Courtesy of Marguerite Nardone Gruen
Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. Take the case of Marguerite Nardone Gruen. By day she has a job she loves but one night something happened that would take her on an unexpected journey.
The story of a young American woman who travels to London and falls in love with one of the biggest pop stars came to her as she slept. As she recalled in a recent one-on-one interview, “I just couldn’t stop thinking about the dream. It was so weird. It was weeks and I was still thinking about this couple in the dream that I had. And, then I finally thought, ‘There must be a reason that I can’t get this couple off of my mind.’”
And with that, Gruen started to pen her very first novel. “The dream just gave me the seed and then as time went by I just began imagining what this couple would be going through, through life. It’s the story of their lives and that special bond they have between them where they could feel each other’s emotions. So, I just kept imagining that. And, I don’t know where I got that… And, you know what? I would read back what I wrote and I would sit and think, ‘I can’t believe I just wrote that.’ I just couldn’t even believe I did that. And even when I look at this book, I just can’t even believe I did that. I don’t know how.”
After all, Gruen is the first to admit that it had not been her lifelong dream to write a book but she found the story that was unfolding in her mind so compelling she had to tackle the Herculean task. While continuing to work her day job, she would jot down ideas in stolen moments. “Every time I had a thought about something or a story or a chapter, I would write myself a little note. And, at night, I would sit down and write it out. 300 pages later, I had a book. It just happened and I just felt something was telling me to do this.”
But once she was done with the novel, she wasn’t 100% sure what to do next. “My sister read the manuscript and she said, ‘You have to do something with this because if you don’t, you’ll always think, ‘What if?’’ And she was right,” acknowledged Gruen.
Still it took a bit of divine intervention to give Gruen the final push to seek a publisher. “I went to church and my pastor handed everybody that day a little jar of Play-Doh. She said, ‘God is always trying to mold you into either something different or something that you do now, better.’ And, I took that as a sign because it was so weird, this is so different than what I do.” And with that, Gruen began doing online research to find a publisher for her first novel “The Band 4: The Air We Breathe.”
Not one to rest on her laurels, Gruen has already started working on a sequel. While the “The Band 4” focuses on Marguerite Angeli and Chase Martin, the follow up will be about a minor character named Ed. Gruen conceded that the character had unusual origins. “Ed has red hair and blue eyes and I have a fetish for red hair and that’s the only reason I added him. The story is about a band and there are four guys in the band and I just thought they needed a friend outside of the band. So, I created Ed.”
Fans are glad she did. In fact, they’re clamoring to know more about the red head as well. “I had an 89-year-old woman stop me in the grocery store and she said her daughter bought the book for her to read,” recalled Gruen. “She came right over to me and she kissed me. And, she said, ‘I loved your book. I loved it even more because I know it came from here.’ She put her hand on my heart. I started to cry, right there in the produce aisle. After I composed myself, she said to me, ‘So, now tell me all about Ed.’”
Despite lots of probing, Gruen isn’t giving up any secrets. “My own mother said to me, ‘Tell me about Ed, Marguerite.’ And I said, ‘Mom, I can’t tell you about Ed.” And she said, ‘But I’m your mother. You should be able to tell me, I’m your mother.’ And I said, ‘No, I can’t tell you about it.’”
Fans of “The Band 4: The Air We Breathe” will also be happy to know that there’s a third book due in the trilogy which will focus again on the original novel’s main couple. Gruen teased, “It’s going to be about them remembering stories from their past along with finding out just how hard it was for her with Chase being gone so much.”
Find out more about Marguerite Nardone Gruen, “The Band 4: The Air We Breathe” and the upcoming sequels visit her official website.