Sara Gruen's first novel, Riding Lessons, was published in 2004. She is an animal lover who lives with her husband, three children, five cats, two goats, a dog, and a horse in an environmental community north of Chicago. Many of the characters and incidents in the novel are based on real people and true stories gleaned from her extensive research into the world of traveling circuses of the 1930s.
Sara is a Canadian-born dual citizen (Canadian and American) who moved to the States in 1999 for a technical writing job. When she was laid off two years later, instead of looking for another job, she decided to take a gamble on writing fiction full-time. Fortunately, the gamble paid off.
Until 2007 she, her husband, three children, two dogs, two cats, three goats, and horse in an environmentalist community in northern Illinois.They now live in Asheville, North Carolina.
Her novels to date are Riding Lessons (2004) and Flying Changes (2005), featuring Annemarie Zimmer; and Water for Elephants (2006). The Ape House is due to be published in 2009.