TODAY   |  October 01, 2013

‘Eat, Pray, Love’ author turns to past in new novel

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of best-seller “Eat, Pray, Love,” is out with a new novel set in the 19thcentury. She tells TODAY’s Natalie Morales that she wanted her next book to get back to her roots in “imaginative fiction.”

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>> the book eat, pray, love releases her first novel in more than a decade. what took her so long? we'll ask her but first, this is "today" on nbc.

>>> she is back with eat, pray, love that was made into a hit movie in 2010 . well, now, gilbert is out with her first novel in 13 years. it's called the signature of all things. elizabeth gilbert , good to have you back.

>> thank you. thanks for having me back.

>> first novel in 13 years. were you nervous about diving into this? there's a lot of research that went into this book.

>> it's a big book . i wanted to write the novel i love to read. a big sweeping multigeneration epic that takes place with many family members involved. so i did a ton of research on 19th century to write the book. it was fun. i'm a geek. so i geeked out on that.

>> you could see the geekiness in the description of the mosque.

>> my character is a bold independentexplorer. so i did learn a lot about it and as a passionate gardener it was exciting to dive into that.

>> you called what happened after eat, pray, love a tsunami. does that intimidate you? the reaction you'll get with the book? because it is different for you?

>> yeah, in some ways it's the same. it's a woman's story and asks what is her purpose, how do we find our journey in life? how do we answer our prayers through travel. but it's a novel so it's different so the hardest thing for me was to write the book that came after eat, pray, love, committed but once i broke the smell with that i felt really expansive and free and i thought i want to go back to where i started off as a writer, writing big imaginative fiction.

>> you still tackle love, marriage, relationships. she gets divorced and sets off on these world travels looking for samples of moss.

>> yeah and answers about her own personal life as well.

>> how do you feel.

>> how do you feel about the institution of marriage.

>> i like my marriage but famously i'm married to a man who says a woman's place is in the kitchen with her feet up and glass of wine in the kitchen watching her husband cook dinner.

>> is that who you are.

>> i'm the one with my feet up and glass of wine watching my husband cook dinner. we have a very different relationship. he's a great champion of me. it 's wonderful . it's rare to this day that women have somebody behind them that says you go back in the world and make a name for yourself and i'll be home supporting you. that's the relationship we have. it's been wonderful.

>> how do you think this book is going to be received after all the tsunami of eat, pray, love?

>> i don't know how it will be received but i know how it is offered. it comes from my heart for my readers. i wrote it for them with a lot of love.

>> it's beautifully written. it's a gorgeous epic. thank you very much. elizabeth gilbert . it's called signature of all things. we're back with much more on this tue

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