I am so thrilled to introduce you to Lisa Genova. A New York Times bestselling author and a neuroscientist. Lisa grew up in Waltham, MA and has three children, ages 18, 10 and 7. You’ve likely already read her book Still Alice, or seen the major motion picture starring Oscar winner Julianne Moore based on her book. In all her books, Lisa tells a profound and compelling story that will be sure to bring you to tears. Pick up one or all of her books for the perfect summer reads if you haven’t already done so, but first, get to know Lisa, the writer, the neuroscientist and the mama…
◇ What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
Loving them. The love I have for them is bigger than anything I know. And my little ones still let me hug and kiss them whenever I want.
◇ What is your favorite moment as a mom to date?
The epic many-hour talks about politics, religion, music, class, race, dreams, purpose, death, #metoo with my teenager. She was an adorable baby a minute ago, and now she’s a mindful, ambitious, empathetic young woman, full of integrity and heart. These chats stun me in the best way.
◇ What is the toughest part about being a mom?
Listening to “the littles” (my 7 and 10 year old) fight. They love each other and mostly get along, but there are tears and blame and high drama pretty much every day. This will end at some point, yes?
◇ What is the best advice you have received as a mom?
It doesn’t all have to come from you.
◇ What is the best advice you would like to give to a new mom?
Get a co-sleeper. Once you go to bed, do not let your feet hit the ground until morning (or until you have to pee).
◇ How did you become an author?
My grandmother had Alzheimer’s. As the neuroscientist in my family, I did my best to understand this disease. Everything I read was written from the point of view of an outsider—clinicians, scientists, caregivers. But what does it feel like to live with Alzheimer’s from the perspective of the person with it? The answer to this question would be the key to empathy versus sympathy. And I thought—Fiction is a place where we can explore empathy, where as readers we have the chance to walk in someone else’s shoes. That was the seed for Still Alice. And the beginning of my career as an author.
◇ What do you love most about writing?
Learning; meeting the most amazing, heroic people in doing the research, people I come to know and love; the writing itself, especially when I’m in the flow.
◇ What is the toughest part about being a writer?
- Losing people I know and love. Eight of the twelve people I’d come to know with ALS died before I finished writing the final draft of EVERY NOTE PLAYED.
- Facing the blank page.
◇ Tell us about your new book, Every Note Played.
Through the lens of ALS, EVERY NOTE PLAYED explores regret, forgiveness, letting go, and redemption. Richard is an accomplished concert pianist who becomes diagnosed with ALS. His paralysis begins in the cruelest possible way—in his hands. Richard’s ex-wife Karina is paralyzed in a different way. She’s stuck in the past, trapped within a prison of excuses and fear that keep her in an unfulfilling life as an after-school piano teacher, blaming Richard and their failed marriage—for all of it. When Richard becomes increasingly paralyzed and is no longer able to live on his own, Karina becomes his reluctant caretaker. As Richard’s muscles, voice, and breath fade, the two struggle to reconcile their past before it’s too late.
◇ Do you have a favorite quote from one of your books?
“Every breath is a risk. Love is why we breathe.” –Inside the O’Briens
◇ Who inspires you?
Women. Maria Shriver, Oprah, Brene Brown, Jen Sincero, Amanda Palmer, Ani DiFranco, Robin Steinberg, Tracee Ellis Ross; every female writer I’m lucky enough to know; my beloved, talented, kind, badass, funny, brilliant girlfriends; my wise and loving cousin Tracey.