Nan Fischer’s new novel Some Of It Was Real published on July 26, 2022. Nan is a graduate of Cornell University and former Traveling Writer for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Senior Campaign Writer for The University of California, San Francisco. Nan’s articles have appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, The Huffington Post, Powell’s Book Blog, YA Books Central, Germ Magazine, Hypable, and School Library Journal. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Henry, and sometimes vorpal, but always lovable, Vizsla, Boone. When she’s not conjuring a story or reading, Nan can be found hiking, biking, kitesurfing, skiing or planning her family’s next adventure.
Synopsis of Some Of It Was Real from the publisher:
Psychic-medium Sylvie Young starts every show with her origin story, telling the audience how she discovered her abilities. But she leaves out a lot—the plane crash that killed her parents, an estranged adoptive family who tend orchards in rainy Oregon, panic attacks, and the fact that her agent insists she research some clients to ensure success.
After a catastrophic reporting error, Thomas Holmes’s next story at the L.A. Times may be his last, but he’s got a great personal pitch. “Grief vampires” like Sylvie who prey upon the loved ones of the deceased have bankrupted his mother. He’s dead set on using his last-chance article to expose Sylvie as a conniving fraud and resurrect his career.
When Sylvie and Thomas collide, a game of cat and mouse ensues, but the secrets they’re keeping from each other are nothing compared to the mysteries and lies they unearth about Sylvie’s past. Searching for the truth might destroy them both—but it’s the only way to find out what’s real.
Nan answers some questions that I posed to her about Some Of It Was Real:
1. Can you share something with me about your book that is not in the blurb?
My fascination with psychics began decades ago on a flight nicknamed “the vomit comet” (due to turbulent mountain air) to a small town in Colorado. After buckling in, I immediately checked the seat pocket for a paper bag and then apologized to my elegant gray-haired seatmate should the need arise to use it. In reply, she asked to see my palm. It turned out she was a famous psychic on her way to Aspen to work at someone’s fancy party.
I asked a lot of questions during that flight. The last one, as we prepared to land, was “will I ever get married?” The psychic looked up from my hand and, with a twinkle in her eye, said: “if you want it enough.” A famous psychic basically told me that nothing was written in stone! She gave me an open invitation to choose my path as well as distracting me from the airsickness I thought was imminent.
Over the ensuing years, I thought a lot about the role that psychic played in my life and how direction can be shaped by the past. For example, what if she’d told me that everything in life came down to fate and I believed her? Would I have ignored opportunities, or not taken an active role in my life?
For Some Of It Was Real I wanted to delve into memory, the stories we’re told and the ones we tell ourselves to explain who we are and the choices we make. I created two characters defined by traumatic experiences, lies and misperceptions then gave them the chance to alter their life’s course by facing the past and taking an active role in deciding who they wanted to be and their future.
2. What do you hope your readers take away from your book?
Some Of It Was Real is about Sylvie, a psychic-medium who doesn’t quite believe in her gifts, and Thomas, a cynical journalist who is determined to prove she’s a fraud for very personal reasons. But Sylvie and Thomas have more in common than they first realize and both suffer from imposter syndrome—doubts about their skills, talents and abilities. I hope readers can identify with them as we all feel like imposters at some point in our lives! And I hope that at the end of the story readers will look at their own lives, understand a bit better where their insecurities come from, and realize that if they’re brave enough to face the past there’s an opportunity to live a more authentic, fulfilling life.
3. What surprised you the most when writing this book?
What surprised me most about writing Some Of It Was Real was that I thought my research would lead me to a conclusion about what I believe. I watched documentaries, movies, and TV shows about psychics, clairvoyants and mediums and read studies and articles written by individuals whose goals are to prove the supernatural is a hoax. But in the end, the only real conclusion I drew was that some of it might be real.
That said, I know there are people out there who have no moral compass and their goal is to just make money off of the grieving and lost. But others work tirelessly to provide their clients with much needed closure. In the case of the latter, I realized, surprisingly, that it doesn’t matter to me if a psychic-medium is real as long as they end someone’s suffering and allow them to move on.
4. Are you working on anything at the present that you would like to share with me?
I’m so lucky to have another novel in the works with Berkley Publishing and my fantastic editor Kerry Donovan! It’s about a woman named Constance who says yes to everyone, including a proposal from the boyfriend she’s unsure she should marry. He gives her an antique engagement ring and in the course of researching its history, she discovers the long-dead man who originally designed the ring wrote letters home from World War One that were compiled into a book. Constance finds the letters in Special Collections at the library and writes a note to the deceased author sharing her fears about her engagement. When she returns to read more of the letters, she discovers that he’s written her back…
5. Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you:
I thought I’d list a few things readers don’t know about me…
- I love kite surfing, cycling, and skiing.
- My dog, Boone, shows up in every novel I write.
- I once got a job at a fancy bakery in Aspen, Colorado by telling the owner I had a carrot cake recipe handed down by my great grandmother but the recipe actually came from a famous cookbook (with a few modifications).
- I was a traveling writer for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and learned how to juggle, was sneezed on by an elephant and a Bengal tiger peed on me.
- I am still afraid of the dark.
6. What are you reading now and what have you read recently that you loved?
I am always reading at least three books at a time! Recently, I loved Heard It in a Love Song by Tracey Garvis Graves, Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier, We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz, The Keep by Jennifer Egan, and The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley. Currently I’m reading The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd.
Order Some of It Was Real from Bookshop.org.