Living and breathing preparedness is hard work and so, when the day is done, it is nice to kick back and think about something else. It is for that reason that a few months back, I personally took a break from survival fiction and immersed myself in popular fiction and adult coloring instead.
A few weeks ago that changed. A new crop of really excellent books crossed my desk, and I was once again hooked. One of those books was the novel, Without, by E.E. Borton. It gives me pleasure to introduce his work to you as I share an exclusive interview and offer up three print copies of his in a book festival giveaway.
An Interview with E.E. Borton, Author of Without
Tell me about your book. What is it about?
WITHOUT is a cautionary tale. The apocalypse came as a whisper, but didn’t stay quiet for long. Everything that produced or stored electricity stopped working at 8:13. Along with the reason why, they’re all still waiting for 8:14.
He was better prepared than most and paid attention to the signs that something wicked was coming. When it arrived, it took less than twenty-four hours for Atlanta to descend into chaos and anarchy. He had a plan and a place to go. The city didn’t care about either.
WITHOUT has been described as dark, graphic, and disturbing. Some may think those reviews are harsh. I don’t. For me, it means I did my job.
What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?
This is one of my favorite questions that’s asked the least. I believe some people think there isn’t much research involved in creating a fictional story. Nothing could be further from the truth. My research started long before the first chapter was written and continues to this day. This is a series, so the research won’t end until it does.
I’ve written a novel about what the world would look like without the ability to produce electricity. The research for that aspect alone was extensive. I started with the basics and needed to learn how it was produced before I could take it away. And when I did, I had to build the environment in which the characters would navigate.
There are 7.5 billion people on the planet. 1.2 billion of them live without power. I’ve traveled to many third world countries and have witnessed their daily struggle to survive. It intrigued me to think about how the population of our country would survive if electricity was taken away…forever. Life for those who never had it wouldn’t change much at all. Ours would be turned on its head.
Research is key to creating a believable story that takes place in an unbelievable environment. If I’m featuring a steam train in a chapter, I have to write it as if a locomotive engineer will read it. If my character is planting seeds, I have to write it as if a gardener will read it. If I’m writing about how much ground an adult male can travel on foot with forty pounds of gear on his back, I have to walk it. Anything less and the reader will know you’re full of crap.
How long did it take to write?
From first outline to final draft, it took me three months to write WITHOUT. After my editor finished with her wicked red pen, it took me another month of re-writes before it was ready to release.
Every book, fiction, and non-fiction includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading your book?
The answer is in the question. Hope. Never give up hope.
Without it, why even bother trying to survive? We prepare for the worst, but always hope for the best for the ones we love and for ourselves. My novel forces the characters, both good and bad, to adapt to a world plunged into darkness due to a catastrophic global event. It pushes their humanity to the breaking point, and their morality to the edge of that line between good and evil. Which way they step is up to them. Just as it would be for us in a similar circumstance.
Hope is the reason why we prepare. We hope our families will weather the storms. We hope that what we do now will bring comfort, stability, and peace of mind while those unprepared are forced to scavenge, beg, and steal. We hold on to the hope that no matter what happens, we will survive.
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I was born in Norfolk, Virginia and raised in a military family. I didn’t keep count, but according to my sister, we moved seventeen times until our dad retired from the Navy. She’s a lot smarter and has a better memory than me, so I believe her.
After graduating school, I served in Naval Intelligence for four years and then returned to service for another two after 9/11. The experiences and the travel were phenomenal and I enjoyed my years in the Navy, but chose not to make it my career.
I did choose to work in the rescue helicopter industry for thirteen years before embarking on the most challenging career of my life. Writing novels. (Sometimes I think it would’ve been easier becoming an astronaut.)
I’m still tethered to the helicopter world and consulted for a rescue service in Port-au-Prince, Haiti for the past year and a half. If you want to live in a real-world SHTF environment, there’s no better proving ground in our hemisphere.
As an author in the survival, prepping, self-sufficiency or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?
I’m preparing to feed, shelter, and provide security for my family during any event that would threaten their safety and way of life. It doesn’t matter if it’s a freak snowstorm, blackout, political unrest, social anarchy, or an EMP, I want to be able to take care of my family without relying on government/city assistance.
