Prepper Book Festival: Without – A Survivalist Novel

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: July 3, 2019
Prepper Book Festival: Without – A Survivalist Novel

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.

Without by EE Borton | Backdoor Survival

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.

The Giveaway

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?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

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71 Responses to “Prepper Book Festival: Without – A Survivalist Novel”

    • My prepping has changed some since the first of the year. My thoughts about what I am prepping for not so much. I think I am more apt to be hit by a hurricane, or tornado, than anything else. Flooding in my area is not a big worry. If hit by a nuke depending on where we are, I would prefer a direct hit if at all.

      My biggest problem is keeping things rotated.

  1. Prepping for the “usual”, EMP, financial crash, Nuclear accidents, all the fun stuff. Starting to think of “prepping” as an outlook/belief system rather than a “to do” list. I look at all endeavors in light of how they contribute or don’t to sustainability. We raise fiber animals, milk animals, have orchards and plant veggies. Don’t forget to own fishing equipement, for fun and protein aquisition! Don’t forget to have fun! e.

  2. My thoughts and preps have not changed. I still think it’s coming and I’m generally prepared for several options.

  3. Since the first of the year, I am now investing in learning short wave radio so I can communicate with others in case of a SHTF event.

  4. After reading your interview with this author, I immediately wanted to read this book. The first thing that caught my attention was the quote “two is one, one is none”. Our family lives by that premise and have for quite awhile. Secondly, I was impressed with his method of research. If you haven’t lived it or see it happening in real time, then it is just a figment of your imagination. Loved the interview. If not lucky enough to win a book, will certainly purchase one. Thanks for the review.

  5. I think our power grid is very vulnerable and Being able to survive will be a challenge in this era. I enjoy Survival fiction and this book would be a hope filled book.

  6. Prepping is continuous. My focus now is on organizing, inventory and filling the gaps. Always something to learn on your blog.

  7. I don’t think anything has changed much. I pretty much came up with a plan. Preparing for one thing at a time. Most probable first. Then moving on to the next thing. I now have food, water, light, fire, cooking capability, lodging if we have to leave, protection, tools, and so on the list goes. It wasn’t fast to get where I am but it feels good when the power has gone out for 11 days and we did well without it. Sort of a test run.

  8. I have to admit to becoming a bit complacent this year. Also, increased work responsibilities and new volunteer opportunities severely curtailed my time availability. However, watching the “zombie apocalypse” of rioters, looters, etc. that has recently overtaken our nation, I realize I need to get back into the game more fully!

  9. My opinion – this country could still derail with the new administration but I think the Dems were headed for the mother of all train wrecks.
    So now, with that weight off my shoulders, I renew my prepping efforts to have power, water, food, heat etc. without the electric grid.

  10. To anyone who likes this concept, I strongly recommend the “Dies the Fire” series by S.M. Sterling. It’s a complex setting, but basically all advanced technology fails, everyone (who survives the initial crash) ends up living at a medieval level, it’s fascinating.

  11. I don’t think I have changed what I am “prepping” for I’m just trying to refine what I will need to acquire and store for the family.Since I retired from working “outside” the house I have set myself a goal of getting the house reorganized and cleared out of extraneous “junk” by Christmas this year. Made good progress this last month. 12+ bags of things to charity and animal control, they took all my old towels for the animals, they are always on the look out for donations. So DH and I try to donate what we can as ALL of our animals have either shown up on my doorstep or come from the animal control people. My family swears there’s a neon sign over the house saying strays welcomed, LOL YEAH, I’m a BIG sucker when it comes to abandoned animals. They seem to know when one of our pets passes and will show up so I will take them in. All the bedrooms are done and set up for the sons and families to stay in. DH and I are planning on moving the laundry (washer & dryer ) to first floor so I can use the “laundry room” for food preps and storage. Have to get pantry and kitchen re organized next, sorry to say DH made a mess of it while I was still working. He keeps shifting things around the shelves and then say “I can’t find anything”, LOL. Am visiting Son 1 and family, just waiting for grand child # 5 so arrive. DIL is due 03/25 but as son’s kids are here, we are hoping DIL will deliver before the kids go back to their mother in AZ this Sunday

  12. My prepping is on the same scale this year as last year. I do feel less urgency to prep, though. With the new President, I have renewed hope for America and it’s leadership, despite the opposition.

  13. We seem to be prone to electrical outages in my neck of the country and it is always wise to be prepared for emergencies and hard times. You can hope for the best, but it is best to prepare for those unexpected snafus…because if life is anything, it is not all smooth sailing.

