Today I share the second author interview in the Backdoor Survival Book Festival. Lance Long, the the author of BOCA CHITA: Prepare-Escape-Survive shares his answers to my questions and is also providing one of my readers with a free copy of his book.
Before we begin, I would like to announce the winner of last week’s giveaway. “Pocono-pat” has won a copy of Contact!: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival. Congratulations! A will be contacting you be email for mailing instructions.
Here is why Pat wanted to win a copy of the Max Velocity book:
“I would like to win this book as we live in an urban area close to the downtown area next to low income apartments. We are unable to leave when the SHTF because of family health reasons and need all the help we can get to prepare. We are doing all we can but would like the extra help that I am sure your book would provide. Thanks for being there to help us.”
Be sure to check out the details of this week’s giveaway below.
A Chat with Lance Long
Tell me about your book, Boca Chita: Prepare. Escape. Survive. What is it about?
My novel, Boca Chita: Prepare.Escape.Survive. is a post-pandemic survival story set in Florida’s Upper Keys in the very near future. My primary character, Mark, a retired boomer with a powerful survivalist streak, manages to avoid contamination from the NÖEL virus that was released worldwide by terrorists on Christmas Eve. Within three days, 99.9% of the world’s population succumbs.
He escapes in his liveaboard trawler to Boca Chita Key, an uninhabited island seven miles offshore from Miami, where he uses his wits, resilience and mechanical know-how to establish a homestead as a self-sufficient hermit. As South Florida and the Keys suffer post-NÖEL catastrophes, spawned by nature but worsened by the shortsighted undertakings of the historical heroes and villains who developed the area, Mark faces his first challenging year with only the companionship of a fellow shipwrecked survivor, his dog Shadow, in a world where all the rules have been abandoned.
In his journal, Mark reflects on watching the weather, observing animals, harvesting the gifts of the sea, and sowing and nurturing a kitchen garden. He interacts with animals: dolphins, alligators, snakes, manatees, stingrays, crocodiles, and jellyfish, and with people: Cuban rafters, Haitian boat people, smugglers, slavers, coke whores and the last Navy SEAL.
Boca Chita is an amateur’s guide to hot-wiring boats & cars, breaking & entering, false imprisonment and misdemeanor manslaughter. It also celebrates the mundane: bicycling, baking bread, doing laundry, and working: fitting-out, running and maintaining boats, building, and the satisfaction of making successful repairs. The first anniversary of the terrorist attack comes to a close with a gathering of a small band of immune survivors, setting the stage for the creation of the community of New Islandia.
Boca Chita is about a careful and thoughtful man achieving equipoise as custodian of his “green” island hideaway, and how he overcomes his isolation and takes the next steps.
What type of research did you have to do while writing Boca Chita?
My research for this trilogy of novels has been both academic and experiential.
I’ve read everything I can find about Florida’s history including the often misguided efforts of the schemers, scammers and scalawags. Weather played a major role in the development of Florida, and I uncovered and recorded lots of detail about man’s many futile attempts to control nature.
Much of it is public record. I’ve tried to incorporate how the unique indigenous and exotic plants and animals have impacted my environment. Of course, my forty plus years as a boater have all shaped my vision. My books are Florida love stories.
How long did it take to write?
I spent several years reading and researching Boca Chita and made an initial start in 2010 that lasted about six months. When I returned to the novel in the fall of 2011, I was able to complete the first draft in about six weeks. With the help and guidance of my good friend and editor, Janet Doyle, I was able to produce a finished version by March 2012.
Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading Boca Chita?
Boca Chita is a post-pandemic survival story…or about getting a second chance to return to Eden…or about surviving in paradise.
Perhaps the message is that with competence, resilience, and self-reliance, a dedicated prepper can build a comfortable life with fresh water, unlimited food, and luxury shelter when the world as we know it is gone forever. Another theme touches on the history of the Upper Keys islands and the heroes and villains who have tried to change them, which becomes a parable about our inability to control the cleansing forces of nature—freeze, drought, fire, hurricanes and floods—that have the power to erase all trace of mankind.
Maybe it’s a guide to living alone and liking it?
Finally, Boca Chita is about how important it is for us to achieve balance as custodians of the environment, in this case, a “green” island hideaway.
