Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Interviewing for the Cause Called Coalwood

Yesterday, today, tomorrow, and Friday are interview days, all aimed at publicizing the October Sky Festival in Coalwood, West Virginia, on Oct. 2, 2010.  Coalwood is the town where I grew up.  It was a pure company town back then, every house, fence, store, and church in the town owned by the coal company.  Every adult male living there had to work for the company, every adult female had to be married to a coal miner, and every kid had to be a coal miner's kid.  There were two exceptions, teachers and the preacher.  The preacher, however, was also a company man although on a 3-year contract.  That meant every three years, we had a good chance of changing religions.  We used to laugh and say we got the low-bid religion.

The first book I wrote about growing up in Coalwood was Rocket Boys which is now a classic and is studied in many school systems across the USA and the world.  The movie October Sky was based on that book and Jake Gyllenhaal played me in it.  That was a lot of fun.  Now, there's a new Broadway musical called Rocket Boys being developed.  Go to http://www.rocketboysthemusical.com to read more about that and listen to some of the great music!

Anyway, I'm all over the radio stations, mostly in West Virginia and the surrounding states, inviting folks to come to Coalwood on Saturday and visit with the Rocket Boys, Randy Stripling (the actor who played machinist Leon Bolden in the film October Sky), Dreama Denver (widow of Bob Denver of Gilligan's Island), and many more interesting folks.  There will also be lots of music, food, and rocket-launching going on down at old Cape Coalwood.  To find out more, people should visit http://www.homerhickam.com and click on the page called Rocket Boys/October Sky.

In the interviews, shameless that I am, I also tend to mention The Dinosaur Hunter, talk about how I came to write my latest novel, and so forth.  It's all fun.  Here's a podcast of an interview I did this morning!


Monday, September 27, 2010

The Dinosaur Hunter

Intrigued readers have asked me what The Dinosaur Hunter, my new novel (out November 9, 2010) is about. I loved writing this book and I think you'll enjoy reading it, too. Here's a quick synopsis:

Life on the ranchlands of Montana comes with more than its share of trouble. The unique people who live and work on this untamed stretch of today's American West expect it – and some of them even enjoy it. One of them is Mike Wire, a former homicide detective who once worked the decadent hills and valleys of Hollywood. Having enough of the violence of the big city, Mike has retreated to a far corner of civilization to spend his days running the Square C Ranch and pining for Jeanette Coulter, its spirited but iron-fisted owner.

But Mike is soon to learn terrible things can happen beneath Montana's big skies, too. The badlands are home to more than horses, cattle, cowboys, and laid-back rattlesnakes. Just beneath the surface are the bones of a dinosaur family which could make a fortune for whoever gets to them first. When a paleontologist and his attractive young assistants arrive at the Square C to dig, Mike senses trouble is clinging to them like Montana mud. Once discovered, those bones won’t stay buried, and not everyone hunting for them is doing it in the interest of science. When a murderer begins to stalk the dinosaur hunting grounds, Mike has to combine the lessons he learned in Los Angeles with those of the Montana prairie to protect the people and the land he has come to love.

Yep, I'm entering new literary territory here to write about a world that has fascinated me for decades, drawing on my own experiences fossil-hunting in the Montana ranchlands and getting to know the remarkable people who live there. I like to think The Dinosaur Hunter is similar at least in spirit to the novels of Larry McMurtry and Tony Hillerman while also paying tribute to the modern American West and the attitudes that still make it such an incomparable and rich part of the country.

To read a chapter and see more about The Dinosaur Hunter, go here:  http://www.homerhickam.com/books/dino.shtml

So... get ready. The Dinosaur Hunter has strapped on his backpack and is coming your way!