Lisa Scottoline, ETERNAL

Lisa Scottoline, ETERNAL

Lisa and Zibby fangirl over their admiration for one another as well as for Lisa’s latest historical novel, Eternal, which continues to receive phenomenal reviews. Set in Rome over the span of 20 years, the story captures a love triangle between three characters coming of age during the weight of fascism. The two discuss how Lisa’s failures still fuel her work ethic today, why this book feels like it might be Lisa’s magnum opus, and, of course, their shared attraction to the novel’s male leads.


Zibby Owens: Hi.

Lisa Scottoline: Hi. I’m so excited to meet you.

Zibby: I’m so excited to meet you.

Lisa: You are just so great. I’m a fan. I’m just so amazed by what you’re doing. I’m so happy for what you’re doing. I am. I don’t want to get all — are we already on?

Zibby: I won’t use this.

Lisa: You can use it. You can totally use it. As a person of certain age, to see what you’re doing for women of your generation, which is everything I would want for them, and empowering them and just being so real and honest, and the stuff that you explore with them, I’m just thrilled to meet you, honestly. I’m thrilled to be on it. I really am.

Zibby: Okay, maybe I’ll use it.

Lisa: You absolutely should use it because I must tell you that I think it’s unique. I think it’s absolutely unique because it’s so personal to you. It’s so real. You’ve lived a life. You’re opening up to people to say, just say you don’t have time. It’s okay not to have time. It’s okay not to do everything. Though we kind of say that, not everybody is so open about it. I’m just thrilled.

Zibby: Aw, gosh, I have to say, I was just so excited. I have so much respect for you and all of the stuff, the funny, the deep. It’s amazing what you’ve produced. Then when I went on your website last night to just make sure I wasn’t missing anything or whatever, I was like, oh, look, she has Zibby Owens GMA whatever. I was like, that’s my name on her website! It was so cool.

Lisa: I was so excited when we got that. My daughter Francesca is also an author, and coauthor too. I said, “Honey, Zibby.” She’s like, “Zibby!”

Zibby: Oh, my god, you’re kidding. This is tickling me so much.

Lisa: When we end up hanging up, she’ll be like, tell me what she’s like, if she’s really like that. We know she’s going to be really like that.

Zibby: I should have your daughter on too.

Lisa: You absolutely should.

Zibby: By the way, I have so many of your other books. I have the Guilt Trip. I was trying to find it in time for this so I could show it to you, but it’s here somewhere.

Lisa: Oh, that’s all right. Look, here you are. I displayed the one you sent me, but I have the other one and two others in the house, but I can’t find them, of course. At least I got my roots done for our big Zibby podcast.

Zibby: I obviously did not, so whatever.

Lisa: You’re awesome and gorgeous. I just want to say straight out, God bless you, honestly. Congratulations. You are doing something that’s much more important than books and all that and even these subjects. You’re standing for something, which is an authentic American woman. I think it’s great.

Zibby: I’m literally about to cry.

Lisa: You should because, honestly, I’m about to cry. I just am so happy. I’m sixty-five. To have struggled so much with so much crap in the world, there’s sexism, there’s all this stuff, and to see, finally, that there’s people like you stepping into this role and taking it by the horns, it’s gratifying. It really is on a very personal level. You must understand you’re carrying a mantel. You really are, dear. Now I’m crying.

Zibby: Thank you. Oh, my gosh, I’m so moved.

Lisa: This is how I talk to my daughter. Now you know.

Zibby: It’s so, so nice.

Lisa: It’s really true. Women have to help each other. Sisterhood truly is powerful. We thought that a long time ago, and it’s really true.

Zibby: Wow.

Lisa: Sorry, honey.

Zibby: What a nice start. Thank you. I wish I could give you a huge hug.

Lisa: You just did.

Zibby: I know. I feel like that. Please tell me if you’re ever in New York or whatever.

Lisa: I’m up there all the time. My daughter lives up there. I go visit. You’re too sweet to say that. If you’re ever in Miami, .

Zibby: I’m totally serious. Next time you’re in town, let’s all have coffee or something.

Lisa: We will. I’ll give you a big hug and tell you how great you are because I mean it.

