Water for Elephants author Sara Gruen held a Q&A session in Syracuse, NY last night and talked about doing research for her book, amongst other things. She visited a circus museum as well as live circuses.
Her research was hands on, too, as Gruen “snuck under bigtops and introduced herself to elephant handers, asking to meet the elephants.”
In one sixth-tier circus, she said, “he gave me a bucket of peanuts, let me in and closed the gate behind me. I didn’t know how to feed an elephant.”
The elephant, Nosey, took over, scooping up the peanuts.
“She was a lovebug,” Gruen said. “I was the recipient of an elephant kiss. Which she did with her trunk. It was like a mushy sock puppet. I went home and swore I’d never wash my face again.”
Nosey became Rosie in the novel.
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