Thursday, July 1, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: Sara Gruen - International Bestseller & Award-Winning Author of “Water for Elephants”

Sara Gruen is the author of the award-winning best-selling historical novel “Water For Elephant” which won the 2007 Book Sense of the Year award, Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Fiction award, Book browse diamond award for the Most Popular Books, Friends of American Literature Adult Fiction award and Winner of ALA/Alex's award in 2007.

The novel instantly became a Los Angeles Times Bestseller, Wall Street Journal Bestseller, Newsday Favorite Book of 2006 and USA Today Bestseller.

Water For Elephants, spent 12 weeks on the New York Times hardcover fiction best-seller list and sold 248,000 copies while being nominated for General Fiction slot at the year's Quill Awards.

Ms. Gruen was born in Vancouver British Columbia but raised in London, Ontario. Her books deals greatly with animals, and a supporter of several charitable organizations for animals and wildlife.

She graduated with a degree in English literature at Carleton University in Ottawa. In 1999, she became a technical writer when she moves to the U.S but was laid off from her work in 2001. Instead of looking for a job, she decided to write fiction full-time. Her first two novels, Riding Lessons and Flying Changes, both enjoyed moderate critical success.

“Riding Lessons” a deftly woven tale of tragic loss and redemption of a promising world-class equestrienne and Olympic contender, Annemarie Zimmer. At eighteen she was thrown from the horse and had many injuries’. The accident leaves her struggling to recover from the hospital, being paralyzed with a broken neck, and her dreams are shattered. The freak accident ultimately destroyed her riding career and the death of her beloved beautiful Horse, Harry from a broken leg on a jump. The incidents sets off a chain of events that comes to a crisis point nearly twenty years later.

Her second novel “Flying Changes” is the much-anticipated sequel to “Riding Lessons” which continues the story of Annemarie Zimmer, as she struggles to make peace with her daughter. It is a story of a family of equestrian women in New Hampshire who are stronger than they imagine.

Her third release, “Water for Elephants” was initially turned down by her publisher at the time, Avon Books, which is a Harper Collins imprint, forcing Ms. Gruen to find another publisher. She interested Algonquin in the book, but they paid only just $55,000 for the manuscript in 2004.

The novel tells the story of a young man named Jacob Jankowski, who is about to take his final exams in veterinary medicine at Cornell University when his parents are killed in an automobile accident. Finding himself parentless and penniless, he drops out and joins a second-rate struggling circus world of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Shows on Earth--otherwise known as a train circus in 1930's America. It is a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits making one-night stands in town after endless town become his home and family.

As he learns the ropes of circus life, and how to navigate the strict and dangerous social pecking order of this strange circus life. Jacob finds himself making some unusual alliances and he befriended an elephant name Rosie, who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.

Jacobs falls in love with Marlena, the beautiful, soulful, young star of the equestrian act, but married performer. Later Marlena works with Rosie, the elephant, with whom they both fall in love with the animal. It is their love of animals that pulls both the twenty-year-olds together. They have so much in common —their age, their love of animals, and their joy of life that it is hard for them not to be friends as their passion grows up.

Water for Elephants tells a story of a love between these two people that overcomes incredible odds in a world in which even love is a luxury that few can afford, and yearn for each other, but can't grow old together

Many of the characters and incidents in the novel are based on real people and true stories gleaned from Ms. Gruen’s extensive research into the world of traveling circuses of the 1930s.

The movie rights for Water For Elephants were optioned to the renowned producer of the spy movie “Bourne” series, Andrew R. Tennenbaum. Mr. Tennenbaum appointed award-winning screenwriter and occasional film director Richard LaGravenese to pen the script.

Mr. LaGravenese is best known as the writer of The Fisher King a comedy-drama film made in 1991, stars Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams. The film is about a radio shock-jock who tries to find redemption by helping a homeless man whose life he inadvertently shattered.

The cast of WATER FOR ELEPHANTS are the following: Christoph Waltz, an Austrian actor best known for his portrayal of SS Colonel Hans Landa in the film Inglourious Basterds, for which he won Best Supporting Actor at the 82nd Academy Awards in 2010. He is also a Golden Globe winner is the second Austrian actor to receive an Oscar. Mr.Waltz will play August Rosenbluth, the abusive paranoid schizophrenic husband to Witherspoon.

Reese Witherspoon, Golden Globe winner for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical for “Walk the Line” also an Academy Award winner will be playing the character of Marlena Rosenbluth in the film. I love the dynamic, she will bring to the story.

English actor, Robert Pattinson well known for his role in Twilight films where he plays the vampire Edward Cullen will play young Jacob in the movie.

Ms. Gruen’s fourth novel is “Ape House,” which will be released September of 2010. It is a riveting, funny, compassionate, and deeply moving novel about Bonobos, a Pygmy chimpanzee who end ends up starring in a reality television show.

She sold Ape House, on the basis of a 12-page summary to Spiegel & Grau, who paid $5 million and another for unnamed book. She, her husband and three children live in Asheville, North Carolina.

Photo of Sara Gruen by Terence W. Bailey
To learn more about Sara Gruen, please visit her website
To purchase her books, please visit AMAZON and Barnes & Noble


Anonymous said...

APE HOUSE is a wonderful story in every way. The author manages to write a modern story of adult characters who actually value marriage and the sanctity of their vows! How refreshing!

Anonymous said...

APE HOUSE is refreshing and entertaining! The author manages to write a modern story of adults who actually value their marrieage and the vows