Sara Gruen

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Sara Gruen

Goodreads Author

Vancouver, Canada



Member Since
July 2015


Sara Gruen is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of five novels: AT THE WATER'S EDGE, APE HOUSE, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, RIDING LESSONS, and FLYING CHANGES. Her works have been translated into forty-three languages, and have sold more than ten million copies worldwide. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS was adapted into a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon, Rob Pattinson, and Christoph Waltz in 2011.

She lives in Western North Carolina with her husband and three sons, along with their dogs, cats, horses, birds, and the world’s fussiest goat.

Sara Gruen is currently not accepting new questions.

Popular Answered Questions

Sara Gruen Research is one of my very favorite parts of the writing process. It’s also why you’ll never see me set a book in Sudbury, Ontario, in the middle of…moreResearch is one of my very favorite parts of the writing process. It’s also why you’ll never see me set a book in Sudbury, Ontario, in the middle of winter!

I love that I can find something that fascinates me--and that I hope will fascinate others--and immerse myself in it until I feel I know it well enough to write not just about it but from within it, if that makes sense. I have to create a fictional world in my head that I pass into when I'm writing, and because I also hope to transport readers there, all the details have to be in place. Although I no longer enter the world of "At the Water's Edge" to write, I still know every cobweb in the Fraser Arms, every floorboard that creaks, the earthy, oppressive smell of the Anderson Shelter.

I incorporate real incidents into my novels all the time. It's the interesting little nuggets I've never heard of that fascinate me the most, and I think readers like taking away odd little bits of knowledge as well. It's also true that when I'm blending fact with fiction, sometimes the lines do blur. If I want to include something historical that almost works but not quite, I remind myself that I’m a novelist and can take a little creative license. For example, in “At the Water’s Edge,” I incorporated every Nessie sighting that happened up to the time of the novel, and reimagined the most famous one, the “Surgeon’s Photo,” as the Colonel’s photo in my book. I also incorporated a few wartime incidents, like the Royal Observer Corps sighting of the monster and the bombing in Foyers, although in both cases I changed the year.

I’m very careful about accuracy, and during my initial research make contacts with museums, historians, and others so I can ask questions and verify things that come up as I'm writing the story. I also have a point person to read the final text for accuracy. I can’t say history was my thing in school, because it seemed dry and somehow disconnected from real life, but now that I’m learning about it by unearthing WWII installations, unwittingly tromping around among undetonated 70-year-old bombs, and crawling under abandoned circus wagons, it feels very much alive! (less)
Sara Gruen I'd love to live temporarily in all kinds of different time periods (if I got to pick and choose my circumstances, of course--everyone kind of assumes…moreI'd love to live temporarily in all kinds of different time periods (if I got to pick and choose my circumstances, of course--everyone kind of assumes that if they went back in time they'd be a Lady Mary and not a Daisy in the kitchen, but the reality is most of us would have been Daisy in the kitchen or a fish wife on the docks). But my completely non-exciting answer is that I would choose to live in the here and now, because I would not have made it to my first birthday without antibiotics, and I think things like central heating, air conditioning, indoor plumbing, and kitchen/laundry appliances are most excellent. I cannot imagine going outside and stirring a great pot of boiling lye once a week to do the family's laundry, but I can tell you that my tolerance for dirty clothes would be a lot higher. (less)
Average rating: 4.04 · 1,333,949 ratings · 70,853 reviews · 11 distinct worksSimilar authors
Water for Elephants

4.08 avg rating — 1,226,996 ratings — published 2006 — 140 editions
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At the Water's Edge

3.66 avg rating — 64,843 ratings — published 2015 — 2 editions
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Ape House

3.48 avg rating — 26,283 ratings — published 2010 — 54 editions
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Riding Lessons (Riding Less...

3.43 avg rating — 9,707 ratings — published 2004 — 28 editions
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Flying Changes (Riding Less...

3.70 avg rating — 6,073 ratings — published 2004 — 22 editions
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Sara Gruen Collection! 4 Bo...

3.79 avg rating — 24 ratings — published 2005
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The Sara Gruen Collection: ...

4.50 avg rating — 12 ratings
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Voda za slonove

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 1 rating
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Die Frau am See

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 1 rating
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El agua de la vida

0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings
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More books by Sara Gruen…
Riding Lessons Flying Changes
(2 books)
3.53 avg rating — 15,780 ratings

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April 2015, Sara Gruen
"A Philadelphia socialite and her husband hunt Scotland's Loch Ness monster in At the Water's Edge, a new World War II-era novel from the author of Water for Elephants." ...More

more interviews »

“When two people are meant to be together, they will be together. It's fate.”
sara gruen, Water for Elephants

“With a secret like that, at some point the secret itself becomes irrelevant. The fact that you kept it does not.”
Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants

“I want her to melt into me, like butter on toast. I want to absorb her and walk around for the rest of my days with her encased in my skin.

I want.”
Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants


What book would you like to read in August?

  4 votes, 40.0%

  3 votes, 30.0%

  2 votes, 20.0%

anything James Patterson, Mary HIggins Clark, Lisa Jackson (write-in)
  1 vote, 10.0%


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message 1: by Donna

Donna Sara, thank you for accepting my friend request on Goodreads.

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