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!


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