‘Forrest Gump’ Author’s New Book Explores Pancho Villa and the Mexican Revolution

“The story itself – it struck me as something that cried out for tellin’.”

By Joy DiazOctober 6, 2016 11:29 am,

Winston Groom recently said “Every novelist has maybe one really good book in them. The problem is they keep writing even after they’ve run out of ideas.”

Groom is the author who gave us “Forrest Gump” in 1986. But after its release, he stopped writing novels – or so many assumed.

Many would argue it worked for Harper Lee, of “To Kill a Mockingbird” fame – one masterpiece and it’s over.

But Winston Groom, as we have since learned, was not done. Rather, he was busy writing a Texas-sized novel based around El Paso – the title of the new epic. But the story he tells in “El Paso” is not just about the city, it’s about a famous kidnapping that took place during the Mexican Revolution.

Groom, an Alabama-raised novelist and nonfiction writer, sheds light on his new novel and his thoughts on the Lone Star State.

On one of Groom’s visits to El Paso, Texas:

“One time I got off the train in El Paso and I asked the cab driver – we had about an hour – I said, ‘Take me to the best place for chili.’ And he took me to his brother-in-law’s place and that is the best bowl of chili I’ve ever had.”

On why he chose to tackle a larger-than-life character like Pancho Villa:

“The trick is to just keep them in character. The risk is that you don’t want to have Pancho Villa kneeling down and praying in church because he was a raving atheist. You don’t want somebody like John Reid who was a communist, suddenly becoming a Republican. You have to make sure these people stay in character and just let them propel the story along.”

On the Lone Star State’s Texas-sized expectations of novelists who write about their stories:

“I really didn’t think about any of that. I just write books. I am a poor simple English major. It’s this beautiful country out there, it’s stark and wild. But the story itself – it struck me as something that cried out for tellin’.”

Post by Nadia Hamdan.