Skip to main content

Nan Fischer: On Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Award-winning writer Nan Fischer discusses the process of writing her new novel, Some Of It Was Real.

Nan Fischer is a two-time Oregon Book Award finalist for her novels, When Elephants Fly and The Speed of Falling Objects. Additional author credits include co-authored sport autobiographies for elite athletes, and a Star Wars trilogy for Lucasfilm. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their vizsla, Boone. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Nan Fischer: On Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Nan Fischer

In this post, Nan discusses the process of writing her new novel, Some Of It Was Real, the importance of overcoming imposter syndrome, and more!

Name: Nan Fischer
Literary agent: Stephanie Kip Rostan
Book title: Some Of It Was Real
Publisher: Berkley
Release date: July 26, 2022
Genre/category: Women’s Fiction/Romance
Previous titles: The Speed of Falling Objects; When Elephants Fly
Elevator pitch for the book: A psychic on the verge of stardom who isn’t sure she believes in herself and a cynical journalist with one last chance at redemption are brought together by secrets from the past that also threaten to tear them apart.

Nan Fischer: On Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

IndieBound | Bookshop | Amazon

What prompted you to write this book?

I have always felt a bit like an imposter. That sense of never truly believing in my abilities, despite accomplishments, education and experiences, was the seed that led me to write Some Of It Was Real. From there I considered how our origin stories—where we come from and the things that shape us—are based on old memories, perceptions, and sometimes even lies. Slowly, a story unfolded …

In my novel, I created a psychic-medium and a journalist that experienced imposter syndrome and were shaped by faulty origin stories and then gave them the chance to face their pasts and make decisions about who they wished to become. Sylvie and Thomas’s journey is a universal one—we all want to be courageous and strive for authenticity! Unfortunately, the desire to be accepted, admired, and meet other’s needs sometimes gets in the way.

While my own story is nothing like Sylvie’s or Thomas’s, my road to an authentic life and career was also a winding one with mistakes and major stumbles. That led to the understanding that despite my insecurities, I’m no more of an imposter than anyone else! Ultimately, I wanted to write a page-turner with a dark mystery, and compelling characters suffering from universal challenges that showed that with enough courage and grace it’s possible for anyone to discover the truth and find their way.

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? And did the idea change during the process?

I wrote Some Of It Was Real in about six month but then spent three months editing and working with my incredible agent, Stephanie Kip Rostan at Levine, Greenberg Rostan. While the main trajectory of the story didn’t change during that process, as I got to know my characters better they informed some directions I didn’t originally plan to go! That’s the thing about writing—you can plot and plot and plot, but sometimes your characters end up having a mind of their own!

After Kerry Donovan at Berkley bought Some Of It Was Real, her expert guidance resulted in so many touches that helped make the story tighter and better. It was about a year from date of purchase to my pub date. That’s actually pretty much the norm—it takes time to copy edit, design a cover and for Berkley’s incredible PR, Marketing and Sales team to work their magic.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

I’ve been fortunate enough to be in the writing world for a while—I’ve co-written sport autobiographies, a Junior Jedi Star Wars trilogy for LucasFilm, and two young adult novels—so the process wasn’t surprising. But this is my first novel with Berkley and it has been an absolute joy to work with such a wonderful team. I’m excited for what’s next!

Nan Fischer: On Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

It was important to me to make this story as authentic as possible so I dove into research about all types of psychics—lucky me! I watched TV shows and countless videos and read everything about psychics, mediums, and palm and tarot readers that I could find—from all perspectives. I even took the opportunity to have readings from two very well known psychic-mediums.

I think what surprised me the most is how opinionated people are about what’s possible or real, while I was left wondering if it mattered as long as the interactions helped in cases of grief or provided positive direction for those who felt lost. Of course, I’m not talking about the grief vampires who prey on the most vulnerable people! After all my research and writing this novel, in the end, I have no idea what’s real … but believe some of it is!

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

What I hope my readers take away from Some Of It Was Real, besides my fascination with psychic-mediums, family secrets, and romances that overcome huge roadblocks, is that just like my main characters, Thomas and Sylvie, your origin story isn’t necessarily the truth. It’s based on your perceptions. And self-doubt and feeling like an imposter at times is part of the human experience. But what we choose to do, despite our insecurities and fears, is what matters.

If you could share one piece of advice with other writers, what would it be?

I feel like every author says this, but read! I’m a voracious reader in every genre and learn so much from other authors’ choices and talent. There are so many authors who inspired me to become a writer and every time I read one of their new novels it expands my abilities and horizons.

Fundamentals of Fiction

Have an amazing story idea, but need to learn the basics of how to write a book? Creating a story that is dynamic and engaging takes a lot more than just setting aside an hour every day to write. This course will take you through all of the basics of writing a novel, including how important it is to choose a great setting, how to build characters, what point of view you should choose, how to write great dialogue, and more.

Click to continue.

Historical Fiction Authors Don’t Expect Their Characters’ Battles To Appear in Modern Headlines, but Here We Are

Historical Fiction Authors Don’t Expect Their Characters’ Battles To Appear in Modern Headlines, but Here We Are

What happens to historical fiction when history repeats itself? Author Addison Armstrong discusses writing about the past and seeing it reflected in the present.

From Script

Art and Independence (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, exclusive interviews with Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” television writer Vanessa Benton, Allegoria writer-director Spider One, Hulu’s Prey screenwriter Patrick Aison and director Dan Trachtenberg, and more!

Steven Hartov: On Shocking Truths in Historical Fiction

Steven Hartov: On Shocking Truths in Historical Fiction

New York Times bestselling author Steven Hartov discusses the surprising truths he discovered when writing his new historical fiction novel, The Last of the Seven.

Larry Beinhart: On Rejection Leading to Mystery

Larry Beinhart: On Rejection Leading to Mystery

Award-winning author Larry Beinhart discusses what he learned in the process of writing his new mystery novel, The Deal Goes Down.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: A Competition Announcement, 6 WDU Courses, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our self-published e-book awards, 6 WDU courses, and more!

Leah Franqui: On Killing Our Critical Inner Voices

Leah Franqui: On Killing Our Critical Inner Voices

Award-winning playwright and author Leah Franqui discusses how she examined her life through a fictive lens with her new novel, After the Hurricane.

Pacing Your Fight Scene (FightWrite™)

Pacing Your Fight Scene (FightWrite™)

Trained fighter and author Carla Hoch discusses how to pace your story's fight scene and shares three examples from writers who tackle pacing differently.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Rushing the Drafting Process

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Rushing the Drafting Process

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's mistake is rushing the drafting process.

Kwana Jackson: On Finding the Right Home for Your Story

Kwana Jackson: On Finding the Right Home for Your Story

USA Today bestselling author Kwana Jackson discusses writing her new romance novel, Knot Again.