Skip to main content


By Theresa Bakken
Desideratum is Latin for things that are desired as essential. Longing for stories to share and wishing for moments with gifted storytellers inspired this podcast. Celebrate the art of telling and the journey of listening to stories with narrator Theresa Bakken and her author, artist, and wordsmith friends. New episodes every Friday featuring conversations with writers and excerpts from their audiobooks or short stories. Tune to hear an author you love or to find your new favorite storyteller.
Listen on
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Breaker Logo


Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


Currently playing episode

Spellbound Under the Spanish Moss by Kevin Garrett and Connor Judson Garrett Ep15


Episode 19 Hunting Teddy Roosevelt historical fiction with James A Ross
Today's featured story is an excerpt from the historical thriller Hunting Teddy Roosevelt. The story takes place during Roosevelt's well documented safari in Africa in 1909. Author James Ross places an assassin on the trip hired by forces who want to keep Roosevelt out of politics forever. And he creates a female journalist / explorer who travels with the safari and whose work shines a light on colonial atrocities in the Congo. The story has layers of excitement and personal discovery. You can find the book wherever books are sold and connect with James on his website and through his newsletter. On the Desideratum Podcast website you will find a link to his MOTH main stage storytelling - which gives you a taste of his next project.  Thanks for listening.
July 23, 2021
Episode 18, When the Apricots Bloom with author Gina Wilkinson
Our featured story comes from former foreign corespondent and award winning journalist Gina Wilkinson.  Her rich and suspenseful novel, When the Apricots Bloom, was inspired by her time in Bagdad twenty years ago. The story is told through the lens of three resilient women: an artist, a diplomat’s wife, and a secretary. Their complicated friendship and shared goal to protect their families is peppered with historical truths that transport you to their reality. My conversation with Gina explores the long standing idea that fiction is the lie that reveals the truth.  You will hear Chapter 1 of the book come to life through the voice of narrator Raghad Chaar.   You can find When the Apricots Bloom in all its formats here: When the Apricots Bloom on Amazon.  You can see a photo Gina took in Iraq that helped her develop her characters friendship on the Desideratum Website. A special thanks to Vida Engstrand at Kensington Books for connecting me and Gina. And, thank you for listening.
July 16, 2021
The River Maiden Book 1 The Once and Future Series by Meredith Stoddard, Ep17
Our featured story is from author Meredith Stoddard who writes folklore inspired fiction.  You will hear the beginning of her Book One, The River Maiden, in her Once and Future Series. There are five books in this contemporary fantasy series - so far. Meredith says she has more story to tell. 'These characters have mountains to climb, caves to feel their way through and emotional swamps to navigate.'  Listen for how Meredith's characters are changed by betrayal and kindness. Hear what informs the choices they make and the way they see the world. There's an echo of this character development in Meredith's personal stories about her grandmother, Joyce.  The lessons in life that Joyce gives Meredith draw from her nearly 104 years of experience.  Meredith is the grateful granddaughter of a storyteller and a memory keeper.  Read more of the Once and Future series as well as her short story bonus material on her website. . And, here is a link to the author she mentions in the podcast - who she recommends to everyone - Steven Pressfield,  The featured picture for this episode is Joyce at 100.   You can it on the Desideratum Podcast website and Desideratum Podcast Facebook page. ,  Thanks for listening. 
July 9, 2021
The Flying Cutterbucks with Kathleen Rodgers and Michelle Williams, Ep16
As we head into the Independence Day holiday, on today's episode Kathleen Rodgers shares her impassioned convictions about democracy and talks about the stand she found the courage to take as an author. She invited her narrator and dear friend Michelle Williams to join the conversation. They dive into high school memories about CB radio handles and the eastern New Mexico sky.  Kathleen says she can feel the land and smell the wind in Michelle's narration of Kathleen's 4th novel, The Flying Cutterbucks.  Hear for yourself in our featured story, Chapter 1 of The Flying Cutterbucks, where the opening lines will take you back to a moment in October 2016.  When you want to listen to the rest of the story, here is a link to Kathleen Rodger's The Flying Cutterbucks audiobook on Audible. And, a link to all of Kathleen's books and more on her website. Thanks for listening.
July 2, 2021
Spellbound Under the Spanish Moss by Kevin Garrett and Connor Judson Garrett Ep15
This week's featured story is from a father and son writing team. You're going to hear Chapter 1 from their book Spellbound Under the Spanish Moss, A Tale of Southern Magic.  You will also hear why the 'why' is so important to them, how the magical world they've created has real world 'good truths', and what impact a real life car accident had on a fictional character.   When you are ready to hear the rest of the story, here is a link to the book and audiobook. Thanks for listening!
June 25, 2021
The Library of Lost Souls by Meghan Holloway Ep14
