Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Q&A with Nan Fischer




Nan Fischer is the author of the new novel The Book of Silver Linings. Her other books include the novel Some of It Was Real. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.


Q: What inspired you to write The Book of Silver Linings, and how did you create your character Constance?


A: There were several inspirations for The Book of Silver Linings!


First, my husband gave me an antique ring for our engagement. All I know is that it’s from France, made in the late 1800s, but nothing about the woman who wore it. I’ve always wondered about who she was and the life she led.


The chance to create a story about the woman who wore Constance’s engagement ring, the man who had it made for her, and how their journey influenced Constance’s present life and future was wish fulfillment on my part.


Second, I wanted to tell a story about finding yourself and voice because that was such a difficult process for me. I basically dated the flotsam and jetsam of the boyfriend world and that led to a lot of unhappiness.


It wasn’t until I discovered my passions, became a whole person on my own, that I found the confidence to strive for my dreams and find a life partner—Henry.


Third, I wanted to tell a ghost story! I have an old black-and-white photo of Henry’s grandfather, Captain Charles H. Fischer, in 1911 with President Theodore Roosevelt at the Naval Station Great Lakes Training Center. Henry is a dead ringer for the grandfather he’s never met.


That gave me the idea of creating a ghost story to help Constance find her way, with hints of reincarnation. I love the idea that soulmates can reach through time and find each other again and again!


In creating Constance, it was important to build a character who allowed her difficult past and others’ actions to become core beliefs and guide her life’s choices.


I think that’s something we all do to some extent and it’s such a shame! We take on the negative things we heard in childhood about ourselves as fact or allow the actions of family members to cast a shadow over our lives.


I wanted to write a character who’s given the chance to captain her own ship with opportunities to control her present and future, if she’s brave enough to risk everything. As a result, her life becomes so much more than she’d ever imagined.


And that’s my hope for readers. That, despite whatever occurred in their lives, they’ll recognize that the decision of what to do now, how to live, and with whom, is ultimately a choice that can lead to whatever they dream.

Q: In our previous Q&A, you described titles as “the bane of my existence.” Was that the case this time too?


A: YES!!! I can write 400-page novels but coming up with a title is SO HARD! This title was a team effort. Thankfully my agent, Stephanie Kip Rostan, and my editor at Berkley, Kerry Donovan, aren’t afraid of my long lists of potential titles and helped me hone the title to The Book of Silver Linings.


I think it’s perfect for the story and there are so many meanings that I hope the reader will discover.


One is to be a silver lining in others’ lives. Whether that’s through acts of kindness, leaving a written legacy as my ghost does, giving forgotten and discarded animals love and a forever home, or being a thoughtful friend, parent or spouse… the list goes on and on with the similarity being that becoming anyone’s silver lining will ripple through your own life in myriad surprising and wonderful ways.


Q: The writer Karen White said of the book, “This feel good novel is about second chances, and feeling worthy enough to claim them.” What do you think of that description?


A: I think it’s wonderful! Karen really got the story. There’s always a chance for a second chance. But if we don’t feel worthy of good things and silver linings, it’s hard to see or reach for them.


And feeling worthy requires work! If we don’t value what we do in life, and what we give to others and the world just by being ourselves, then it’s hard to accept all the gifts life can bring.


Q: What do you think the novel says about keeping secrets?


A: There are a lot of secrets in this novel! Constance and Hayden keep so many from each other, and there’s no way to have true intimacy when there are secrets standing between two people—even if some of them are well-intentioned.


I don’t want to give anything away, but The Book of Silver Linings is about unabashedly sharing who you are, where you came from, and where you’d like to go. Without being authentic, relationships are doomed.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Thanks for asking! I’m working on the next novel, and it has a grip on my heart already. With each novel I focus on something I’m grappling with in my own life that I hope will resonate for readers.


In Some of It Was Real I wrote about Imposter Syndrome and how it impacts a psychic who’s unsure of her gifts and the journalist determined to prove she’s a fraud for all the wrong reasons.


In The Book of Silver Linings, I focused on authenticity, finding your raison d’étre and voice as well as the importance of being a silver lining for others and yourself.


This next novel, which I’m calling BOOK 3 (Titles are HARD!;-), I’m wrestling with perspective and how twins allowed tragedy to create the misbelief that love isn’t worth the grief; how creating a true home requires terrifying risk, and the only way to survive the tough times is through love and community. There’s also a giraffe named Vegas!   


Q: Anything else we should know?

A: I grew up with beagles rescued from medical testing and have always supported animal shelters.


One of the silver linings of writing this novel is the chance to shine a light on the important work that organizations like The Pixie Project (https://www.pixieproject.org) do as they strive to save abandoned animals and find them forever homes.


In the lead-up to publication day, I posted information about Pixie’s dogs and cats available for fostering and adoption. AND I will be donating a percentage of my pub-day sales to The Pixie Project. I hope readers will order The Book of Silver Linings so I can write them a BIG check!!!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Nan Fischer.

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