Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What are you working on now?
I just finished Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company. It will be out in June, 2014. Next up is the epic legend of my parents and Albert, my mom's pet alligator.


back to top

2. Are you going to write any more books about the Rocket Boys?
I don't know. Nothing planned at the moment.


back to top

3. How can I get you to speak at my organization?
Contact Greater Talent Network at 
ekb@greatertalent.com or 800-326-4211. Another way to get to see me is to show up at the annual Rocket Boys Festival (www.rocketboysfestival.com). Also keep an eye on the What's New section on the home page of this web site and please sign up for our newsletter! It will tell you if I'm appearing anywhere nearby.

back to top

4. I want your autograph. How can I get one?
The surest way to get my signature is to buy one of my books and have me autograph it. My wife Linda has a little on-line bookstore that can make that happen. Please go to the home page and click on the white gift with the green ribbon. If you are a teacher/educator and would like an autographed photo for your class or school, please write us here: Linda Hickam, 4906 Whitesburg Dr. S., Box 16053, Huntsville AL 35802


back to top

5. How to you spell your name? It's Hickman, right? Or Hickham? How about Hiccum?
It's Hickam. H-I-C-K-A-M. Six little letters, that's all there are and they are arranged just this way and no other: HICKAM.


back to top

6. How about your first name? Is it Homar? Or Hiram?
It's Homer, as in blind Greek poet. If, however, you're from Coalwood or knew me at Virginia Tech or in Vietnam, you can call me Sonny or Flash.


back to top

7. I notice your first books you use the name Homer H. Hickam, Jr. Now you use just Homer Hickam. Why the change?
Computers got confused and often filed my name under Jr. or the middle initial. I gave up and went to the simplified name.


back to top

8. What has been your greatest accomplishment?
I hope I haven't accomplished it yet.


back to top

9. What writer do you most admire and why?
John Steinbeck. He had a positive outlook on life and had an innate sense of the goodness of people. He was also just a good writer who wrote about intriguing characters.


back to top

10. What is your favorite book?
There are so many I admire. If pressed, I suppose I'd say Steinbeck's "Cannery Row" but my reasons for loving it are not literary but personal.


back to top

11. As a writer, what has been the biggest hurdle you've had to overcome?
That too many people perceive me as an engineer or a scientist rather than a writer.


back to top

12. I loved the book title Rocket Boys. Why did they call the movie October Sky?
The short answer is Universal Studios marketing people got involved and they just had to change the title because, according to their research, women over thirty would never see a movie titled Rocket Boys. October Sky is an anagram of Rocket Boys. For the entire story, read From Rocket Boys to October Sky 


back to top

13. I want to work for NASA (or accomplish some other goal). Can you help me?
Yes. Read
We Are Not Afraid. It's filled with excellent advice for anyone wanting to figure out how to have a good life without fear and accomplish your dreams.

back to top

14. I see some differences in dates, even characters between the book Rocket Boys and the movie October Sky. Which is right?
The book is the true source. The movie got a lot of things wrong. Still, it's a good movie.


back to top

15. Which is the correct title for your first memoir, Rocket Boys or October Sky?
Rocket Boys. If you want to call the book October Sky, however, I have no problem with that. It's a good title, too. In all versions of Rocket Boys and/or October Sky, the words in the books are exactly the same.


back to top

16. Do you ever see any of the other Rocket Boys?
Yes, once a year at the annual Rocket Boys Festival in Beckley, WV. We're still very good friends.


back to top

17. What happened to your brother? Did you ever become friends?
Jim recently retired from the position of head football coach at a high school in Roanoke, Virginia. Yes, we are very good friends. We're brothers, after all!


back to top

18. How is your mom?
Sadly, Mom passed away in October, 2009, at 97 years old. She now eternally and joyfully walks her beloved beach at Garden City Beach near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.


