James Talmage Stevens, aka Dr Prepper, Interview with John A. Heatherly

James Talmage Stevens, Host

James Talmage Stevens (aka Doctor Prepper™) began his career in the preparedness industry from the days of his youth. His family lived with his Grandparents immediately following the end of WWII. He learned the basics on the Pace farm in rural Guilford County (NC). Farm chores and gardening were standard fare––plowing the back 40 behind a stubborn mule was substandard! In 1974, upon finishing graduate school with 4 young children and no prospects for a job due to economic conditions during a national economic slump, James reverted to his past experiences on the farm and chronicled in his notebook, along with some hand-me-down recipes from his mother and grandmother. Noting there were no viable books that dealt with all the basics, i.e.: a broad range of food products, he began to utilize his analytical skills, organizing handwritten notes, recipes, and food lore into one volume of information. He spent his spare time while job-hunting, and Making the Best of Basics was created. Before going to press, the subtitle Family Preparedness Handbook was added to distinguish Basics… from the emergency preparedness genre of the existing Civil Defense and governmental agency information.

Positive Survival Mentality & Self-Awareness, Author John A. Heatherly

(originally posted here)

John A. Heatherly began his study of wilderness literature early in life when his parents introduced him to the works of C.S. Lewis, Louis L’Amour, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

L’Amour’s novel, Down the Long Hills, a story of young children stranded in the wilderness, particularly sparked John’s exploration of wilderness survival, which included coursework at Tom Brown Jr.’s Tracker School and military service as a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SER) Instructor.

He has utilized “lessons learned in survival” in his career as a military officer, a parent, and as a Staff Writer at Grey Tactical Outfitters in Destin FL.

John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with an emphasis in Literature, and a Master of Arts degree in Information Technology Management.  As a military officer, he contributed to the protection of our freedom here at home and has deployed to the Middle East, though his most cherished accomplishments come through his relationship with his son, who recently celebrated his fourth birthday.

John’s books, The Survival Template and The Cave and The Sea, A Novel, are his contributions to the survival community as they teach the benefits of self-awareness and a positive survival mentality.

For more information about John’s work, please visit  and

The Survival Template is the playbook for life, and has as its goal to help determine (1) one’s attitude and (2) the deliberate objectives for one’s decisions and for personal success. Once the objectives are determined, the rest is taking the appropriate steps and accomplishing the necessary actions to arrive at the goal selected.

John tells the story about the 3-Day Ruck Rule. That rule recognizes that it takes 3 days to become accustomed to the load one carries.

John says that “attitude is the most important survival skill.”

He discussed the view of “The Stockdale Paradox,” which was exhibited by Admiral Stockdale during his long and arduous 8-year imprisonment by the North Koreans after he was captured, tortured, and suffered imprisonment in the vilest of conditions.

He has seen the success of survivalists work in their lives and for other people. John says he sees the concepts at play in his workplace at Grey Tactical Outfitters.

Learn more about John and the work he is doing at these websites:

You can get your own copy of John’s unique survival guide… through major bookstores, Amazon or from John’s website.

THE SURVIVAL TEMPLATE encapsulates a singular survivor’s mentality into a model that can be duplicated and personalized. The product of years of practical study of wilderness survivors, political captives, Prisoners of War, and more… This book is a force multiplier.

Some of the praise for John’s book is from survivalists, preppers, and luminaries in the preparedness industry.

“I don’t throw the term ‘life changing’ around lightly but this book has very likely altered the way I think, the way I plan and the way I see my future as I’ve laid it out.” –

“… aptly titled, it’s a template to train your mind, and I strongly recommend it.” – Dan Wolfe

“We need more books on the psychological aspect of survival, and ‘The Survival Template’ will make a good addition to your survival and prepper library!”- SurvivalBookReviews

“I highly recommend this book. It truly is a template for survival.  Everyone would benefit from reading this book and implementing Heatherly’s ideas into their lives.” – SurvivalBlog

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