Sara Gruen Talks Mythical Monsters and Broadway Musicals + GIVEAWAY of AT THE WATER’S EDGE

AT THE WATER'S EDGE_final jacketWATER FOR ELEPHANTS changed my life. Not only is it one of my favorite books and love stories of all time, but when I was ready to agent shop for BEFORE I GO, I sent my MS to Sara Gruen’s agent, because who wouldn’t want to have the same agent as one of their favorite authors? It was a shoot-for-the-stars kind of thing, but lo-and-behold, she agreed to represent me, and now that’s my single claim to fame at parties — I have the same agent as Sara Gruen. And then inevitably, people ask when the movie for my book is coming out, to which I respond: “Mmmm. These shrimp puffs are delicious.”

But seriously, Sara is not only a New York Times bestselling writer, she’s also a completely down-to-earth person who knits hats, snuggles dogs and plants flowers in her spare time. And we’re thrilled that she agreed to come on The Ball for the launch of AT THE WATER’S EDGE, her latest novel.

AT THE WATER’S EDGE is your first historical fiction since WATER FOR ELEPHANTS— why did you return to the genre, and what was the inspiration for the book?

It’s funny, but I don’t think in terms of genre when I’m writing, so the fact that AT THE WATER’S EDGE ended up being historical fiction is coincidence. I chose the setting first, and the era revealed itself to me later when I was in the Highlands on my first research trip.

One of your main characters Ellis, goes on a hunt for the Loch Ness monster. Why did you include this great legend in your book?

I have been fascinated by the Loch Ness monster since I was twelve when I first visited Scotland, and a few years ago my interest was sparked again by a random news story. I was between books, and after spending the afternoon down a Nessie rabbit hole I realized that the unlikely mixture of pragmatism and superstition in Scottish made it the perfect setting. Adding the war and the monster to the mix increased the potential for volatility in an “anything can happen” kind of way, which is an author’s dream—at least this author’s!

If you were a drink (preferably alcoholic), what would you be and why?

I would be a tequila sunrise, because I like tequila and in theory I like sunrise.

Share one quirk you have that most people don’t know about.

I don’t like chocolate.

Finally, it was just announced that WATER FOR ELEPHANTS is going to be on Broadway! Congratulations! How much input will you have in the show and what’s your biggest hope or fear for the on-stage adaptation?

I am super excited about the musical adaptation of WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, particularly because they’re going to let me participate. I know nothing about musicals, but I am going to make like a sponge and absorb everything and hope I get up to speed in time to be useful. And if I can’t be useful, I’ll certainly enjoy the ride!

GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by Noon (EST) on Friday, April 10th to win a copy of AT THE WATER’S EDGE! Follow The Debutante Ball on Facebook and Twitter for extra entries—just mention that you did so in your comments. We’ll choose and contact the winner on Friday. Good luck!

Photo by Tasha Thomas
Photo by Tasha Thomas

Sara Gruen is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of At The Water’s EdgeWater for ElephantsApe House, 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.

Author: Colleen Oakley

Colleen Oakley is the author of BEFORE I GO (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, Jan. 2015), a love story. A former editor for Marie Claire and Women's Health & Fitness, she's now an Atlanta-based freelance writer. Find out more at

18 Replies to “Sara Gruen Talks Mythical Monsters and Broadway Musicals + GIVEAWAY of AT THE WATER’S EDGE”

  1. Congratulations on your new book Sara Gruen and on “Water for Elephants” going to broadway. I just have to ask, have you never liked chocolate?

  2. I loved “Water for Elephants”. I read it in my book club. Every December, we vote on the best book we read during the year. The year we read “Water for Elephants,” it won. Congratulations on the new book and the Broadway show.

    1. As a Library Director, Water for Elephants was a library staple for a looong time. We couldn’t keep it on the shelf and it was a book club favorite the year it was published! Honestly, I’d love to win the copy of At the Water’s Edge simply for its incredibly beautiful cover… I could stare at it all afternoon and imagine the story those pages must hold…

  3. I think this book sounds wonderful and thank you for the giveaway. I am following on face book and twitter as soon as I leave this screen.

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