CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Best-selling author and McDowell County native Homer Hickam Jr. was in Charleston on June 1 to talk about his new book, "Crater," and get people more involved in reading. He was there to help kick start the Kanawha County Public Library's "Reading is a Blast" summer library club. He spoke about his books, space and West Virginia.
"To be a good writer, you have to be a good reader," he said. "It's my opinion that reading creates different circuits in the minds of young people."
Hickam has been reading since before he started school. He would read whichever books his parents had gotten from their book-of-the-month clubs.
"I always wanted to write, and later on, I became interested in space."
Hickam began writing in the third grade, creating The Coalwood News, which didn't last very long. It was popular until he angered his mother with a story about a woman who fell into a creek while fighting a snake with a garden hoe.
That woman was his mother. She shut the newspaper down quickly after that.
At first, Hickam said his favorite author growing up was John Steinbeck, but then he changed his mind.
"I lied earlier. My favorite author is Homer Hickam," he said jokingly, adding that he loves to go back and read his own work and see how it is.
"It's a lot of fun to read your own stuff," he said.
His new novel, "Crater," is also his first young adult novel.