Summer is wrapping up...long days and warm nights will soon be traded for cider and autumn leaves. Before kids go back to school and the air gets crisper, here's some last-minute road trip inspiration from author Danielle K. Roux thanks to her characters and the trip they took in AUGUST PRATHER IS NOT DEAD YET, available where books are sold online now...
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas! You know this place. The lights. The copies of famous world landmarks. Cirque de Soleil. Probably a magician of some renown. Britney Spears? She still there? Oh, and casinos. Lyosha’s vice of choice (other than Britney) is gambling, which is why he selected Las Vegas for one of the stops. Little known fact, Lyosha once won and lost over a hundred grand within the span of ten minutes. Don’t try to beat his record.
Superstition Mountains, Arizona
These mountains really do exist, and you can go visit them to hike or bike or have a picnic or play the bagpipes or what have you. The legends Mitya relates about the demon camel and the other ghoulies and ghosties are also real. As real as legends can be. Meaning that they are stories people have told, not made up by me specifically for this book. The Happy Mountain Tours company is not a real thing, unfortunately, otherwise I would recommend going on a tour to find the location of the lost gold mine. Since it is not a thing, you’re on your own for the hunting. Bring lots of water and be safe.
St. James Hotel, New Mexico
The St. James Hotel is another place that can be visited if you want to seek out haunted, out-of-the-way, heavily modified former hotels of the “wild west”. I camped up the décor of this place with serious exaggeration. I doubt they have talking robots like at Disneyland, but who knows. Allegedly Jesse James, Wyatt Earp, and Davy Crockett all stayed here and killed a bunch of people during their visit. Not all at the same time, that would be fucking insane. Also, not the Davy Crockett of “king of the wild frontier” and dying at the Alamo fame. This Crockett was OG Davy’s grandson or something, and from all accounts, a not very nice man. Hence the killing people. I would totally stay here, seems fun.
Random Park with a River, Probably West Texas or New Mexico
This was not a specific place, but I have done some driving in the desert and it all has that that vibe of isolation and undiscovered beauty. Something that makes you want to stop being a person and start being part of everything in the world around you. Garnet often feels trapped in her identity and her body, so this is a perfect place for her to reflect and have an experience.
Post City, Texas
There actually is a Post City, Texas. I never stopped there, but it probably has that same small-town charm, like being slowly suffocated in a vat of saltwater taffy. But the residents are likely less terrifying than Miss Sally. Naturally, the gang has a wonderful stay here. No trouble at all. If I were you, I would keep driving.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Another famous place, you are probably aware of (see Las Vegas). Better than Vegas, but still touristy in places. A party town with an amazing history and romantic, spooky ambiance. This place is lousy with supernatural legend and lore, so much to choose from! Leave the Bourbon Street scene and see the cemeteries. They’re like parks with sculptures and built-in friends. Marie Laveau’s grave is nice any time of year. Maybe you’ll even meet a psychic kid to tell your fortune?
The destination on August’s road trip. Savannah is a weird old city once described as “a beautiful lady with a dirty face”. If you like that southern gothic ambiance and are not allergic to Spanish moss, give Savannah a try. It’s haunted af, which is fun. I wish I could have included all the ghost stories in this book, I used to know them all. I’ve had my one-and-only spirt encounter in this town – I heard a gruff man’s voice mumbling through the fence of the cemetery at night. No one was there. They lock the place up. But could have just been some dude messing with me. Who knows? It was the city cemetery not Bonaventure, where Garnet and August have their rendezvous. Other than cemeteries, Savannah has some lame new suburbs which may or may not have megachurches. They surely have at least one, right? However, it is not likely led by a violent megalomaniac. At least not a violent one.