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What Were You Thinking?

What Were You Thinking?

By Dana Goldstein
A podcast that invites authors to share the evolution of their books from the "What If" musings to the words on the page.
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Summer Replay Series: Season 1, Episode 6: Representing Culture - Brittney Morris, Slay
Brittney Morris performed what most writers would consider an impossible feat: she wrote an entire novel in 12 days. After being inspired by the Black Panther movie, Brittney decided to write a story about a 17-year-old high schooler who developed a game played by the global black community. Brittney wanted to participate in Pitch Wars, a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for an agent showcase. She had 14 days to produce an entire manuscript. So she did. In this episode, Brittney shares how she feels the pressure to represent her race, how she overcame more than 200 rejections and what the full-time writing life means to her. Learn more about Brittney on her website. Check our her author profile on Amazon. To learn more about me, my books and for past episodes, visit
August 02, 2022
Season 2, Episode 15: Characters to warm your heart - Clare Pooley, Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting
Both of Clare Pooley's novels do a fantastic job of capturing what it is to be authentically human. It's ironic, given that she wrote a blog about her alcoholism anonymously for years. She is a master at multiple character narratives; The Authenticity Project and Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting are heartwarming, with characters you hate and love and back again. In this episode, Clare shares what led her to start the Mommy was a Secret Drinker blog, her journey to publication, managing multiple characters, and how she waled away from a complete 90,000 word manuscript. Watch her TedX talk: Read about the abandoned novel: Learn more about Clare: Learn more about the host: Support the podcast:
July 19, 2022
Season 2, Episode 14: Southern charm reflected in prose - Beth Duke, It All Comes Back to You
The love Beth Duke holds for her home state of Alabama is abundantly clear in her novels. Through It All Comes Back to You and Tapestry, she brings the south to life through her characters, their dialogue and the way they live. She charmed me through her novels and through this conversation. She shares her experiences with book clubs, agents and the traditional publishing world and is candid about how she found INCREDIBLE success as an independent author. Find her books on her website. Mentions in this episode: Learn more about the Marshall Space Centre. Novel Bitches Canadian sources for book subscription boxes: Support this podcast on Patreon. Learn more about the host, Dana Goldstein.
July 05, 2022
Season 2, Episode 13: The dark side of Young Adult - Kelly DeVos, Go Hunt Me
Kelly DeVos is the author of 5 young adult novels. She has a remarkable gift for tapping into the fears and insecurities of teenagers, but it's the dark side of her characters that really shines. The young women who are her main characters are determined, saucy and smart- mouthed. It's hard not to see your younger self in the pages of her novels. In this episode, we talk about strong YA characters, her journey to publication and the not always nice feedback. Visit Kelly's website. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. STICKERS!!!! Learn more about Trixie Belden. Visit the host, Dana Goldstein's, website. Support the podcast on Patreon.
June 21, 2022
Season 2, Episode 12: Going from public service to published author - Pat Duckworth, Menopause Mind the Gap.
Pat Duckworth was caught off guard by the need to share what she knows about menopause. After time at a retreat, she discovered she did have a book in her, trying to get out. Actually, she had five books waiting to see the light of day. Over the UK, where she lives and works, Pat has become the go-to expert on managing menopause symptoms using mind/body techniques. She is also leading the way for workplace awareness, helping businesses understand how to keep menopausal women working and making accommodations for their changing needs. Visit her website. Read about the menopause discrimination in the workplace: Support the podcast by becoming a patron.
June 07, 2022
Season 2, Episode 11: Baring it all in memoir - Marci Warhaft, The Good Stripper
When you first meet Marci Warhaft, you immediately recognize a woman who is confident in who she is. She is fun and outgoing. She dances on TikTok. She is never afraid to take a chance. That's the Marci I've known for a decade. But when I picked up The Good Stripper, I was stunned with what I found in those pages: a series of traumatic events, the struggle with an eating disorder, a sex life she really didn't want, and a lifestyle not commonly associated with motherhood.  The Good Stripper is so candid, I felt uncomfortable learning these things about my friend. It proved that you never know what is happening behind closed doors or in someone's head. In this episode we talk about Marci's life, her experience writing the book, and how she manages the feedback and fallout common when writing memoir. Visit Marci's wesbite. Support the podcast. Learn more about the host, Dana Goldstein.