Zibby: Actually, this dovetails nicely with one of my favorite parts of your book, which is this one little quote. This is when they’re in the café. Elisabetta is there. Her dad is about to come in. She’s meeting with the editor she hopes will buy her first piece. She goes and talks to him. She says, “Signor, Gualeschi, my name is Elisabetta –” Okay, I should start this sentence later because I can’t pronounce anything. I’m going to start here. “‘I admire your writing very much. I read you every day, and your article yesterday was especially interesting.’ She remembered Nona’s advice not to talk too much. ‘I’m sorry, I talk a lot, I know. It’s just that I have so many thoughts.’ ‘You can never go wrong praising a writer for his writing.’ Gualeschi blinked with amusement behind his glasses. ‘But everyone must praise you all the time.’ ‘Not enough for my satisfaction or with sufficient specificity.'” That’s hilarious. That’s so funny.

Lisa: That’s how I feel. The funny thing is, I also feel like her. I don’t write with an outline. Eternal is a bigger scope for me. Ultimately, it’s the story of a woman. I live alone. I’m divorced twice. I feel that sometimes I’m writing every woman or part of me too, just as you are. When I came to that, I thought, what is her issue? A little bit, her issue is she’s, we say talkative. That’s kind of sexist, really. What it is is, well, you’re a woman in full. You have thoughts and beliefs and opinions in a society in 1930s Rome that doesn’t necessarily plumb them, or 2020 US. You’re labeled as talkative. She feels that. She’s a talkative girl with no one to talk to. The writer is the counterpart of that. She wants to be that. In a way, she already is that. Isn’t that a great message? That’s just so true.

Zibby: Let me just back up. I know we started this episode in such a personal place. Lisa, your book Eternal, it’s an amazing historical fiction, historical novel based in Rome. By the way, I went to Rome when I was in seventh grade. I asked my mother this morning if she could dig up some pictures of when we went to the synagogues there because I wanted to see if I could show you. She has a couple pictures, but they aren’t very good. I’ll email them to you after.

Lisa: Show one. This isn’t video, right? At least, show.

Zibby: They’re only on my phone now because I didn’t have time to get it. I went to my mom’s house, and she was out with her dog. Anyway, whatever. I don’t know if you can even see these.

Lisa: Oh, I see.

Zibby: I think that’s my mother upside down. Maybe this whole picture’s upside down.

Lisa: That’s your mom’s feet.

Zibby: It’s probably my mom’s feet. I don’t know if you can see these. This is not the best.

Lisa: I can. Yes, I can.

Zibby: This is them in the square forever ago.

Lisa: That’s in the Jewish ghetto.

Zibby: In the Jewish ghetto. There we were.

Lisa: That’s what’s so amazing. I’ve been to Rome several times. I have thirty-three novels, so I’ve been published in Italy. My Italian editor said, “Let’s go to the Jewish quarter. We’ll have the artichokes.” I knew the history. I knew it from college because of this course I’d taken with Philip Roth. I knew about the Holocaust in Italy. I just was like, this is hallowed ground. It was a war crime. Why is there no — now there’s a little more. There’s a small museum there, but there wasn’t then. I still think it’s not well-known enough as a story. It was killing me for forty years as I’m writing women’s fiction and thrillers and domestic drama. I’m like, someday when you feel like you get the chops, you’re going to write about that. The long story short is that’s how women feel all the time, I think, I’m not ready, I’m not practiced enough, whereas men throw themselves right in. I was like, Lisa, get out of your own way, even at your age, and just write it. That book is Eternal. It’s the best reviews of my career. The sales are amazing. I couldn’t be more happy, lucky, blessed, all of the above.

Zibby: I’m so happy for you. You deserve all the praise. This book is great, seriously. It’s so cinematic. You can see every scene. They’re short. You keep everybody’s interest because you’re just dipping and out of little scenes. Then you go and you immediately create the character so they — I was trying to analyze. I was like, what is it that she’s doing that creates these characters so quickly? Is it that she’s describing all their noses? You always were describing people’s lips and noses. Is that what it is? I was literally trying to take it apart. How do I have such a clear vision immediately of all these characters as soon as you do it? Do you know how you even do that?

Lisa: That’s very kind of you to say. I will tell you the secret because I love that there’s so many writers and people who want to write listening to your podcast. The secret is, as Hemmingway says, write drunk, edit sober. Obviously, I don’t write drunk. When you are going to write, you have to spill it all out. You have to get it all down. When you edit, you’re distilling it. I’m so glad your dog goes on the furniture. I have four dogs. They all go on the furniture. I knew that you would be a dog-on-the-furniture person. What you’re really doing is distilling it, and especially for a novel like this. It’s historical fiction, but it still has to be a personal story of a woman. It’s a love triangle set in fascist Italy. We’re going to talk about when she gets her first bra. By the time you edit, you’re only going to leave in what will tell the reader something every time. This course I took with Roth was so amazing. It was like boot camp for writing a novel. Although, it wasn’t a creative writing course. It was a reading course. He said everything has to justify itself. I think of that. Does this chapter justify itself? If it doesn’t, out it goes.