  14. My thoughts about prepping haven’t changed since the first of the year. I’ve always felt it was a good idea to keep extra on hand, and I get nervous if I don’t have some extra of most things.

  15. To some degree my thoughts for what I’m prepping for have changed since last year. But with this question I’m not sure they should have. In fact I think the sense of urgency should increase. The underlying economic pressure is still there. Unemployment is supposedly around 5%, yet 96 million are not in the work force in a country of 360 million. The numbers don’t jive. Retail sales is nose diving, Macy’s, Sears, Radio Shack, JC Penny’s all closing. This places tremendous pressure on real estate companies that own shopping malls.

    And also there is a visible movement to discredit the President at every turn. The country is divided, unlike any other time in history with the exception of the Civil War.

  16. My thoughts have changed only this way — “hurry, hurry”. I’m very anxious because I don’t have enough cash flow to increase my food stash as deep as I’d like it. The lunatic can put his finger on the button!

  17. Not really, but I feel like I have an increased sense of urgency to get the last few things on my list done. I am also a little more concerned about martial law.

  18. When I first started, I was looking at the big picture – EMP, economic collapse, etc. I had already prepared for local natural disasters (earthquake, flood, wildfire etc). Now I’m becoming much more aware of the other things that can happen locally because of the political/moral divisions in our nation. I live in a college town with liberal leanings but with conservative law enforcement – an interesting mix.

  19. Some of you are having an issue with your street address appearing as a comment. After hours of research and testing, I have learned that this is due to an auto-fill feature of your browser. It seems to happen mostly with Google Chrome.

    I have turned this feature off on my own computer and suggest you do as well. Here are some instructions (at the bottom of the page): //

  20. My thoughts have not changed. I was born into a prepper family and continued with my own family. You can prepare for anything, disaster or not. Sometimes it is nice to have extra stuff on hand.

  21. I am not prepping as hard this year. I just don’t have the same hours in a day/week as I used to have. I am not doing a big garden this year, either.

  22. I am not prepping as hard this year. I just don’t have the same hours in a day/week as I used to have. I am not doing a big garden this year, either.

  23. Giving much more thought to the political landscape and the potential violence which may ensue.More protection items for the family…

  24. I am making plans and have taken steps to secure a series of locations to bug out, this summer will stock them. The landscape in this nation-not just political, but general overall, is so scary. Anything sets people off. We are going to be ready, and the tools, tips and ideas we have garnered from Gaye and others posting will be very helpful!

  25. I way I prep has not changed since the first of the year. There is a lot more I need to do, but am trying to learn old skills like milking a goat!

  26. There is so much turmoil between countries right now, and even our own political parties, that I’m expecting something to ‘pop’ soon. Whether it is an EMP or roving bands of undirected, unhappy, unemployed hoodlums be watchful and ready to react.

  27. I live in Western NY and my preps mostly involve snow related situations. Every now and again I come across ideas to use in the next snow event. Not much changes from year to year.

  28. Still prepping in general with focus on EMP attack/loss of power grid as primary focus. Also increased concern over martial law. Otherwise, no major change in focus.

    P.S. I can’t wait to read these books — I live in the Atlanta suburbs! 😉

  29. My prepping has not changed but after the election, I feel I has some breathing room. I dont live as much in fear of our own government being what I need to prepare to survive from.

  30. Looking forward to reading your book. Just started over with my preps after house fire destroyed everything. It will take time to get back to where I was and more time to get where I want to be. Just have to keep working at it.

  31. I haven’t changed my plans any since the first of the year. Too old to make many changes. I just hope that what I have done is sufficient. Solar power, well 500 gallons of fuel for my oil furnace, outdoor wood furnace all make me sone what prepared—unless there is an EMT. If that happens, I will have to figure out how to rerig my solar panels.

  32. Since the first of the year, hubby & I have actively started looking for a house to buy, so my thinking about prepping has changed in that I’m looking forward to gardening in a yard instead of containers, having more storage for preps and building up supplies for a solid pantry (not enough room where I am now), setting up a rainwater collection system, and other changes involved in having a more permanent residence than I do as a renter.

  33. No, living in hurricane territory has not changed. Being prepared for most emergencies require basic items so I focus on those.

    • No changes since the first of the year, just continued to be prepared. Just because we have someone new in office in DC, doesn’t mean it is time to be slack!

  34. Now that it’s spring, we’re concentrating more on gardening activities. We’re also working on trying to organize all of the things we have and using equipment more often to become more familiar with it.

  35. I don’t think my thoughts have changed. There are times when I feel a renewed sense of urgency, but I am still preparing for the same reasons.

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