Back in September 2013, I had the privilege of reviewing James Wesley, Rawles’ New book, “Expatriates - A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse” the fourth in the Patriots series, in hardcover. Book Reivew: Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse
Recently I received a copy of the "paperback edition" in anticipation of its release September 30, 2014.
As I looked at the art work on the cover, I turned the book over and was I ever surprised! There in bigger than life letters – okay maybe not bigger than life – but they were yellow and in all caps - was a quote by me from my original review of Expatriate a year ago. And it was before for the #1 New York Times Bestselling Author! I couldn’t believe it! Me?
What is so amazing about this is any of you who have heard me speak in public, I share the frustration I had when I initially began my preparedness journey. The preparedness website I had been frequenting to learn more about being prepared used a lot of acronyms and, military and weapons talk. I literally spent more time researching what those acronyms meant, or a term or phrase than I did learning. So, I decided to create my own website and discuss the same things as this site - only in easier to understand terms. And www.SurvivorJane.com was born. But what is so neat about all this (yes, there is a neat part) I have now come full circle because it was actually Jim’s website, www.SurvivalBlog.com that I was referring to. Now, I’m being quoted on the back cover of one of his books! How cool is that! “You like me!” (… said in my best Sally Fields voice.)
Okay, off my soapbox and down to business. This time around, I was given the opportunity to personally ask Jim (that’s what he likes to be called) a few questions in anticipation of the release of the paperback version of Expatriates – which by the way is no easy task given all the questions I wanted to ask but only had a narrow window of opportunity.
SJ: What I love about this series is you can pick up any of the books and not be confused as to a person, place or location because you have them are taking place in pretty much the same general time frame. How did you decided on the geographic locations for this series of books and why?
JWR: I wanted all of the novels to focus on the same traumatic near-future time period, rather than showing the same characters farther and farther into the future. This gave me opportunity to write about people who come from a great variety of economic levels and a great diversity of life experiences. Some of these characters are logistically underprepared but spiritually and psychologically well prepared for The Crunch. And by showing different geography, population densities, and climate zones, I had the chance to address a lot of different survival techniques.
SJ: The Patriots novel series includes not only a storyline but fascinating tips, suggestions, tools, materials, and defensive maneuvers that can be used should something catastrophic happen in our own lives. When I first read Patriots as someone new to preparedness it was like reading a preparedness-manual. How do you come up with these ideas?
JWR: Many of the tactics, techniques, and technologies I described came from my experience as a U.S. Army Intelligence officer. But readers of my daily blog suggested a surprising number of the ideas. There are more than 320,000 unique visits to the blog each week and the collective knowledge that represents is tremendous!
SJ: Patriots was released in 2009, on the heels of the H1N1 pandemic scare. I learned about the importance of elderberries and their benefit to our immune system from you during this time and have since planted numerous elderberry bushes to make tinctures that I store. Today, we are dealing with the potential of an Ebola pandemic. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations to prepare for such an event?
JWR: My main advice is to be prepared to live in isolation for an extended period of time—perhaps for as long as a year, wherein your family will have NO face to face contact with outsiders. That will require a very deep larder and an independent water source. The current strain of Ebola seems to be limited to transmission via bodily fluids, including spittle. But if it were to mutate into a form that is transmissible via casual contact, then extreme self-quarantine measures would be needed. In that case you might have to hunker down for many months while waiting for the pandemic to burn itself out.
SJ: In your novel Expatriates a few of your characters are forced to flee to avoid being massacred by a radicalized Indonesian government. We could find ourselves in this same predicament if ISIS were to infiltrate our homeland. If this were to happen, do you think our military would abandon post and instead focus on caring for their loved ones?
JWR: Radical Islam probably won’t be a big “home-grown terror” issue within the United States for at least 50 years. But in Europe, some true trouble could come in as little as 20 years. The demographic shifts there are truly frightening. I am more concerned about power utility workers not showing up for work, in the midst of a crisis. That is the more immediate threat, because we have become so dependent on the three U.S. power grids.
SJ: I am a former central Florida girl and was amazed at how accurately you portrayed Tavares. Did you spend time in Florida, and if not, how did you obtain your information?
JWR: I’ve never traveled to Central Florida. Most of that detailed information came from blog readers who live in and near Tavares and Mt. Dora. But a few of the geographic details came to me by way of scanning Google Earth.
SJ: I understand you are a “metals-man” i.e., you favor precious metals. I personally focus more on the basic needs of water, food, shelter and protection and then onto secondary items such as metals and barter items. In your opinion would a person’s geographic location factor in on whether to acquire precious metals in their preps or not?
JWR: Everyone will need food storage and water filtration. But beyond that, barter will be important, to make up for shortfalls in any items that you overlook. The closer that you are to Big City chaos, then the stronger your emphasis should be on acquiring common caliber ammunition for barter. That will be in much greater demand for the first year following a societal collapse. In many ways, lead is the ultimate precious metal. You can’t shoot a home invader with Krugerrand. (Well… I suppose you could with a slingshot, but gold coins make very expensive projectiles!)
SJ: Where do you get your inspiration for your books and characters? And secondly, do you write more than one book at a time?
JWR: I dream the adventures of many of my fictional characters. It is just a matter of writing those dreams down. I concurrently wrote the novel Liberators and the nonfiction book Tools for Survival. That made my life far too hectic, and I intend to slow down the pace of my writing in the next few years.
SJ: What exactly is an Expatriate in your opinion?
JWR: In the context of strategic location in the face of emerging global threats, an expatriate is someone who takes the initiative to move offshore to a safe haven. But I generally recommend it only for someone who has an in depth knowledge of local culture and language. Typically, this means marrying into a local family. Without that, you might just be seen as “the rich expendable gringo”, when everything falls apart.
SJ: Do you have a set length that you want your books to be and work towards that goal or do you write until you “feel” like the book is finished?
JWR: I generally set a target length for a novel, and work toward that. My latest novel Liberators is the longest book in the Patriots series, in part because I had so many details that I wanted to include.
SJ: What would your worst-case scenario be in today’s world for you personally?
JWR: For me, the worst-case would be a long-lasting series of strong X-Class solar flares that brings the power grids down for decades. That would trigger a massive population die-off and possibly even usher in a second Dark Age
SJ: I walked away from a corporate job in a big city and moved to a more rural landscape in another state. What are your thoughts on relocation?
JWR: I recommend that if people feel convicted to move to a more populated region that they do not hesitate. Make the move now. It takes years to settle in and gain the trust of your neighbors. It also takes a long time to build a retreat up to anything approaching true self-sufficiency. Large bearing fruit and nut tress do not brow overnight! And similarly, the learning curves for the many practical skills that you will need are steep. It will take years to study, learn, and hone those skills.
SJ: Jim, it has been truly an honor talking with you. Thank you so much for taking a little time to answer these questions!
Get your copy of "Expatriates" here:
Full circle ... hmmm.
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