May 24, 2022
Season 2, Episode 10: Having Fun with Chaos - Christine Kilbourne, The Limitless Sky
Young Adult author Christina Kilbourne has tackled some tough topics in her novels: suicide, homelessness, and mental health, to name a few. The Limitless Sky, a dystopian YA novel set 700 years in the future was a complete departure from what she is accustomed to writing. In this episode, we discuss her process, her challenges and and why she decided to switch gears to dystopian fiction. Learn more about Christina on her website. Watch the video mentioned in the podcast. Support the podcast through Patreon. Visit Dana Goldstein's website.
May 10, 2022
Season 2, Episode 9: Taking the Shot - H.N. Khan, Wrong Side of the Court
H.N. Khan was going to be a lawyer, until he realized there were other choices he could make. His journey took a very different turn, exposing and connecting HN Khan to the startup and tech world. As his career as a tech writer emerged and evolved, Humayun enrolled in Humber’s writing program. That program led him to new connections in the writing world, laying the groundwork for Wrong Side of the Court. Learn more about H.N. Khan by visiting his website. Learn more about the host, Dana Goldstein. Become a Patron.
April 26, 2022
Season 2, Episode 8: Five Hundred Million Years in the longest Squid Game ever - Danna Staaf, Monarchs of the Sea
If this was an episode of Who Would Win: Dinosaurs or Cephalopods, the squids would come out on top. While dinosaurs fossils get all the glory, it's the cephalopod fossils who have been doing all the work of telling the story of survival. After already surviving five (5!!!) mass extinctions, the cephalopods are likely the ocean creatures that will survive the next one. They are truly the Monarchs of the Sea, rising to the top from the deepest, darkest places of the sea. In this episode, I talk to author Danna Staff whose book examines the fossil records of cephalpods - squid, octopus and cuttlefish. We talk about their evolution, their survival skills, the challenges of studying creatures of the sea, and how they have managed to stick around this blue marble for so long. Visit Danna's website. Watch the EVNautilus YouTube videos. Save the Nautilus initiative. The latest cephalopod (maybe) discovery. Learn more about the host, Dana Goldstein. Become a Patron.
April 12, 2022
Season 2, Episode 7: Enviromance, Rom Com and Cursed Books - Jennifer Sommersby/Eliza Gordon, Welcome to Planet Laura
Jennifer Sommersby started writing rom-coms (romantic comedies) under the pseudonym of Eliza Gordon as she was in the waiting game of edits/revisions/publication for a young adult novel. She has penned 8 books under that name, the latest a three-part series - Planet Lara. Welcome to Planet Lara is an enviromance - environmental romance - with excellent characters (I hated Lara for most of the book) and incidents that keep you turning pages. In this episode, we talk about Jennifer's author journey, writing unlikeable characters and writing under a pseudonym. Check out all the quirk that is Eliza Gordon. Read about Sleight and Scheme (the Undoing, in Canada) on this website. Learn more about your host, Dana Goldstein. Support the podcast on Patreon.
March 29, 2022
Season 2, Episode 6: Non-fiction that's hard to swallow - Mary Boone, Bugs for Breakfast
Mary Boone is the author of more than 60 non-fiction books for young readers. She has written about everything from boy bands, the Biebs and in her latest book, bugs. Bugs for Breakfast is an informative, engaging book, not just for middle grade readers, but for adults as well. It will open your eyes (and you mind) to a culinary experience that is becoming less quirky trend and more global necessity. During this interview, Mary talks about her experience as a non-fiction author, her journey to writing Bugs for Breakfast, and how to get over our squeamishness when it comes to ingesting insects. Learn more about Mary on her website. Learn more about the host, Dana Goldstein. Support this podcast on Patreon.
March 15, 2022
Season 2 Episode 5: Releasing the badass - Laura Ballerini, The Green Velvet Chair
When first-time author and full-time business owner Laura Ballerini sat down to write some stories, she didn't anticipate the transformation that would take place inside her soul. From a very young age, Laura was introduced to art through her mother's skill with crafting, fixing, and cooking. Now, as a graphic designer, Laura realizes just how endemic art is to all our lives. In this episode, we discuss the impact of art, how she found time to fit writing into an already busy creative life and the power of story. Visit Laura's website. To learn more about host Dana Goldstein, visit
March 01, 2022
Season 2 Episode 4: The worst best part of high school - Kalena Miller, The Night When No One Had Sex
Kalena  Miller's debut novel will take you back to everything that was horrible and awesome about high school. There's junk food, fighting, texting, and prom night. You know what's missing? Sex. The night that was carefully planned goes horribly wrong. You'll laugh out loud, but also feel deeply connected to the characters in The Night When No One Had Sex. Buy the book. Follow Kalena on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. To learn more about the host, Dana Goldstein, visit her website.