Today's featured story was inspired by a teller of tall tales - a lover of stories. As we head into Father’s Day weekend, listen to Meghan Holloway talk about the ways her grandfather enriched her life and her writing. Meghan Holloway wrote a successful WWII Historical Fiction published by Polis Books called Once More Unto the Breach as well as a trilogy in the Thriller Crime genre with Hunting Ground released last year, and Hiding Place out this August.  But, we are talking about something very different - a book she wrote that is set in the future.  At its heart, it is a love story about what it means to be human and the ways we grapple with loneliness and loss. Today we are talking about The Library of Lost Souls.
June 18, 2021
The Eves by Grace Sammon Ep13
Today's featured story is from Grace Sammon's novel The Eves. Grace describes The Eves as a multi-generational novel portraying lives lived well and lives in transition. It captures the conversations we wish we had had with our parents, if we had taken the opportunity, and the lessons we would want to impart to our children, if they were ready to listen. Told through the voice of the psychologically complex Jessica Barnet, this is her story. Listen to: why Grace struggled with her main character being called a liar, how Grace uses a nerdy explanation of Mitochrondrial DNA, and what Grace sees in those simple handprint paintings from childhood. Connect with Grace on social media and find her book through her website  Find a picture of Grace with a special handprint quilt her beta readers created for her on the Desideratum Podcast website.  Thanks for listening. 
June 11, 2021
Gawk by Dianne Bilyak Ep12
This weeks featured story is from author Dianne Bilyak. It's a vignette from her memoir Nothing Special: The Mostly True, Sometimes Funny, Tales of Two Sisters.  The title tells you a lot. This book with a long descriptive title took an unusual and interesting path to publication.  I am excited for you to hear about it.  I loved Dianne's dedication in the book "To my inimitable sister, Chris Bilyak, thanks for making my life fun, for always singing with me in the car, for 'liking me a lot', and teaching me that dancing can solve most problems." You can find the book through Dianne's website, and get a glimpse of the sister's relationship today on the Nothing Special Book Facebook Page.  Thanks for listening!
June 4, 2021
Mercy - Mystery Short Story in Peace Love and Crime Anthology by Joseph S. Walker, Ep11
Today's featured story is from Edgar Award Nominee Joseph S. Walker. The Edgar Allan Poe Awards are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America. The short story Joe chose for the podcast is titled Mercy. It was inspired by the growled word 'mercy' in the the Roy Orbison song Pretty Woman. It's published in a clever anthology called Peace, Love and Crime where each story draws inspiration from a song of the '60s. Listen to why Joe enjoys contributing to anthologies and what essential thing he fights for everyday.  You can find all his published work through his website and find the anthology with Mercy in it at Untreed Reads Publishing.  Thanks for listening.  Joseph S. Walker Crime Writer : Peace, Love, and Crime (paperback) edited by Sandra Murphy : Untreed Reads Publishing
May 28, 2021
Border Song short story by Paranormal / Romance author Laura Kemp, Ep10
Our featured story this week is from Laura Kemp. Border Song is set in Oklahoma, a long way from Laura's Michigan based Yellow Wood series. She explains how she feels about nature - especially the wild places. And, she talks about being a spooky storyteller at heart.  You can find her books on her website and check out the world she has created at 'Kemp Camp' on FB.  Thanks for listening.
May 21, 2021
Garden Crow excerpt from The Cicada Tree by Southern Gothic author Robert Gwaltney, Ep9
Todays featured story is from Robert Gwaltney. It's a special excerpt from his debut novel The Cicada Tree.  Before the story, we talk about how powerful early childhood experiences can be, what advice his granny Louise gave him about where to sit, and what music influenced him while he was writing The Cicada Tree.  After the story, hearing about his essential things will make you want to reach out and be friends!  You can find him on Facebook, and I highly recommend you check out his website and blog.  The Cicada Tree will be released in January 2022.  Thanks for listening.
May 14, 2021
Mommy Van Gogh from parenting with humor book I Love You More Than Coffee author Melissa Face, Ep8
Today's featured story is from Melissa Face and her collection of parenting essays called I Love You More Than Coffee.  Her book celebrates early motherhood, but it's not just for new moms reaching for their coffee.  It's also for moms looking back and remembering. Melissa is quick to smile and laugh, a joy to talk to.  Listen to why she's glad she wrote these essays, how her daughter's confidence makes her say wow,  and when she felt the cosmic shift of motherhood - that moment of no longer feeling like the center of her own universe.  You can find her book and her schedule of coffee and library talks on her website. She also shared a great picture of her and her kids that we will put on the Desideratum Facebook page.  Thanks for listening.
May 7, 2021
The Hedonist short story from A proud Scot lass author Alison Ragsdale Ep7
Our featured story comes from Alison Ragsdale, a proud Scot lass, who writes emotionally charged novels that often require tissues.  I want you to listen to how her own personal resets - adapting to her life's unexpected events - shapes her characters and her storytelling. I love what she says about supporting characters grounding her stories and the gift her father gave her that shows up in her characters lives. She has lived a global life and walked a winding path...  Alison's latest novel Her Last Chance launched this month. You can find it and all her novels on her website. I'll post a picture of Alison in Scotland on the Desideratum Podcast website.  Thanks for listening.
April 30, 2021