Zibby: I read, you said somewhere that it was over a thousand pages and you couldn’t bear to part with any of the words.

Lisa: Believe me, I never feel like that. I’m the most ragingly insecure person on the planet. I finished that thousand-page manuscript, which I’ve never done, which is a little bit unheard of. Even I know. My editor calls me up at nine thirty at night, which they never do. He’s like, “This book should be good on page 370.” I was like, oh, damn, he is absolutely right. I don’t always take direction well. Then I just, that night, tore the whole book apart, redid it, and made it a very — I love that it’s an immersive read, though. I don’t think it’s super long. It’s not that long. You’ve got to tell twenty years of a story. It starts out with love and romance and pasta. That’s there for a reason too because you have to feel what the characters feel as they undergo — it’s really about law and justice and the effect of injustice on people. You have to personalize that story. It can’t be a like a history book, even though the history alone is dramatic. So much in this book is based on this real, true-life event that occurred in October 1943 in the ghetto of Rome. What I really wanted to do is dramatize the course of conduct. We know a lot about Nazism, but we don’t know enough about fascism. Mussolini invented it. When you see what it did to the Jews of Rome, to the country writ large, it’s horrifying.

Zibby: I was surprised, and you did such a nice job of explaining, the Jews who were also fascists and how that was a whole thing then. I felt like there were so many similarities, almost, to today in different ways, even just the anti-Semitism alone. This is such a timely time that we’re even discussing this book. How you laid out the different groups, you weren’t didactic about it in any way. It was just like, oh, yes, these people are fascist, and even within a family, how people could change. Then of course, you sprinkle in this really hot guy. I’m like, I have a crush on a boy in a book named Marco who’s sixteen years old or something. What is wrong with me? You made him seem so attractive.

Lisa: Well, I’m extremely lonely and celibate. That’s the great thing about writing, as it is about reading. We’re engaged in this compact of imagination. Oh, I just thought of that. It’s kind of true, though, isn’t it? We both can imagine Marco together. He’s sexy. He’s cool. He’s just magnetic, but he’s got this secret. There’s Sandro who, honestly, he speaks to my heart too.

Zibby: He was a close second.

Lisa: I know. Everybody’s either team Marco or team Sandro. It’s really to just imagine. Also, you want to write, what does love do for us? What is love? What does it do? This is a book about not only romantic love, but the love between friends. Marco and Sandro are great friends. Their families are friends. There’s love of country. There’s love of God. How does love heal? We wrote the tagline, the idea that war destroys, only love can heal. You’re absolutely right. Regardless of your political view, there is no doubt that fascism is rising around the world. Anti-Semitism is rising at the same time. These things are linked. What you do is you tell a story that’s about history. You allow people to extrapolate whatever they will. I’ve heard from both sides of the political spectrum, both of whom love this book. That’s exactly what should happen.

Zibby: Even your main character, Elisabetta, she’s so vibrant. I know I keep talking about these characters. When you read books, you’re not always meeting characters who you feel like could be on the pages of US Weekly or something. Do you know what I mean? I feel like your characters could. I feel like they should be photographed on the street. Obviously, I’m just talking about the beginning. It’s nice. It’s almost escapist to feel like, oh, what’s it like being a gorgeous Italian woman being pursued by two men and then getting to decide what type of pasta? That’s the game of the day. What type of pasta will my boss make? What kind of life is this? This is amazing.

Lisa: It’s so great. That’s sort of what my task was. Maybe because this is my first work of historical fiction, I think it’s good that I was kind of rook. That’s what I’m saying about what you do. Shed all of the expectations and the fear and the insecurity about the way it should be done. Just sit down and do it. What really struck me was the pandemic. That’s why I love — see your display there? I have you up there.

Zibby: Thank you.

Lisa: It’s so interesting because the essays in that book, Moms Don’t Have Time To: The Quarantine Anthology — we have gone through something. We are going through something. I know you’ve been touched by COVID personally, as have I. What is really interesting and instructive about that for people, all of us, is that last March we didn’t realize we were entering a historical period. We were just living our life. It was March. I had plans in April. My daughter’s book was out in March. She was going to go on her first book tour. Then bit by bit, we go, oh, there’s not going to be this. Now people are getting sick. Then I know people getting — I brought that perspective to Eternal. I said, these young people were just young people. They were hot. They were sexy. They wanted to kiss. They wanted to wear bras. They wanted to become something. She wants to become something. She thinks she wants to be journalist. She chooses the exact wrong time. Mussolini only allows censorship. They were entering the most devastating period of history, global history, that man would ever know, but they didn’t know that. They just lived the life day to day.