February 15, 2022
Season 2 Episode 3: The feminist voice in print - Christina Dalcher, Femlandia
As the author of 3 bestselling dystopian novels with strong female characters, Christina Dalcher is often painted as a feminist. There are so many more layers to this linguist-now-author. While her first novel, Vox, brought the issue of silencing women to the table, her latest, Femlandia, examines life in broken-down world, where women are building colonies and not everything is as idyllic as it appears. SHOW NOTES: Watch MRI and ultrasound footage of a tongue in motion: Learn more about Christina on her website. Learn more about the host, Dana Goldstein.
February 01, 2022
Season 2 Episode 2: Using fiction to teach kids about death - Joanne Levy, Sorry For Your Loss
Sorry For Your Loss is a poignant, touching and sometimes funny story about Evie, a girl whose family runs a Jewish funeral home. In this episode, Joanne and I talk about how kids can learn about hard topics through reading, what some of the challenges are when writing for middle grade and why the feedback from young readers means so much to her. Visit Joanne's website. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook. Find out more about your host at
January 18, 2022
Season 2 Episode 1: Channelling the Young Adult Voice - Bev Katz Rosenbaum, I'm Good and Other Lies
Bev Katz Rosenbaum never intended to write a pandemic book. She had written the story about high schooler Kelsey Kendler long before lockdowns, but she was struggling with how to frame the story. When COVID-19 forced us all to remain in our homes, Bev knew this was the perfect environment for Kelsey's story to emerge and grow. It's a story of survival, failure and how one girl makes it through the wreck of a year. In this episode, Bev shares how she was able to find her YA (Young Adult) voice, the challenges she faced when booking author events, and how she has grown as a writer. Visit Bev's Website: Read Emilia Bassano's published book of poetry, Salve Deus Red Judaeorum: Learn more about your host, Dana Goldstein, and check out her own work, on her website.
January 04, 2022
Episode 16: The Poetry Cheat Sheet - Uncommon Grounds by the Espresso Poetry Collective
In this unconventional (for me) episode, I chat with five o the six poets behind the Espresso Poetry Collective. Over the course of our conversation, these wonderful women school me on what it means to be a poet, how to read poetry, and where we can see poetry in our everyday lives. Where poetry once once relegated to a small section at the back of the bookstore, the art form has exploded into mainstream over the last few years (Rupi Kaur, anyone?). The poets of the collective started as a course and finished as a close group whose friendship goes beyond the bindings of their book. Buy Uncommon Grounds
December 21, 2021
Episode 15: Playing with Food - Julie Van Rosendaal, Dirty Food
Julie Van Rosendaal has built a brilliant career as a cookbook author, food blogger, chef, and teacher. She is an icon in Calgary's food community and an ardent advocate for food access. In this episode, not only do we talk about Dirty Food (her 11th cookbook), we discuss the publishing industry, diet culture, #buttergate and food security. In an extremely bold move, Julie decided to make her 12th cookbook, Cookies I Have Loved available only through her purchase and independent bookstores. A portion of direct sales through her website —$1 per book— will directly support food-related community initiatives (school and community pantries and kitchens, sending meals to ICU staff). Buy the book. Follow Julie on Twitter and Instagram. See your Phil Booth horoscope here. Read the Globe & Mail article that became #buttergate. For more information about me and my books, visit my website.
December 07, 2021
Episode 14: The books we can't live without
Whether you are a reader or a writer, you have THAT ONE BOOK that changed things for you. It might be the book you read as a teen that rocked your world, or the book that made you want to become a writer - or a better writer. Maybe it's a book that gives you comfort when you need it, that is as familiar as your own face looking in the mirror. For this special episode, which I had planned on releasing as a holiday special later in December, I asked the authors I've interviewed to share that book with us. And with supply chain issue affecting bookstore all over the world, I wanted to give you adequate time to pick these up, should you want to gift them or keep for yourself. I've collected all the books, including those the authors penned, in a Goodreads list. Check our my own books on my website.
November 23, 2021
Episode 13: Murder and Mayhem in office? - All is Well with Katherine Walker
This debut novel is a crazy ride. From the very first page, I was hooked, wanting to know why a priest murdered a parishioner with a candlestick. If that feels reminiscent of a game of Clue (Colonel Mustard, in the library, with a knife), you're not wrong. There are enough twists and turns and unexpected, laugh out loud moments in All is Well to give you literary whiplash. Buy All is Well. To learn more about the Beringia Land Mass: My Sister the Serial Killer: Check out my own work at my website.