Voices short story from Body Language by author Marylee Macdonald, narrated by Adam Barr Ep6
The featured story this week is from Marylee Macdonald's collection of short stories Body Language: Twelve unforgettable portraits of heartbreak and desire.  The story is brought to life by her talented audiobook narrator Adam Barr.  Marylee's work in this collection is about the solace of touch and it's connection to well being.  She also talks about place and how she uses it to put her characters in uncomfortable situations. Why she does this, turns out to be very personal for her. Her ideas about nature and nurture and love are rooted in her experiences with adoption. Listen for what she has to say about identity, motherhood and the physicality of creativity.  You can find her novels, her short story collections and the ways she helps other authors with their writing, publishing and marketing on her website. You can find out more about narrator Adam Barr and connect to his extensive library of audiobooks on his website.
April 23, 2021
Ignorance or Innocence short story by upmarket Women’s fiction author Johnnie Bernhard, Ep5
Our featured story Ignorance or Innocence is from Johnnie Bernhard.  It will be included in an anthology of short stories about home, in September, 2021. Johnnie wrote this story awhile ago, before her successful novels. Unlike her novels, this story is autobiographical, set in a small Texas town where she moved in 8th grade. It's kind of a story about being an outsider, but Johnnie has this way of seeing the 'Gift' in things, even hard things like loneliness.  You will hear why she starts every story with character and family and what part of writing she equates to a runner's high - it's fantastic.  She's fantastic and she's clearly doing what she was meant to do.  After you listen... you can listen to her TEDTalk here,  You can find links to purchase her novels and audiobook on her website.  You can find her mentoring writers through Gemini Ink  And, you can see a lovely picture she shared of her and her mom Loula Mae taken on Johnnie's wedding day. We will share it on the Desideratum FB page.   Thanks for listening. 
April 16, 2021
Unexplained Aerial Phenomena short story by PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist Steve Wiegenstein, Ep4
Our featured story comes from Steve Wiegenstein's twelve story collection Scattered Lights.  Like Steve, the characters in these stories are deeply rooted in the Ozarks. Yet through his storytelling, he unearths something more universal than regional in each human motivation and interaction.  In Unexplained Aerial Phenomena the character Janine says, "Every story fills a need." I hope after you listen, you feel the need to read all of Steve's stories from this collection and from his series of historical novels. You can find them on his website where you can also read 'whatever he feels like writing about' on his blog.   Congratulations to Steve on Scattered Lights being named a Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction 2021. Thanks for listening. ,
April 9, 2021
Thirteen Seconds from Follow me to Alaska by Texas to Alaska author Ann Parker Ep3
In this season of rebirth and renewal, when new beginnings are announced by every budding leaf and celebrated by every spectacular bloom; it is the perfect time to meet Ann Parker and hear her perspective on seasons, bravery, truth and essential things. Her featured story is called Thirteen Seconds. It's about a plane crash. It is just one of many stories in Ann's practical and deeply personal book Follow Me to Alaska.   Look for Ann on social media @annparkerfollowmetoalaska, and @realalaska2day. You can see some of her breathtaking videos on her YouTube channel (Follow Me to Alaska Ann Parker). Her book and audio book are on sale on her website and on Amazon and Audible. We shared one of our favorite pictures of Ann on the Desideratum Facebook Page @desideratumpodcast.  Thanks for listening.
April 2, 2021
Aperture spoken word poetry written and performed by Irish novelist Daniel Wade, Ep2
A talk with Daniel Wade is a walk on a wandering path. Come along as he talks about the sea, about Ireland's long history of storytelling and about how we should all be looking for a lighthouse. The featured story is from Embers and Earth, Daniel's spoken word album.  Aperture is about Daniel's grandmother and darkness.  I am grateful to hear it in his own voice. Daniel is a poet, a playwright, a debut novelist and like all of us, he's hard to put in one category.  As he says, he's something in between.  You can hear more and read more of Daniel's storytelling on his website ( . Follow him @danielwadeauthor or @wadeinthewate11 on FB, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud.  You can find the Baudelaire 200 Years Literary Festival on FB @Baudelaire200Years. And, on the Desideratum FB page @DesideratumPodcast, you can find a picture of Daniel's grandmother Phyllis on vacation a long time ago - on a boat in the NY harbor - surrounded by light. Thank you for listening. 
March 26, 2021
Something More short story by author of literary fiction with a Southern drawl Mandy Haynes, Ep1
Today you will get to know author Mandy Haynes and hear her story Something More about a little girl named Jewell who sees beauty in small things and who is truly more precious than diamonds and rubies.  Mandy Haynes is an author of literary fiction with a southern drawl.  Her official tag line is "Hell, we cain't all be saints." You can find her books Walking the Wrong Way Home and Sharp as a Serpent's Tooth: Eva and Other Stories wherever you buy your books and on her website  You can keep up with Mandy's latest projects on social media @mandywrites. And after you listen to the podcast, you might want to hear Miss Twiggley's Tree, Thank you for listening. 15OUqZZqVWdKY3jyXXEg
March 20, 2021