Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Road Trip!

Today, I'd like to welcome Rusty Rhoad, who has written about a road trip, with an Arthurian twist. I don't know about you, but I had to learn more. 

Return from Avalon (and Points West) is an adventure that starts in San Francisco as a simple see-the-USA road trip.  Described in a series of letters from Arnie Penders, mild-mannered used book seller, to his ex-wife. 

Of course the story isn’t about the road trip—it’s about a mystical journey away from reality that ends up smack in the middle of the Arthurian legend.  But still, it takes place on a road trip that goes through a lot of places that I’ve never been to.

Now everyone knows that the best way to research a road trip is to just take off on one.  Explore all the places you’re going to write about, then write it off your income tax.  But I was working as a chemical engineer and writing over lunch every day (you’d be amazed at how much you can accomplish if you spend one dedicated hour a day at it).  So . . . how do you research a road trip from the (dis)comfort of your own office?

I bought a road atlas, highlighted a route though lots of towns with fun names or symbols denoting places of interest.  Then as my hero and I travelled, I allocated a couple of half hour sessions each week taking an Internet road tour of those places.

Arnie is a witty, sarcastic observer of life; the object was to give him interesting and fun things to comment on.  So of course I ended up with about 50 times more colorful details than I could possibly use.  The world is full of amazing things.

The journey ends up at Hay-on-Wye in Wales.  A fascinating place, the original “book town.”  Dozens of used book stores.  After the 1st draft was finished, I had the opportunity to visit Hay-on-Wye while on a business trip.  Oops.  It was absolutely nothing like the impression I’d gotten from the Internet.  Some serious rewriting was required.

So now I have it on my bucket list to make the journey for real.  Maybe if the book sells a million copies, I can market it as a summer vacation getaway.  “Come travel Arnie’s route from San Francisco to Avalon.”  You’d sign up, wouldn’t you?


cutter said...

Awesome post! Excited about the book!

BW said...

I agree, this is an awesome post! The book souds great.

Angie Fox said...

I've always been a sucker for paranormals with a unique twist.

Rusty Rhoad said...

The next book (under contract, out this year) also involves a road trip. Not a pervasive theme; none of my other books have road trips. Anyway, this one starts in Dayton, Ohio and ends up on a cruise to the Caribbean. I need to follow that route too. Well, at least the last half. Thanks for the invite to guest blog. - r