Author Interviews about Endings (Episode 7.5)

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Keeping the focus on the subject of how to end your story, this episode features guest authors Lena Coakley, Karen Bass, Lisa Dalrymple, Ishta Mercurio, and Tim Wynne-Jones. 45 minutes. All ages.

A full transcript and audio are available on

Show Notes

[0:00] Introduction

[1:15] Commentary about endings

The ending is the part of the story with the greatest effect on how I feel about a book.

[3:45] Author Interviews about Endings

[4:30] Tim Wynne-Jones on discovering the ending along the way

[6:35] Lisa Dalrymple on writing and reading endings

[8:55] Ishta Mercurio’s favourite endings

[11:45] Karen Bass’s favourite final lines and series

[14:40] Lena Coakley on reaching the end at last

[17:05] Commentary on satisfying and sad endings

One thing that makes an ending satisfying is that it makes good on the promise that you laid out at the beginning of your story. … There are conventions about endings in different genres of writing.

[19:35] Author Interviews about sad endings

[17:10] Karen Bass likes mixed endings

[20:40] Lena Coakley cries at her own endings

[22:00] Lisa Dalrymple says sad endings reflect reality

[23:10] Ishta Mercurio on life and books and hope

[25:20] Tim Wynne-Jones on satisfying and sad endings

[28:05] Commentary on fairy-tale endings

The saying “a fairy tale ending” means a happy ending or an unbelievably happy ending. But many fairy tales do not have happy endings at all.

Excerpts from Perrault’s “Cinderella” and the Grimms’ “Cinderella.”

Ending of Perrault’s “Little Red Riding Hood.”

[33:05] Guest author recommendations to young writers

[33:20] Karen Bass says echo the beginning

[34:10] Lisa Dalrymple recommends keeping the character in mind

[34:05] Tim Wynne-Jones says look for motivation

[38:00] Lena Coakley gives advice on twists

[38:55] Ishta Mercurio warns of separating judgment of self and work

[40:30] Coming up on the podcast

However you end your tale, you’ll have to revise your work. You’ll hear more about that in next week’s episode, “The Never-ending Story,” all about Revision.

You’ll hear a snippet from almost everyone who has been a guest author on the show.

[42:35] Story: Kidnapped by the Moon

The episode closes with a story Tim Wynne-Jones and I made up during our interview. Hear how happy we were to get to the end. In part, that’s because it’s a happy ending. In part, it’s because we were proud to have reached it. And in part, we were simply relieved that it was over. And there’s a bit of those feelings in every ending. Thanks for listening.


Music on the podcast is from “Stories of the Old Mansion” by Akashic Records, provided by Jamendo (Standard license for online use).

Host: Catherine Austen writes books for children, short stories for adults, and reports for corporate clients. Visit her at

Guest Authors


Karen Bass loves writing action and adventure, and she likes to slide in some history when she can to make the past come alive for young readers. She has twice won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction and has received numerous other nominations and accolades for her stories, including one being named as a USBBY Outstanding International Book. Aside from finishing her degree in Victoria, BC, Karen lived most of her life in rural Alberta. When her husband retired, they decided to strike out on their own adventure, and now call southern Ontario home. Aside from writing, Karen works occasionally in a library, and so has a constantly growing pile of books waiting to be read. She loves having a whole new part of Canada to explore and use as inspiration for new stories. Find her online at; on Facebook @karenbassYA on Twitter @karenbassYA and on Instagram @karenbassYA.


Lena Coakley was born in Milford, Connecticut and grew up on Long Island. In high school, creative writing was the only class she ever failed—nothing was ever good enough to hand in!—but undeterred, she went on to study writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She has published two YA novels, Worlds of Ink and Shadow and WitchlandersWicked Nix, her first book for middle-grade readers, was nominated for the Silver Birch Express Award, the MYRCA Sundogs Award, and the Rocky Mountain Book Award. She now lives in Toronto with her two cats, Bonbon and Pirate Jenny. Find her online at; on Twitter @lenacoakley; and on Facebook @lena.coakley.


Lisa Dalrymple is a wandering, wondering, dabbling, babbling, addle-brained author and mind-muddled mum. She has written 11 books for young readers, including Fierce: Women who Shaped CanadaA Moose Goes A-Mummering and Skink on the Brink. Lisa has taught kindergarten in South Korea and Thailand, caught and eaten piranha in the Amazon jungle and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. She now lives in Fergus, Ontario with her husband and their 3 highly-energetic children. Find her online at; on Facebook: @LisaDalrympleBooks; on Twitter: @DalrympleWrites; and on Instagram: @lisa_dalrymple


Ishta Mercurio was born and raised in an interracial family in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she developed a love of reading and books and big ideas. After leaving for college at the exactly right age of 16, she went on to explore the world and, with it, to explore various ways of storytelling, from dance to theatre to poetry to prose. She now lives and writes in Brampton, Ontario, where she serves as the Chairman of the Board for The FOLD Foundation, a non-profit whose mandate is to lift underrepresented and marginalized voices in Canadian literature. Her picture book debut, Small World, illustrated by Jen Corace (ABRAMS Books for Young Readers), was selected as one of NPR’s Best Books of 2019 and won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for the Canadian region. Find Ishta online at or on Facebook at @theoneandonlyishta/, on Twitter @IshtaWrites; or on Instagram @IshtaMercurio.


Tim Wynne-Jones has written 35 books for adults and children of all ages. He has won the Governor General’s Award twice and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award twice, most recently for the thriller, Blink & Caution. He has twice won the Arthur Ellis Award of the Crime Writers of Canada, as well as the Edgar Award of the Mystery Writers of America. His books have been translated into a dozen languages. Tim was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2012. His latest novel, The Starlight Claim, came out in 2019 and his newest collection of short fiction, War at the Snow White Hotel, was released in 2020. Find Tim online at; Blog:; Twitter: @tim_wj; Facebook:

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