back to top

19. Who are your personal heroes?
The greatest man I ever knew was my father. He was a brilliant intellectual who could do just about anything. He read voraciously and passed along that trait to me. During his years in Coalwood, he was probably the best mining engineer in the country even though he didn't have a college degree. My mother is my hero, too, because of her stubborn ability to overcome obstacles in life. The Rev. Richard of the Mudhole Church of Distinct Christianity was a hero of my youth, of course. Miss Riley, my chemistry and physics teacher at Big Creek High School was truly a hero. That's why she has become such an icon for teachers all over the world. The men and women who serve in our armed forces are my heroes of today.


back to top

20. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time is kind of hard to find these days. When I get a moment, I love playing with the cats or reading. I also swim, jog, and walk. I still love to scuba dive, too, but don't do that more than a couple of times a year. I also love to hunt dinosaur bones with Dr. Jack Horner in Montana.


back to top

21. Where do you get your ideas for your books?
The memoirs come from my personal experiences in Coalwood, of course. Torpedo Junction came from my years as a free-lance writer for a variety of diving and history magazines. Back to the Moon, the novel I published immediately after Rocket Boys, was wishful thinking. The Keeper's Son is based on the fifteen years of research I did for Torpedo Junction. It was natural that I would eventually get around to writing a novel using that research. The result was the Josh Thurlow series.


back to top

22. Can I send you a copy of my book manuscript?
No. I won't read it for legal reasons and because I simply don't have the time.


back to top

23. How much time does it take you to write a novel or one of your memoirs?
About a year, including research, but I'm going to try to speed that up a bit in the future. Too many books, not enough time!


back to top

24. How much editing is done to your books?
Very little, I'm happy to report. When I turn in a manuscript, I have honed it to as near perfection as I can. I am always willing to take the advice of my editor, however!


back to top

25. I found an error in one of your books. Do you want to know what it is?
No. I already know what it is. I've probably tried to get the publisher to correct it but have finally given up. We'll both have to live with it.


back to top

26. Where do you live?
Alabama and the Virgin Islands. I like them both for different reasons.


back to top

27. Help! Your book is out of print. How can I find it?
None of my books are out of print although certain kinds of bindings may be. If you absolutely can't find the book you want, contact Linda by clicking on the white gift with the green ribbon on our home page.


back to top

28. Which book of yours is your favorite?
The next one!


back to top

29. What is the best part of being a writer?
Freedom! I can go anywhere and still write.


back to top

30. I understand you're an amateur paleontologist. Will you write about that?
Already have! Please read
The Dinosaur Hunter.

back to top

31. Why don't I see your books advertised more? And why aren't they prominently displayed in book stores? And why do I never see them in airport book stores?
These are the very same questions I keep asking my publisher!


back to top

32. Do you have as much fun writing your books as we do reading them?
Yes!


back to top

33. My school is using Rocket Boys/October Sky as a reading assignment. How can I get information for my report?
First, read the book because watching the movie is not going to help you. The movie is good but it's not anywhere near the real story. Then go to the STUDENTS page on this web site. After that, it's up to you.


back to top

34. Did you really tell John F. Kennedy that we should go to the moon?
Yes. That story is in Rocket Boys/October Sky in the "A Suit for Indianapolis" chapter.


back to top

35. Does that mean you're responsible for the entire moon landing program?
Yes. Sort of. I don't know. Maybe. Read the chapter and make up your own mind.


back to top

36. Anything else you'd like to say to your readers?
Yes. I would like to say thank you a million times over for reading my books and recommending them to your friends and families!


back to top

Reading Groups
Students
Educators
Frequently Asked Questions
Other Writings
Gifts

Advice to Writers
Movies
Newsletters & Photos
Contact Homer

www.homerhickam.com
Copyright © 2006 - All Rights Reserved
All photos and content owned by www.homerhickam.com and cannot be used without permission

Site Designed & Developed by Cre8ive Web, Inc.
Home About Homer Books Rocket Boys/October Sky Homer's Blog