Author Interview and Review: The Scoop on Nancy Richardson Fischer

by Veronica Vivona

Nancy Richardson Fischer is an author of the new young adult novel, “The Speed of Falling Objects.” Before it was released to the general public, we got a sneak peak. Check out what we thought of it below!

Review of “The Speed of Falling Objects” by Nancy Richardson Fischer

“The Speed of Falling Objects” by Nancy Richardson Fischer is a YA story that’s the adventure of a lifetime. It follows a teen named Danny who has had a bit of a rough road. She’s looking for acceptance though when her dad who’s a television star with a show about being a survivalist invites her to be on an episode with him. All seems well until the plane crashes in the middle of the rainforest. From there, fears are faced and romances are started. Plus, there’s tons of adventure waiting for Danny out in the rainforest.

This is a book meant for anyone who loves epic journeys and complex characters (and also complex relationships). Danny faces her fears and learns so much about herself throughout this story. It’s not just for teens, but for any woman who has ever struggled with her own place in life. Danny finds her own strength and is a beautiful, unique heroine. “The Speed of Falling Objects” by Nancy Richardson Fischer is one adventurous read meant for anyone looking to find themselves.

Q&A with Nancy Richardson Fischer

We also had the chance to talk one-on-one with the author herself! Read the interview below:

Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do?
I’m a full-time author! But it was a long road to get here. I started out as the staff writer for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. I traveled with the show and wrote about both performers and animals. In fact, to get the job, I had to interview King Tusk (the largest traveling land mammal on the face of the earth) – a gigantic elephant!  I left that job because I couldn’t stand to see wild animals in captivity and became the Senior Campaign Writer for the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). 
 
It was fulfilling to raise money for worthy causes at UCSF, but not creative enough for me. I got a lucky break when I became a sports autobiographer, co-writing athletes’ books—a super fun job that started with Bela Karolyi (Rumanian gymnastic coach) and included tennis player Monica Seles, speed skater Apolo Ohno, gymnast Nadia Comaneci, and famed jockey, Julie Krone. During that time, I also wrote a “Star Wars” Junior Jedi Knights Trilogy for LucasFilm, which was a dream come true for a sci-fi geek like me. 
 
I’m thankful for all these experiences—learning to meet quick deadlines at the circus, writing in different voices for athletes, and navigating the Star Wars universe. But I’m also thrilled to finally write my own novels, bring characters to life, and let my imagination fly!

You wrote a novel called “The Speed of Falling Objects”that recently came out. What is it about and why were you inspired to write it? 
“The Speed of Falling Objects” is about a timid 17-year-old named Danger Danielle “Danny” Warren. Danny defines herself as defective, based on a childhood accident, her parents’ divorce, her mother’s bitterness and her father’s abandonment. When her dad, Cougar, a famous TV survivalist, calls out of the blue to invite Danny to be part of an episode of his show being filmed in the Amazon and featuring Gus, a teen movie idol, Danny jumps at the chance to prove she’s worthy of dad’s love. But their plane crashes in the rainforest, leaving some dead and others injured. Danny is forced to face everything that terrifies her, including the truth about the father she idolizes and the movie star she’s fallen for, and discover her unique strengths in order to find the way home.
 
“The Speed of Falling Objects” was inspired by two things…
 
First, I’m obsessed with survival stories. “Endurance,” where explorers struggle to reach the South Pole, “Touching the Void,” where mountaineers crawl down a mountain, “Indianapolis,” the worst sea disaster in US naval history. I’m also obsessed with the TV show “Naked and Afraid” —one man, one woman, no clothes, two survival items and the challenge of surviving in the wilderness for three week up to 60 days. 
 
Here’s why: I don’t think anyone knows who they are, or who the people around them are, until they’re pushed to the limit and forced to survive. So the Amazon, with 3600 species of spiders, 2.5 million insects and 17 types of venomous snakes seemed like the perfect place to set my novel, and to force Danny to overcome her fears, discover her unique strengths and face the truth about herself and her family.
 
Second, I’m really interested in the building blocks we use to define ourselves. We all base our sense of self on the past, stories recalled, misconceptions and even lies. I wanted to create a character who has defined herself based on a lie, and then give her the opportunity to discover that lie, redefine herself, take control of the narrative and become the hero of her life’s story. 

