I’m very excited that Wicked Walks creator Diane Rothrock agreed to an interview. I’ve interviewed quite a lot of haunted places authors, but very few ghost tour owners, operators, or guides. And I certainly haven’t interviewed any smart phone app creators. Diane is a combo of all of them: writer, ghost tour guide, and iPhone app creator.
She’s the owner of Rothrock Group, LLC, the company that produces the Wicked Walks line of ghost tour apps. I have every one that is currently out downloaded on my iPod. (See below for the full list of all the Wicked Walk apps.) I have only had a chance to review one of them so far: Wicked Walks – New Orleans. However, I have it on my long list of posts I want to write to review the others.
For now, though, I hope you’ll enjoy the Q & A between Diane and myself.
Haunt Jaunts: Why Wicked Walks? What inspired you to create these apps?
Diane Rothrock: Well, I was on a plane a couple years ago coming home from a high school reunion in Richmond, Va. I thought: isn’t there some small home-based business where I could work my own hours and write off my travel expenses? Voila! The first thing I thought of was starting a real (guided) ghost tour in Richmond, as there are some good stories around that area. Then my husband, who works for AT&T, thought of doing it as an app instead. I do all the research, writing, maps and photos (except Charleston, where my kids helped), my husband does the coding, and a college friend reads the narration. Obviously, it is a very small business!
HJ: I know in previous exchanges you mentioned your daughters actually helped you with Wicked Walks. I believe it was Charleston that your 13-year-old daughter wrote the reviews and some of the pictures your 10 year old daughter took were used in the app. Are they planning on helping with any others?
DR: My youngest daughter, Allison, has been dying to write up one of the stories. In particular, she wants to write up this story on a mean old gravedigger from Annapolis, MD. It is a great story and I can’t wait to use it, but just haven’t had the time to finish the Annapolis tour yet. I’m still working on a St Louis #1 cemetery tour for New Orleans, too.
HJ: Besides Wicked Walks, does Rothrock Group create other tour apps?
DR: We have just a few others: for Historic tours, I put together a Washington Monuments tour. No ghosts, but still some interesting anecdotes and history about the DC mall area. Then there are two Cocktail Zen tours, DC and New Orleans, which lead you to several interesting bars with notable cocktails. Finally, there are two Lucky’s bar crawls, NY and Philadelphia, which really are just that: bar crawls.
HJ: What’s one of your favorite ghost stories or haunted places from one of your Wicked Walks?
DR: Tough question! I really get in to the stories, and have many favorites. I guess one of the most interesting places I’ve been is Printers Alley in Nashville. The story is about a bar owner who got robbed and murdered, who is seen as a ghost walking with his small white dog. The alley and the story are pretty average. But – when I was there with my dad taking photos at dusk, I went in to the tiny alcove where the bar used to be. It was maybe 4′ x 4′, very small. I felt someone brush my elbow, and I turned to tell my dad there wasn’t much to see and we could go. Only my dad was still out in the street… Very odd, as there was a definite presence in the alcove with me.
HJ: This is a question I like to ask everyone I interview: When you travel, what’s one thing you absolutely DO NOT travel without?
DR: Warm socks! Even in the summer, you never know how cold that AC might be, or for that matter, what might be in the hotel carpet.
LIST OF WICKED WALKS APPS
Wicked Walks – New Orleans Haunted Bars
WICKED WALKS VIDEOS