Dana Goldstein – Q&A

Dana Goldstein
Dana Goldstein

I began telling stories at the age of 6 when I was punished and sent to my room. My instructions were to not play, not read, not colour – just sit on my bed and think about what I had done. To quell the boredom, I started making up stories, which I told myself – out loud – even though no one was listening.I now have three published memoirs, The Girl in the Gold Bikini, a collection of stories about family and food, Murder on my Mind, a memoir of menopause, and Spent, a collection of stories from retail. My first middle grade novel, Shift, was released in August 2023. My podcast, What Were You Thinking, features conversations with authors about their books and their journeys to publication. I live and create from her home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Dana can be found at:
Website: danagoldstein.ca
Twitter: @DanaGWrites
Instagram: @authordanagoldstein
Facebook: facebook.com/AuthorDanaGoldstein
Threads: @authordanagoldstein@threads.net
Substack: danagoldstein.substack.com

Tell me what inspired you to write your (debut) novel?

I have two boys who were avid and advanced readers when they were young. When they aged out of books like Diary of Wimpy Kid and Harry Potter, there was nothing for them to read. I vowed that one day, I would write a book (or series of books) that would be the bridge between middle grade and young adult. So that’s what I did. They are 18 and 19 now, so I was a bit late.

How hard was it to get your first (debut) book published?

I am fortunate enough to have an agent who is relentless and truly believes there is a home for every book. It took two and a half years to find a publisher and an additional two years to publication.

How long did it take to write?

I was working on other projects that took priority, but it took me 15 months to write the first draft.


How many publishers turned you down?

Four publishers sent rejections. Some were very kind, others, not so much.

What kind of reactions have you had to your book?

I’ve had young readers tell me they got really wrapped up and involved in my main character’s emotions. I’ve had adult readers tell me they wished there was book about how cool science is when they were a kid.

What’s the favourite reaction you’ve had to your book?

That reading it is part of a bedtime ritual for a father and his son.

What can you tell us about your next book?

The next book is book two in this duology. My characters are a year older and they work together to help save and restore health to our oceans.

Do you take notice of online reviews?

Yes.. I’m not yet over the need for people to like me.

Would you ever consider writing outside your current genre?

I am already a multi-genre writer. I have three published memoirs, a young adult novel about to go out on submission and I am currently writing an adult contemporary.

What did you do before (or still do) you became a writer?

I owned a video production company. I closed it down in January of 2023 to focus on writing.

Which author(s) inspire you?

Anyone who can draw me deep into the lives of their characters. I’m a big fan of Rebecca Makkai (The Great Believers), Clare Pooley (The People on Platform 5), and Ali Bryan (Coq).

Which genres do you read yourself?

It’s easier to answer what I don’t read: mystery.

What is your biggest motivator?

The act of putting words down is what gets me up in the morning. It’s become a morning practice, like yoga, but without the flatulence.

What will always distract you?

Social media. I’ve tried locking myself out, but it never seems to work.

How much (if any) say do you have in your book covers?

For my memoirs, I worked with the designers. For Shift (my middle grade debut novel), I had no input whatsoever. I lost sleep over that, worried that I would hate the cover (I don’t; I’m fully in love with it).

Were you a big reader as a child?

Voracious. My mom took me to the library a few blocks from our house every third Saturday. She stopped taking me because I read through my books too fast and needed to return every second week. I started walking to the library by myself.

Murder on my Mind
Murder on my Mind

What were your favourite childhood books?

I loved Are You My Mother, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and anything by Judy Blume.

Do you have a favourite bookshop? If so, which?

My favourite bookshop is a local independent called Owl’s Nest Books. They are hugely supportive of authors and always invite us to host events at no charge.

What books can you not resist buying?

I borrow almost all my books from the library, so I buy the ones I’ve already read that I can’t stop thinking about.

How many books are in your own physical TBR pile?

18. And I’ve just now noticed one is missing. My kids must have pilfered it.

What is your current or latest read?

Currently reading The Sentence by Louise Erdrich. I kept putting the book down and was going to put it in my DNF pile, but it kept calling to me and pulling me back. I have never experienced that with a book.

Any books that you’re looking forward to in the next 12 months?

Waubgeshig Rice’s Moon of the Turning Leaves. It’s a sequel to Moon of the Crusted Snow. One of my all time favourite dystopian novels.

Any plans or projects in the near future you can tell us about?

I am working on a contemporary adult novel about four women over fifty who find themselves needing to replenish their friends. I’m in the first draft right now, so it’s mostly garbage.

What inspired you to write the genre you do?

My characters manifest in my head and the ones that won’t let me go are the ones I write about. Their ages determine whether they fall into middle grade, young adult, or adult.

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