That is really interesting considering that we just entered the most — in recent history. This pandemic has taken so many lives and affected world economies. You don’t need me to tell you that. What I took from it was that you don’t know you’re part of history. Then what’s happened is, you are all part of history. Not only that, you’re part of your culture’s history. You’re part of your religious history. Above all, you’re part of your family’s history. Elisabetta carries with her, the scars of her family. Marco is buoyed up by his family. Sandro is very connected to his family. You have to make it real. It kind of helps to try to be aware when you’re living your life in its darkest moments and its brightest. That’s also what I love about what you do. You don’t sugarcoat. There will be divorce. There will be hardship. There will be financial ups and downs. Kids will get sick. You will have to be torn in lots of different places. You will handle all of it. Elisabetta says at the end of the book — she feels bad in the beginning because she realizes her family is low class. It just came to me as I was writing it. She says to herself, “After the war, there was only one class of people, and that was survivors.” I think that’s what women do best.

Zibby: Wow, that’s beautiful. I know, because I read all your background, that Philip Roth was your teacher. I read all about your class and Primo Levi and how you’ve been thinking about doing this for so long. This is your magnus opus and everything. Also, I just want to hear a little bit about the rest of your career. You’ve written so many books. You go in so many genres. I love all your humorous essays and all those essay books and working with your daughter. How do you create so much content and keep innovating so that we end up here with Eternal? What is it that every day you wake up and think to yourself or say to yourself? How did it start? How do you just keep this machine going?

Lisa: You’re so kind to say that. Thank you. I think that’s the commonality we have. Long story short is, I was divorced, the first time, when my daughter was born. It really became, necessity was the mother of invention. I had been a lawyer. I love law and justice and all that stuff, a trial lawyer. I wanted to stay home with her. I just loved being with her. I’m a single mother when my daughter’s age zero with no money. I said, why don’t you try to be a writer? There’s five years of rejection. Favorite rejection letter, I’ll never forget. I say it because I want people to hear. We fail. They said, “We don’t have time to take any more clients. If we did, we wouldn’t take you.” I see that guy from time to time at parties. I’m like, “Hi, I don’t have time to talk to you right now.” I’m not above that, Zibby. I think so much of what you do is about that. We just persevere. You fail. You fail. The good thing about failing is it means you’re taking risk. That’s what I started to think as I got older. I said, don’t be so afraid. You’re writing thrillers. You’re writing mysteries. Then you’re writing stories that have a woman protagonist. I’m trying to write mostly women’s voices, honestly. I like the books to move fast. Other people categorize them, but I don’t. I think they’re just stories about families and love. That’s what I think. My only thing I say to myself is, be not afraid. I still have to say that. I hope that other women hear that. Look at you, you’ve done all those things. I’m amazed by how much you can produce and how authentic and important it all is. That’s the key, the quality. It’s all there. I want to say to people, we’re very lucky, but we’re just ordinary women. Anybody can do it. I really encourage people to write. You don’t have to have gone to a master’s program. You don’t have to have done anything. You just have to live your life. Read a lot of books. Give yourself the time and the permission to devote to something you really want. I’m so full of advice in this regard. I never shut up.

Zibby: No, I think it’s great. I did not even get into an MFA program, I have to say.

Lisa: Their loss, girl.

Zibby: There we go.

Lisa: That’s the truth. That is the truth, isn’t it? They’re going to come to you soon and say, Zibby, would you mind giving a lecture? You should say, I don’t have time to do it and I wouldn’t make time for you. No.

Zibby: I’ll say, Lisa Scottoline says that this is my line now, so I’m going to come back with this. Tell me about writing with your daughter. That’s so nice. I wonder if I’ll ever be doing that. That’s such a goal. Tell me how that started and what that’s like.