As with most of us, our environment dictates how we prepare. I live in a comfortable home in suburbia. My prep is based on utilizing my familiarity with my home, neighbors, and community during an event that hopefully leaves it somewhat intact. But if the time comes to abandon ship, I’ll also be prepared to take this show on the road.
What would be your first prep-step if you were just getting started?
I recommend getting started by assembling a simple 3-day home kit. Light, food, and water should top the list. When the power goes out at night, you need to be able to see where the food and water are kept. Stage flashlights in several different rooms with spare batteries beside them. Don’t rely on candles or oil lamps. Unattended open flames and the inside of your home don’t mix. (I carry a small, bright, tactical flashlight on me damn near every waking moment of the day or night.)
Don’t rely on the food in the fridge or the pantry as your 3-day supply. Whether it’s soup in a can or dehydrated stroganoff in a Mylar pouch, store it somewhere else and don’t use it until you absolutely need it. That’s how your 3-day supply will expand to a 7-day supply, and so on as your budget dictates. The same goes for water. A few gallon jugs stored with the food will stay fresh and drinkable for as long as your comfortable leaving it there.
After that initial prep, you’ll start thinking about the next steps naturally. Now that you have the food and water, it would be nice to heat it if the stove dies. A small burner and a couple canisters of propane stored with the food may be next on your list…right after a spare can opener.
Trust me. Two is one. One is none.
What movie do you think gives the best portrayal of what could happen?
The Road. It’s my favorite novel by Cormac McCarthy and subsequently one of my favorite movies. I wouldn’t call it an action-packed thriller, but I believe it shows how far a father will go to protect his son.
I’ve always said it isn’t the looter or gang banger I’d fear most in a post-apocalyptic world. I would fear more the father looking to feed his starving family.
Do you have plans for another book?
Always. I’ve finished WITHOUT II – The Fall, and currently writing WITHOUT III – The Winter.
Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
Backdoor Survival is a great resource for preparing yourself and your family for a multitude of situations. I can’t thank Gaye enough for including my novel in her Prepper Book Festival. It’s an honor to be featured with such a knowledgeable, professional, and wide-ranging group of authors included in this event.
E.E. Borton has reserved three copies of his book for this Book Festival Giveaway. Leaving a comment is options but if you choose to do so, the giveaway question is the same question I ask the authors:
Have your thoughts about what you are preparing for changed since the first of the year?
The deadline is 6:00 PM MST Tuesday with the winners notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winners must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.
Note: Due to customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to individuals with a mailing address in the United States.
The Final Word
Finding quality fiction in the post-apocalyptic genre is not as easy as you might think. These days it seems as though a new title is released daily, if not hourly, and many are a complete waste of time with undeveloped characters and the lack of details that will educate as well as entertain.
In my opinion, the key to good writing, be it a book, a news story, or even a blog post, is accurate research coupled with actual experience. To paraphrase what E.E. said in his interview, “Anything less (than credible research) and the reader will know you’re full of crap.”
For more information about the books in this latest book festival, visit Prepper Book Festival 14: Books to Learn, Prepare, and Be Ready for Anything.
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Spotlight: Without – A Survivalist Novel
The apocalypse came as a whisper.
Mother Nature had been sending signs for three years, but most didn’t pay attention until she pulled the plug on everything. Nobody will forget where they were and what they were doing at 8:13 on that morning. They’re all still waiting for 8:14. Well, at least the ones that have made it so far.
He was stuck in Atlanta traffic, making his way to work, when the world fell silent. His car, his radio, his phone, his watch, anything that needed a spark, a battery, or an outlet died. As aircraft fell out of the sky, panicked drivers lost control in the fast lane, and pacemakers stopped keeping their rhythms, he got out of his car and popped the trunk.
Most didn’t pay attention, but he did. And he knew what was coming.
A frequent question I get on Backdoor Survival has to do with healthcare matters when there is no doctor around. This is the definite source of survival medical information for all Prepper’s and is my go-to bible for survival medicine.