Everyone loves Forrest Gump but not everyone knows that before it was an award winning movie, it was a book. Written by Winston Groom, Forrest Gump was his fourth novel (published in 1986) and after its success, he decided to take a break from fiction.
“I think that every novelist of the kind of novels that I write has in them maybe one really good book, but the trouble with so many novelists is that they keep on writing novels even when they run out of ideas….So I was thinking, after the commercial success of ‘Forrest Gump,’ that I didn’t really have any ideas that really grabbed me.”
Groom has spent the past 30 years working on nonfiction. He has published books about both World Wars, the Civil War, the American West, the history of aviation, and the history of Alabama football. The idea that finally brought him back to fiction was from a story he heard from a friend. His friend’s family had a million-acre cattle ranch in northern Mexico that was attacked by Pancho Villa in 1916. According to his friend, Villa had the ranch manager sabered to death and then kidnapped his children.
Groom took this story and turned it into a novel called El Paso that takes place during the Mexican Revolution. The story follows a railroad tycoon on a manhunt across the High Sierras to rescue his kidnapped grandchildren from Pancho Villa. In similar fashion to Forrest Gump, the fictional characters of El Paso interact with historical figures.
Many of the events in the novel are based on history, with the blanks filled in with fiction. Groom’s fiction is true to the time period. He wants to entertain his readers, but also share information about what was going on in northern Mexico and the United States during 1916.
Sounds like a great read!
Will you be checking out Groom’s latest novel?
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