Author Sara Gruen speaks on campus

Sara Konu


Spotlighted by a dim blue light, best-selling author Sara Gruen sat on stage of the newly completed Arts and Allied Health building theater and captivated her audience.

She started the Nov. 6 book reading by explaining to her audience how she first got started in the writing business.

Gruen said if it hadn’t been for the crash of the economy and her resulting lay-off, she probably wouldn’t have stepped out on the proverbial ledge and started writing at the time she did.

Although it was something she wanted to do, staying home to write posed many challenges. Financially, it was a risk. But besides that, it was difficult to get any work done at home.

Gruen’s husband was forced to create a writing space barricaded by baby gates so her child would leave her alone. That still didn’t stop the baby from throwing shoes at her while she wrote.

Though she spent a lot of time writing, not all of the writing process was spent at home. Gruen often found herself venturing out in order to research her subject matter.

When writing Water for Elephants, Gruen took to approaching bullmasters at circuses and saying, “Hi, I’m writing a book. Can I meet your elephant?”

On more than one occasion, her request was granted. Gruen’s resulting experiences with elephants gave her vital background knowledge for her book.

It was while she was on a book tour for Water for Elephants the idea for Ape House hit her. Her mother e-mailed her a link that led to a site about Bonobo monkeys.

Gruen followed the link and was immediately fascinated with the Bonobos. It wasn’t long before she sought them out and she had soon struck up friendships with some Bonobos living in a sanctuary in the United States.

While Gruen read aloud from her stories, the softening of her face made it clear to the audience just how deeply connected she was to the animals she had become acquainted with and their resulting characters.

After her two-hour talk, fans waited in a long line for their turns for a chance to talk with Gruen and have their books signed by her.

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Author Sara Gruen speaks on campus

by Sara Konu time to read: 1 min