Sara Gruen, best known for her best-selling novel “Water for Elephants,” found herself at a cross road in her life. After moving to the United States from Canada in 1999, she was laid off two years later from her technical writing job and found herself with some time on her hands.
She published her first novel, “Riding Lessons,” in 2004 to showcase her love for animals. The novel follows the tragic struggle of Annemarie Zimmer, an Olympic equestrian contender who’s riding career is destroyed after a tragic accident, and her horse Harry. It provides a glimpse into the life of Annemarie 20 years later as she returns to her dying father’s horse farm, bringing her now adolescent daughter to a place of unresolved memories. “Riding Lessons” was a USA Today best-seller.
Next Gruen published her second novel, “Flying Changes,” which continues the story of Annemarie and her family. Annemarie must deal with her daughter’s own aspirations to be an Olympic rider while her own relationship with her man is growing adrift. The book illustrates how a family must deal with changes as people continue to grow older.
Gruen’s third and most popular book, “Water for Elephants” was published in 2006 and instantly became a beloved book by audiences. The book was a #1 New York Times bestseller and has had over 3 million copies printed worldwide. The book is also available in 44 languages.
Her most recent book, “Ape House,” showcases Gruen’s interest and love for apes and the disappearance of them in the wild. The book features the Bonobo ape, which is captured from a language laboratory and is used on a television show.
Though all of her books showcase her love for animals of all kinds, “Ape House” really illustrates a passion of Gruen’s. She has studied linguistics used to communicate with apes and has a life-long fascination for apes, including Bonobo apes.
Gruen is also an advocate for several animal organizations, including The Lola Ya Bonobo sanctuary and The Great Ape Trust.
Gruen now lives in the south with her husband and sons, and a houseful of animals and pets.