Written By: Meghana Krishna
Lori Goldstein’s love for reading and writing started early. As a child, she would go to the library with her mother every week, hauling a stack of books home that she would pore through eagerly. By high school, Lori knew she wanted to be a writer. After completing her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Lehigh University, she began working in the industry as a reporter, editor, and graphic designer.
In 2013, Lori transitioned to authoring novels full-time. Her latest release, titled Screen Queens, is the fictional story of three young women fighting for the top spot at a prestigious tech incubator competition in Silicon Valley. The novel focuses on the hurdles female entrepreneurs often face in eliciting respect and fair treatment while exploring the lack of self-confidence among girls in STEM and the complexities of female relationships.
Part of the inspiration behind Screen Queens came from Lori’s background writing for high-tech publications, where she got a glimpse of how women in technical roles were often perceived. The novel also drew inspiration from a podcast called StartUp, which follows stories of entrepreneurs starting their business. The podcast’s second season followed the challenges of two women trying to launch a dating company. The women encountered potential investors who made inappropriate, sometimes overtly sexual advances in return for financial support, as well as ones who brushed off their aspirations, refusing to take them seriously. The podcast gave Lori insight into the prevalence of the gender-based discrimination that still exists in tech today.
For Lori, the issue of normalizing capable and intelligent female role models in fiction is also personal: “When I was growing up, women weren’t as visible as role models in STEM,” she recalls. “It never really occurred to me that I could pursue a career along those lines. Technology fascinates me, and there’s a part of me that wonders what could have happened if I had taken that path.”
She hopes her work can add to the array of female role models in media who are flawed and face relatable and relevant challenges. “[Strong female leads] are often seen in fantasy or supernatural spheres, but less so in career-focused settings. Since most of us won’t be superheroes, it’s key for young girls to see these realistic examples.”
When Lori isn’t focused on her own novels, she provides content and copyediting services for aspiring writers. She also helps new authors design marketing campaigns for their books and offers workshops at GrubStreet, a Boston-based non-profit creative writing center. This September, Lori will be releasing her fifth fiction novel, titled Sources Say, which follows an unexpectedly scandalous high school student council election riddled with misinformation and sensationalist hearsay. Inspired by the modern-day public distrust of media, Lori hopes the book will encourage readers to be more cautious while evaluating their news sources.
Lori advises aspiring writers to read as much as possible: “It’s very difficult to write without being immersed in stories. You need to love books and understand what genres interest you and why certain novels are successful. Allow yourself to grow, and be willing to take criticism.” But most importantly, she says, don’t wait for someone else to believe in your abilities before you do.