freak snow and ice storms before that have left people without power for weeks at a time. We are also close enough to the coast that hurricanes hitting the Outer Banks of North Carolina can sometimes impact our weather. So I think that weather preparation should be a basic event that everyone prepares for. If you cannot handle a few days without power after an ice storm, you’re really going to have a tough time if we got into a more catastrophic event that lasts even longer.
I am also concerned that rather than facing an immediate catastrophic event, we may fall victim to a slow slide into economic collapse like some European nations and like Venezuela. There won’t be a defining event after which things become worse but instead we begin to notice that each year is a little worse than the year before and that the things we’re used to buying are less available than they had been. In my region that’s going on now.
What would be your first prep-step if you were just getting started?
Learning the basics of food storage, with a goal of having enough food on hand to survive a severe weather event that may shut your local stores down for a few days. Set an initial attainable goal of something like two weeks of food and water. Then expand that to a month’s worth. Then six month’s worth.
As you push out further, your eventual goal would be to have a sustainable food supply that could keep you for years if supplemented by a garden and some livestock. Even most suburban homes could raise a few rabbits or chickens for food if times got hard. A lot of people get hung up on gear and guns. I know people with thousands of rounds of ammunition and only a few days of food storage. That’s not prepping.
What movie do you think gives the best portrayal of what could happen?
I’ve not seen any movies I felt were really accurate, although National Geographic’s AMERICAN BLACKOUT special seemed pretty realistic.
Do you have plans for another book?
I have released three books in The Borrowed World series so far which has made for a very busy year.
I’m currently at work on a stand-alone novel that should be coming out in July about a prepper dad trying to get his daughter home from college during a collapse event. I think anyone with children or family living any distance away from them will find this one interesting.
I hope to have the fourth book in The Borrowed World series out in the fall. That will be released by another book in the late winter/early spring that I’d describe as a terrorism thriller.
Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
Just that I enjoy interacting with my readers. They can follow me on my website — www.franklinhorton.com — where they can contact me, sign up for my mailing list, or read about my projects. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.
Franklin has reserved three sets of his Borrowed World Series (that is 3 books per set) in this newest Book Festival Giveaway. Good luck!
The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.
Note: This giveaway is only open to individuals with a mailing address in the United States.
The Final Word
I have always been a bit of a bookworm. Even when I was in grade school, I would hang out at the school library during recess. These days, with time to precious, most of my fiction reading is by audiobook. You would be surprised at how quickly you can get through a book that way.
While listening to The Borrowed World, I found my mind wandering into areas I had not visited in quite some time. If there were a catastrophic terrorist event and I was away from home, would I stay put and make do with my get-home-bag or would I try to hoof it. I came to the conclusion that weather conditions, the distance, my age, and the severity of the disruptive event would all play a role in my decision.
This is a decision I hope we never have to make. That does not, however, mean we should not consider the possibility.
For more information about the books in this latest book festival, visit Prepper Book Festival #12: The Best Books to Help You Prepare, Stay Healthy and Be Happy.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!
Spotlight: The Borrowed World: A Novel of Post-Apocalyptic Collapse
In a night of devastating terror, ISIS operatives have unleashed a coordinated attack on America’s infrastructure. Life as we know it in America grinds to a halt as the electrical grid collapses, communication networks are damaged, critical bridges and dams are destroyed, and major fuel refineries go up in massive fiery clouds.
When the government responds by immediately halting fuel sales to the public, Jim Powell finds himself in a terrifying predicament – trapped five hundred miles from home with a group of coworkers. With thousands of trapped travelers and scarce law enforcement, the miles between Jim and his family become a brutal gauntlet where the rules of civilized society no longer apply. As Jim puts his years of preparation and planning to the test, he is forced to ask himself if he has what it takes to make it home.
Does he have the strength — the brutality — required to meet this new world toe-to-toe?
Bonus: The author is also including Ashes Of The Unspeakable and Legion of Despair in the giveaway. These are books two and three of The Borrowed World Series.
Plus: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage
No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage. The eBook print version is available.