What do you want readers to gain the most from “The Speed of Falling Objects?”
I’d love my readers to finish this novel and ask themselves: Who am I? Is that perception based on the truth? Even if it is, is that who I wish to be? And if not, what am I going to do to redefine myself? We all have the power to shape our own lives and I want to propel my readers to do just that!

You also wrote “When Elephants Fly.” What’s it about and why were you inspired to write it?
“When Elephants Fly” is about a young woman named Lily who has an overwhelming family history of mental health conditions. She is trying to live a stress free life in the hope that she won’t trigger the same condition of schizophrenia her mom had. But when Lily witnesses the birth of an elephant calf at the local zoo, and the calf’s mother violently rejects her baby, Lily is drawn into caretaking the calf. Ultimately she risks her own freedom, sanity and first love on a desperate road trip to save the calf’s life and find her own wings. 
 
The inspiration for this story was my time at Ringling Bros. and my desire to shine a light on the horrible plight of wild animals in captivity, and also a dear friend, whose mom has a mental health condition. My friend chose to live in the moment despite her own fears (she had a 10% chance of having a mental health condition, too). It struck me that we all have things hanging over our head that can stop our lives. I wanted to write a story about living in the moment, because the moment is all any of us truly have, and the power of finding someone to love that matters more to us than ourselves.

Can you tell us about some of your plans for the near future? Do you have any plans for any upcoming novels?
I do!  In fact my next novel is already written. I can’t tell you about it quite yet, but as soon as I can say more, I’ll post it on my newsletter. Anyone can sign up to receive my newsletter a few times a year. It’s packed with sneak peeks, surprises and giveaways!

What sort of things do you want people to take away from your books? 
I write stories about young women who face adversity, sometimes life and death situations, and discover who they are through a compelling journey. I want to inspire my readers, create stories that show them that they’re not alone, and hopefully also take them on a heart-stopping, poignant adventure.

Can you tell us a bit about your writing process and how you create your novels?
My novels always begin with the question: WHAT IF? Those two words constantly bounce through my brain. I follow them down different rabbit holes. Sometimes they’re dead ends, but other times they lead to another world, a different way of looking at a situation, and to characters that become living, breathing, beings who then lead me in directions I never imagined. 
 
Throughout it all, I try to stay open to the process, even if it means I write 300 pages that I later scrap. Each word and chapter, even the discarded ones, and every stumbling block, is a chance to figure out a riddle, do something different, and ultimately to create the best book possible. 

What has been the biggest struggle for you as a writer?
It’s lonely!  It’s lonely when you are writing your first book and have no idea if anyone will ever read it. It’s lonely when you embark on finding an agent and deal with tons of rejection before signing with the perfect one. And it’s lonely when you’re out on submission and don’t know if all your hard work is actually going to result in selling your novel. Oh, and it’s lonely as you wait for pub day and pray that readers will find your novel in a sea of books!
 
That said, those struggles lead to moments of satisfaction, elation, and even euphoria. And throughout the process, I’ve met other authors who have been kind, shared their own journeys, and made me feel like I am now part of a creative, generous community. 

Is there a fun fact about yourself unrelated to being an author that might surprise our readers if you were to share it with them?
I like to scare myself. Whether it’s cycling a big mountain, kite surfing in 4-meter waves, or backcountry skiing down steep chutes, I’ve always loved the feeling of being scared and then overcoming that fear.

What advice would you give to struggling writers out there who are trying to accomplish their dreams?
Everyone says “don’t give up.” I heard that over and over again, each time I wanted to give up on my writing career. But it’s true. You don’t accomplish your dream overnight (at least most of us don’t). And if you give up, you’ll never know what you could have done if you’d only hung on. If you have a true passion for writing, never stop, regardless of your failures. Failures are the rungs of the ladder you will eventually climb to success. 

Where do you see yourself going from here?
Well, I definitely hope to keep writing. Pretty soon, I’m going to try my hand at writing in the adult category. I’d also love to see my books turned into series or a film. So I may write a few screenplays, too!

Do you have any final words of wisdom that you would like to share with our readers?
First, I’d like to thank you for having me on your blog! It’s truly been an honor. As for wisdom… I encourage your readers to question who they are and who they wish to become; to take control of the narrative, define themselves and become the hero of their own life’s story!

“The Speed of Falling Objects” is available for purchase starting on October 1, 2019. To learn more about Nancy Richardson Fischer, check out her website and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.

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