Lisa: When you’re a single mom of one, it’s amazing. She just is talented at a lot of things, and smart. We’re best friends. She’s thirty-five now, but we are super tight. At some point, I started writing a women’s column, a column about my life for The Philadelphia Inquirer, which was collected into these books. The first one was called Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog, so you know where I’m coming from, right? It’s not man bashing. It’s dog loving. People started to say, when you talk about your daughter, do you ever shut up? Let her talk. Then she started to write. She was an English major at Harvard. She started writing. Like she says, we don’t write together, per se. I think what we do is what every mother does for every daughter and every son, which is, step back, love your kid up, and let them find their own voice. It’s really been wonderful for me to see that my amazing daughter Francesca has wrote — she said to me about ten years ago, “I want to write a novel.” I’m like, “Go for it. You can do it, honey. Be not afraid.” She produced Ghosts of Harvard, which was just last month nominated for best first novel. It’s a terrific book. It’s coming out in paperback in a month. You know what? I’ll tell you the story my dad said. He went to my signing. Someone said, “You must be so proud of your daughter.” He said, “Lady, I was proud of her the day she came out of the egg.”

Zibby: Aw.

Lisa: I know. My parents were the best. Anything I did was golden. I could fart, and they would applaud. It was a great way to grow up. I hope I raised her that way. I love her. It’s unconditional. I think when people feel loved and nurtured and encouraged to find what they want in their path, they’re happier. That’s all any mother wants for any child, isn’t it? You’ve got four. You know.

Zibby: Yes.

Lisa: Are we crying yet?

Zibby: Seriously.

Lisa: This is how I am. It’s so sad.

Zibby: No.

Lisa: It’s great, also, to have someone so open to talk to. It really is. That’s so great.

Zibby: Oh, gosh. So you write with your daughter. You still write this column, right, every week?

Lisa: Right. I’ve been doing it for twelve years. It’s just a woman’s life. I try to make it funny. I post it on my Facebook page. You can buy them in books. I really just want to get a life out there. The point is, part of it, you counteracting that aloneness, especially when you’re me. I’m a single mom with one daughter. She said, “I got nominated for best first novel.” I said, “You were always best first daughter. You are.” We always felt a little odd as a family because it’s not Norman Rockwell. There’s not a big table. There’s not a husband and a wife. As a divorced parent, I felt bad that I didn’t give her that until at some point I said, you know what, not everybody has the “conventional family.” It’s more and more true. I’m still surprised that there’s backlash against it. There’s two dads. There’s two moms. There’s whatever there is. Just so there’s love. I forget the question, but I’m sure the answer is love.

Zibby: Great. Wait, so you were divorced when your daughter was born. Then what was your second divorce all about? What happened?

Lisa: Then I remarried. I was a stepmother of three, two of whom lived here. One was in school. Then after that divorce, I was not a stepmother anymore. You start to really learn — I wrote about that in a novel. All of my novels have emotional truth. As you know, you have to really plumb something, whether it’s literally true or emotionally true. I always think of it, with the humor columns, by saying, if it doesn’t make us cringe — Francesca and I say this to each other. If it doesn’t make me cringe, it won’t make you laugh. It has to be real true. It has to be seeing your first grey chin hair and realizing you’re turning into an Amish man. No one tells you that. I pluck for a podcast. I plucked for you, Zibby, just in case you could see. Thank you for laughing. I don’t want to tell you that. I’m a little embarrassed about that. That’s what’s true in the novel as well. I have to open up. I just have to go, wow, open your heart up. That’s what I love about your collections. People hearing your podcast, I must tell you that I think truth has a ring. There is a ring of authenticity. I knew it as a trial lawyer. I know it now. You can hear it right now. I believe what I’m saying, right? I hear when you believe what you’re saying. I hear that you do believe what you’re saying. As long as you do that, you can do that in print too. You have to say, I plucked my chin for a podcast. People go, that sounds true. That’s the connection. That’s what a book does. Whether that’s nonfiction or fiction, when somebody says something true in public, in the written word, orally, any way, it resonates soul to soul. That’s what’s so wonderful, honestly, about books and us talking to each other, just a remarkable, wonderful human connection. There’s nothing more important.

Zibby: Tell me about your experience being affected personally by COVID.

Lisa: If you have a heart at all, it’s horrifying and isolating. I know close family members fell ill and survived but have long-haul symptoms. Also, there’s all the emotional stuff that’s a little co-dependency. I want to wear a mask, but they don’t want me to wear a mask. The cool kids don’t want to wear a mask, all of this mishegoss that is so unnecessary. I think there’s extra layers. I don’t want to keep saying we women, but I do think we’re so attuned to everyone’s health and welfare and emotional needs and physical needs that I think — moms at home, I don’t have to teach a kid physics, thank god. Francesca was here.

