Author and neuroscientist Lisa Genova discusses her novels - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Author and neuroscientist Lisa Genova discusses her novels

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YAKIMA, WA - A New York Times bestselling author made a visit to Yakima, packing the Capitol Theatre with hundreds of people for the Town Hall Speaker Series. 

Her name is Lisa Genova, but she isn't just a writer: she's also a neuroscientist. Chances are you'll recognize Lisa's books more than her name.

Lisa's most successful novel? Still Alice. It was adapted into a movie of the same name two years ago, and actress Julianne Moore won an Oscar for her portrayal of Alice Howland.

Earlier today at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Yakima, Genova talked about how she became a writer.

Still Alice was her first book, and she wrote it after her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Being a neuroscientist, Genova knew the science behind her grandmother's disease...but not the actual human experience of it. Writing the book was a way to connect with her grandmother.

The rest of her novels all deal with diseases that we still don't see a lot of open discussion about, like Huntington's disease, traumatic brain injuries, and autism.

"If we're ever going to get treatments and cures, we can't cure something that seemingly doesn't exist," said Genova. "So we need to talk about it. We need to raise awareness and urgency around these disorders and diseases so that people know about them. I hope my books really bring a conversation about topics that people had been previously too afraid to talk about." 

It took Genova about a year and a half to write Still Alice. Now, she finishes a book in about a year. Her next novel will be about ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

There are plans to turn another one of her books into a movie, but when we asked, she wouldn't say which one.