November 09, 2021
Episode 12: Tackling high fantasy - P.L. Stuart, A Drowned Kingdom
There is nothing about P.L. Stuart that I found intimidating. He is friendly, kind and generous with his time. A law enforcement employee by day (and night, because shift work), he has been in some harrowing situations. His calm demeanour would diffuse any tense situation, a handy trait when it comes to managing the seven children he and wife Debbie share. He is quite the opposite of the protagonist he created in A Drowned Kingdom. Othrun is entitled, spoiled, racist, bigoted - not entirely likeable at the start. But over the course of 400+ pages, you'll feel connected to the prince without a kingdom. I have not read much high fantasy. It's not my typical genre. But the fact that I am eagerly awaiting book 2 (coming in 2022), tells you a great deal a bout P.L.'s skill as a writer. Get your copy of A Drowned Kingdom. To learn more about your host and her own books, visit
October 26, 2021
Episode 11: Putting it all out there - Rebecca Eckler, Blissfully Blended Bullshit
Rebecca Eckler has spent most of her writing career sharing her life and her opinions. She was a columnist for the Globe and Mail and the National Post, sharing stories of motherhood and her view of the world. As the executive editor for, Rebecca writes about her parenting style, opening her up to criticism and hateful comments. Her writing style is candid and open. She is brutally honest about her own experiences and shares freely in her memoirs. As the founder of the weekly newsletter, Re:Books, Rebecca champions Canadian women authors, from the obscure to the mainstream. Once you dive into her books, you'll feel you know her and that you've been friends for years. In this episode we talk about everything from pregnancy to menopause, from publishing to promotion.
October 12, 2021
Episode 10: Being a bee custodian, Dana Church - The Beekeepers
Dana Church's new middle grade non-fiction, The Beekeepers, isn't just for kids. Her research is sound and the information shared within its pages is valuable for readers of any age. If you didn't know our bees were in trouble, this book will help you understand why and give you tools to do something about it. The Beekeepers changed my relationship with the chonky buzzers in my own backyard and I now watch them with interest rather than run squealing into the house. Follow Dana on Twitter or Instagram or visit her website. To learn about Dr. Shiela Colla and the bee nest sniffer dogs: Research Article here: Learn more about Working Dogs for Conservation: Check out my own books:
September 28, 2021
Episode 9: Documenting the entrepreneurial journey - Elise Russell, Behave Boldly
In this episode, you’re going to meet Elise Russel, author of Behave Boldly, a memoir of her entrepreneurial journey so far. The book chronicles the details of her struggles and successes as she built her company, Pony Friday. Her story is not complete however, and during the conversation Elise is candid about what it’s really like to build and run your own business. Full disclosure here - I’ve known Elise for more than half of her entrepreneurial life. I’m proud to call her my friend and have supported her through many walks in the park, chats about clients and coffee dates in the before times. I was a fan before she had even written the first paragraph of Behave Boldly. Buy the Book Link to the #WhatPublishingPaidMe spreadsheet, where you can browse the list of authors who voluntarily shared how much their advances were (or weren't). [live at time of this episode's release] To listen to past episodes, learn more about your host, Dana Goldstein, or to order her books, visit
September 14, 2021
Episode 8: Turning reality in dystopian fiction - Waubgeshig Rice, Moon of the Crusted Snow
Waubgeshing Rice, Waub to all those who know him, has been crafting stories from the age of 17. He started reporting when he was an exchange student in Germany, went to journalism school and worked for CBC Television as a reporter before his latest novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, enabled him to focus on writing full time. Anyone who remembers the blackout of 2003 will find parallels to that eastern seaboard chaos in Waub's novel. In this episode, Waub talks about his early experience as an exchange student, how his culture influences his writing, and how his grandmother is a voice he paid tribute to in the novel. Buy Moon of the Crusted Snow Follow Waub on Twitter Read the Maclean's article where Waub shares his views on Ryerson Listen to more episodes and learn more about your host, Dana Goldstein
August 31, 2021
Episode 7: Writing LGBTQ+ Fiction - Judith Clark, Under the Radar
Judith Clark absolutely set out to write a novel about a gay boy living in rural Alberta. The controversy in the province over GSA's - Gay Straight Alliances - inspired her to tell the story of a high schooler who choses to keep his sexuality a secret until he graduates. Gunnar has a lot at stake: his space on the wrestling team, his friendships and his plans to stay under the radar until his final day. Life gets in the way, and Gunnar is set on a path he never intended to take so soon. In this episode, we talk about how Judith was able to get inside a teenager's head and her path to writing the novel. To learn more about Judith and to purchase Under the Radar, visit her website. To learn more about me, my books and for past episodes, visit
August 17, 2021