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
After attending a New England prep school on academic scholarship, I worked my way through a Ph.D. in English using my carpentry, painting and masonry skills. My immigrant parents had eighth grade educations. In 1969-1970, I taught creative writing at the Mediterranean Institute in Deià, Majorca, where Robert Graves was my mentor. Later I taught English at the University of Florida and Maine Maritime Academy. I left the academic world in 1972 for life at Crescent Beach, Florida, where I planned to surf daily but ended up spending the next nineteen years as a residential, commercial, and industrial builder, real estate broker, and mortgage broker. During this period I was active in the St. Augustine Historical Architectural Review Board and purchased and renovated several historic properties in St. Augustine d’Antigua. My interest in Florida history later extended to the Florida Keys, where I’m a contributor to “Keys Historeum”.
After the failure of the savings and loan industry in 1989, I lost my entire real estate portfolio to foreclosure, but the experience gave me free time to research and write a 250-page book, Banking on Success, which became the training manual for my first seminar and resulted in $4 million in sales between 1992-2001. A second book, Live Longer, Younger, became the basis for a seminar on health and nutrition, resulting in sales of $500,000 in 1997.
Since 1991, I have produced, scripted, and starred in five half-hour television infomercials promoting my seminars, which ran weekly for ten years to 500,000 households. I presented more than 2,000 live seminars and workshops in 46 states and five Canadian provinces. Following 9/11, I closed my seminar business and began lecturing on supply chain security for the U.S. government in Canada and Mexico on behalf of DHS, CBP and the FDA.
By 2003, I had become a consultant, researching and writing a portfolio which has grown to more than sixty unpublished proprietary industry studies and business plans. I continue to write primarily on environmental issues: alternative fuels, solar energy, electric vehicles, bio-mitigation and sustainable aquaculture. My areas of interest and expertise also include: longevity through lifestyle, health & nutrition, national security, real estate investment, green construction and finance. My client base includes customers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Israel, Russia, India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia, and Oceania.
I have been married for forty-one years, and have a daughter with an MBA and a son with a Law Degree. My interests, highlighted in my novel, Boca Chita, are the environment, history, boats, dogs, Florida’s indigenous people, animals and plants, and gardening. I have cruised and traveled widely, including in the Caribbean, Latin America, the South Pacific islands, New Zealand, and Australia.
Unlike most academics, I’m a hands-on guy who can fly a plane, operate a bulldozer, or navigate a yacht…even more importantly, I can fix it when it breaks down and get everyone home safely.
Do you have plans for another book?
Boca Chita, the first book of the New Islandia trilogy, will be followed by Calusa Coast, which follows the parallel efforts of the New Islandia survivors and a group of Cuban Calusa Indians who are direct descendants of the Native Americans who have occupied the southwest coast of Florida for more than 10,000 years.
The final book in the trilogy, First Coast, takes place 100 years in the future and is set in northeast Florida in what is now St. Augustine, America’s oldest city.
Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
Preparing for the uncertain future involves much more than stockpiling water, food, and weapons and escaping to a bug out location; it is a conscious decision to change your lifestyle. You need to learn skills to survive.
Technical training and hands-on experience will keep you alive in the future. The virtual world will disappear when the lights go out. Get out there and start learning how to do stuff! Only the prepared will survive.
The Book Giveaway
A copy of BOCA CHITA: Prepare-Escape-Survive has been reserved for one lucky reader. You know how I like to make things easy so all you need to do to win is reply below in the comments area indicating whether you plan to bug out or bug in any why. A winner will be selected next Friday at random using tools on the random.org website.
The Final Word
For many, myself included, the thought of a global pandemic goes to the top of the list when it comes to TEOTWAWKI scenarios. If bad enough, drinking the kool-aid may be the only option. I am about a hundred pages in to Boca Chita and can tell you, it is a good read and thought provoking. Lance and his editor, illustrator and friend, Janet Doyle, have put together a compelling story of bugging out and self-sufficiency.
If you would like to read more from Lance, be sure to visit his blog, Boat Bug Out. In closing this week, I echo Lance’s words: Get out there and start learning how to do stuff! Only the prepared will survive.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
More from Backdoor Survival:
Survival Reading - Books for the Summer Book Bag
11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life - A Guide to 2012 and Beyond
The Burden of Truth and Knowledge
Eight Survival Lessons Learned from the Brushfire Plague
Spotlight Item: BOCA CHITA: Prepare. Escape. Survive.: A retired baby boomer with a powerful survivalist streak, manages to avoid contamination from the deadly NOEL virus, released worldwide by terrorists on Christmas Eve. Within 3 days, 99.9% of the world’s population succumbs. He decides to bug-out in his survival-prepared, live-aboard trawler to Boca Chita Key, an uninhabited island seventeen miles from Miami, where he uses his wits, resilience and mechanical know-how to homestead as a self-sufficient hermit. Wow, now if that does not head you under the covers with a flashlight to read with, nothing will!
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