Lori Goldstein first came on my radar when her amazing YA STEM book Screen Queens came out last year. Her newest novel, SOURCES SAY, debuted on September 8, 2020. Have a look:
Two exes. One election. All the drama.
For fans of Becky Albertalli and Morgan Matson comes a funny, heartfelt novel about feuding exes running for class president and the scandal that makes the previously boring school election the newest trending hashtag.
At Acedia High, student council has always been a joke. Nobody pays attention. Nobody cares.
But that changes when someone plasters the halls with Photoshopped images of three “perfect tens”—composites of scantily clad girls made from real photos of female students at the school. Quickly dubbed the “Frankengirls,” the scandal rocks the student body. And the two presidential candidates, budding influencer Angeline Quinn and charming jock Leo Torres, jump on the opportunity to propose their solutions and secure votes. Fresh from a messy public breakup, Angeline and Leo fight to win, and their battle both mesmerizes and divides the school.
The election fills the pages of The Red and Blue, the school newspaper run by Angeline’s sister, Cat. The Quinn sisters share a room and a grade but little else, and unlike her more sensationalist sister, Cat prides herself on reporting the facts. So when a rival newspaper pops up—written by an anonymous source and the epitome of “fake news”—Cat’s journalistic buttons are pushed. Rumors fly, secrets are leaked, and the previously mundane student election becomes anything but boring.
According to your website bio, you’ve “never met a beach you didn’t love.” What is your favorite beach you’ve been to so far?
There are so many beautiful beaches in the world, and I’ve barely made a dent (bucket list!), but I think when considering something to be a favorite, so much is involved. Yes the location, the way your toes sink beneath the sand, the sound of the waves rolling in, all of that. But for something to count as my favorite puts it in another category: the one I’ve shared with friends and loved ones. One of my best friends lives near Stinson Beach, California. And that beach has high marks on all those traditional “favorite” making elements. But walking for miles along a beach with good friends, catching up, talking about our hopes and dreams, reminiscing, chasing the dog, all of that makes that one particularly special.
Sounds wonderful! SOURCES SAY is a very timely book, especially considering this year’s election. It has such a great voice, especially at the beginning! How were you able to tap into the tone you needed while you wrote it?
Writing involves learning so much craft, from scene structure to plotting, to seeding twists, to pacing. Character and voice are a big part as well. Authors generally find some of those aspects of writing more natural than others, and for me, luckily tapping into a character and their voice is one of the things I find easier to do. Plotting is another story! That’s something I’ve worked hard to grasp and learn. But for character, I’m a big proponent of a lot of thinking before I start writing—before I start plotting. I think of the character’s backstory, the things they wanted in life and haven’t gotten, their goals, their dreams, their flaws, what they will learn over the course of the story. Formulating all of this before a word hits the page means when I get to the actual writing, the character is nearly fully formed in my mind.
What an excellent strategy to tap into character development! I love how your other book Screen Queens features tech-savvy female protagonists. What about this story was the most fun for you to write?
SCREEN QUEENS was the first time I wrote a multiple POV novel, and I just LOVED the process! I loved being able to get inside the heads of three very different but equally smart and ambitious young women. A little piece of myself is in each of them, yet none are me either. But being able to explore my shyness as a kid via Delia, my ambition as an adult via Lucy, and my struggle to be open to friendships as a young teen as Maddie allowed me to create characters who feel real and relatable. I also loved what it did to enforce strong pacing throughout the book. It’s why I wrote SOURCES SAY as a dual POV novel as well. I’m hooked!
I can see why! What are some of your current projects?
After writing SOURCES SAY (Sept. 8 from PenguinTeen/Razorbill), I expanded my writing world. While I have a YA contemporary sisters story in the works, I’m also polishing up an adult historical, and about to embark on an adult contemporary with a splash of magical realism. Constantly trying new things and challenging myself as a writer is one of the things I love most about this career. And there’s *always* more to learn!
Lori Goldstein, former journalist and current author, editor, and creative writing instructor, has a bachelor’s in journalism. She’s never met a beach she didn’t love, a book she wouldn’t read, or a strange food she wouldn’t try. Lori is also the author of Screen Queens and the YA contemporary fantasy series Becoming Jinn. You can visit her online at lorigoldsteinbooks.com, on Instagram at @lorigoldsteinbooks and Twitter at @loriagoldstein.
For Lori’s other books, visit lorigoldsteinbooks.com.