Episode 6: Representing Culture - Brittney Morris, Slay
Brittney Morris performed what most writers would consider an impossible feat: she wrote an entire novel in 12 days. After being inspired by the Black Panther movie, Brittney decided to write a story about a 17-year-old high schooler who developed a game played by the global black community. Brittney wanted to participate in Pitch Wars, a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for an agent showcase. She had 14 days to produce an entire manuscript. So she did. In this episode, Brittney shares how she feels the pressure to represent her race, how she overcame more than 200 rejections and what the full-time writing life means to her. Learn more about Brittney on her website. Check our her author profile on Amazon. To learn more about me, my books and for past episodes, visit
August 03, 2021
Episode 5: Risking it all for freedom - Karen Patterson, Taking on China
When Canadian Karen Patterson moved to China, she fully intended to spend the rest of her life there. While there, she built businesses, learned the language, got married and gave birth to her daughter. She never imagined her life would be completely upturned when her husband, Chinese artist Wu Yuren, disappeared. For years, Karen struggled to find him, and when she did, the fight to free him from the clutches of the Chinese government began. As a foreigner in a foreign land, Karen was the only one who could help. Taking on China is a riveting look behind the red wall - at the people, the art world, and the obstacles one woman faces in her search for freedom. Purchase Taking on China. To listen to more episodes, or to check out my books, visit
July 20, 2021
Episode 4: Writing the Taboo topics - Heather Levy, Walking Through Needles
From the very first lines of Walking Through Needles, you'll know you're in for a ride. This debut novel, by Heather Levy, is rich with characters that will run you through the spectrum of emotion and will make you squirm. Yet still, you won't be able to stop turning the pages. In this conversation, Heather talks about BDSM, Pitch Wars and the challenges of writing about sexual assault. WARNINGS: We talk about some very adult topics: masturbation, assault, bondage, sadism and masochism. Purchase Walking Through Needles. Read the article about pain referenced in this episode here and her twenty year lie here. Follow Heather on Twitter. To listen to more episodes, or to check out my books, visit
July 06, 2021
Episode 3: The business of books - Tammy Plunkett, Clinical Trial
Tammy Plunkett started writing Clinical Trial to quell the boredom of being a stay-at-home-mom to four children. Ten years after she first completed the book, she took it out of the drawer to revisit the romantic thriller, updated it, edited it and hit publish. It was perfect timing for this ex-ICU nurse to launch a book that reads like a string of Grey's Anatomy episodes. In the midst of a pandemic, there was something medical we could get into without feeling scared or overwhelmed. Learn more about Tammy: For more episodes, visit To inquire about being a guest, contact Dana.
June 22, 2021
Bonus Episode: Meet your host, Dana Goldstein
I thought it was probably a good idea to introduce myself in a solo episode. I've kept it short (the self-effacing voice in my head tells me I'm not that interesting), and I've dropped a couple of weird things most people don't know about me. I've shared why I decided to start this podcast and how I use book reviews on Goodreads. To learn more about me, visit You can buy my books wherever books are sold, or buy them directly from my website for signed and personalized copies. Check out my other life as the owner of Digital Shoebox (where I offer video and written content for others). Find me on: Twitter Facebook Instagram
June 10, 2021
Episode 2: Telling the hard story - Michelle Good, Five Little Indians
Michelle Good took 9 years to write Five Little Indians. As a member of the Cree nation, she had first-hand knowledge of the experiences of those who had been sent to Canada's residential schools. She wanted her novel to answer two questions: what happens when the children are released and how do they function in the world. She answers both of those with an emotional, thought provoking novel. Buy Five Little Indians here. Learn more about Michelle. For more episodes, visit To inquire about being a guest, contact Dana.
June 01, 2021
Episode 1: Predicting a pandemic - Christina Sweeney-Baird, The End of Men
When Christina Sweeney-Baird started writing The End of Men, she was exploring the idea of a world without men. She gave serious thought to how the world would function without men filling typically male jobs: electricians, garbage disposal and infrastructure. When she was creating this dystopian world, a pandemic seemed a reasonable way to eliminate 50 percent of the world's population. What she didn't count on, was seeing the plague in her pages come to life in the real world. Buy The End of Men here. For more episodes, visit To inquire about being a guest, contact Dana.
May 29, 2021
Trailer: What Were You Thinking?
Welcome to What Were You Thinking, a podcast about authors and their stories. We'll be meeting authors from all genres to discover the "What If..." moment that led them to start writing their books. We'll talk about their characters, their plots and how their books came to life. FIRST EPISODE DROPS JUNE 15!
May 12, 2021