Zibby: Literally, my daughter had her final today in science. It was all about the nucleus and the this and the cell and whatever. I was like, I could barely do this. This was my least favorite class the first time around. I cannot even help you. I can’t believe it. I’m going to hinder you in your ability to ace this test.

Lisa: I totally get that. It was my daughter Francesca at home with me. I said, “Please come home. I’m a little worried.” We needed each other. We had to help each other. She’s on her first book tour. We’re figuring the Zoom. She drew my eyelashes in. I had to do myself this morning since she went back to New York. Did you know you have to draw eyebrows on for your Zoom? Yeah, you do. We all help each other. We muddle through. It’s love in action, truly. It really is. The pandemic touches us all in horrific ways and in ways that remind us how much we need and love each other.

Zibby: Wow. Having finished yet another triumph, which is fantastic — by the way, I will have you know, when I emailed my mother for the pictures, I said, “You’re going to love this book.” We don’t always agree with our books, but I know when she’s going to love something that I’ve also loved. I gave her, last year, a subscription to Page One Books where they pick books they think that you’ll like. You give feedback and whatever. Anyway, I said, “You have to get this book.” She said, “I just got sent it by Page One Books,” as her book of the month.

Lisa: Oh, how nice. That’s so nice.

Zibby: I know. I was like, perfect. The bookstore knows my mom as well as I do.

Lisa: I love your mom. Tell your mom I love her. That’s good. There’s generations in this novel too. I have a crush on Marco and Sandro, but I also have a crush on Beppe and a little bit Massimo, the dads. That’s really weird. I lost my damn mind, honestly.

Zibby: We have to go to the bicycle bar and hang out.

Lisa: Right. I’m watching the Giro d’Italia like a freak.

Zibby: First, what are you working on now? Then what advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Lisa: I am just finishing the next domestic thriller. It is due Memorial Day. I have one more chapter to write. I have the big, emotional — I love emotionality in novels. I don’t care what the genre is. I never cop to any of that. Look at me, I’m a big cupcake. I wake up, I’m all mushy. I got the dogs. I got cats. I got chickens. I kiss horses. I don’t know what to tell you. I love when there’s heart in things. I’m finishing the next thriller. What was the other question? Then I’m going to write historical fiction again. I’m so excited about this next idea. Look, here’s the thing. At my age, I wanted to find a new gear. I wanted to write on a bigger canvas. That’s what I’m trying to do, and still write the thrillers because I think they matter so much. They’re just a really, really intimate story that has a narrow focus. Some have a bigger focus. Some will go deep. Some will go across. That’s the great joy and the blessing of my life, honestly. Look at all these books, by the way, all from independent bookstores and all signed. This is my signed collection. You should see my dining room.

Zibby: Oh, my gosh.

Lisa: I know. I live a life in books. I know how I lucky I am.

Zibby: Wait, what’s your next topic for historical fiction? Can you say?

Lisa: You know what? I can’t because I haven’t even told my editor yet. Even though I love you, Zibby, I can’t get fired at this point.

Zibby: No, don’t let me get you fired. That’s hilarious. I’ll be staying tuned when you announce it or whatever. Advice to aspiring authors?

Lisa: Here, I’m going to say, I have so much of it, but here’s the headline. Just do it. Just sit down and write. Don’t judge it. Philip Roth said it’s not for you to judge it. Get out of your own way and write it. I also want to say this. I always visualize it as kind of protecting your candle. Your wish to be a writer, your wish to write something is a little candle. You have to cover it with your hand just like people do. I always think of Nicole Kidman running around the house in The Others, in these drafty houses. The candle is your wish. We say to seven-year-olds, what do you want to be? They say a fireman. We don’t ask them when they’re thirty. We don’t ask them when they’re forty or fifty or seventy or seventy. You’re allowed to want to do something new. That’s what I said to myself with Eternals, even at my age with, supposedly, some credentials behind me. It was leap. I just want to say to people to take that leap. Just give it a shot.

Zibby: I love it. Lisa, thank you. This was so nice.

Lisa: Thank you. You’re the coolest. You are the coolest. I hope I didn’t go on and on.

Zibby: Thank you for making me feel so good. Thank you for this beautiful novel and all of your work and for making me laugh and all of the funny books I have of yours. Oh, my gosh, it’s just such a joy.

Lisa: You’re very sweet. I can’t wait to tell Francesca. Thank you so much for all that you’re doing for all of us of all ages, all women. There’s really no greater purpose. Thank you for that.

Zibby: Thank you. Bye.

Lisa: Buh-bye.

Lisa Scottoline, ETERNAL

ETERNAL by Lisa Scottoline

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