In a 2014 interview with the Tuscaloosa News, Groom said the novel was “a farce, and that’s hard to do. The French do it well, but we don’t. “If I could convince, persuasively, a reader that Coach Paul Bryant would take an idiot and put him on the football team, they’d believe anything.Once you hook your reader, they’ll go for the rest. And that’s, I think, where I hooked ‘em.”
Groom said the novel was inspired by a story his father related about a neighbor’s child who displayed savant behavior. Groom wrote Forrest Gump in six weeks.
Born March 23, 1944, in Washington, D.C., and raised in Mobile County, Alabama, Groom turned to writing in college. He graduated from the University of Alabama in with an English degree in 1965, and embarked on a tour of duty in Vietnam.
Groom later worked as a reporter for the Washington Star, but gave that up to devote himself to fiction. After moving to New York City, he completed his first novel, Better Times Than These, set in the Vietnam War and published in 1978.
When Groom received the prestigious Harper Lee Award in 2011. He became a member of the Alabama Writers’ Hall of Fame 2018 class.
He is survived by his wife, Susan. No memorial plans have been announced,