Today on my stop of The Fantastic Flying Book Club’s tour for Screen Queens is an interview with the author, Lori Goldstein. We talk about what the future might be like for the main characters, Lori’s own internship history, and what she’d like readers to take away from reading Screen Queens.
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Published: 11 June 2019
Genre(s): Young Adult/Contemporary
The Bold Type meets The Social Network when three girls vying for prestigious summer internships through a startup incubator program uncover the truth about what it means to succeed in the male-dominated world of tech.
This summer Silicon Valley is a girls’ club.
Three thousand applicants. An acceptance rate of two percent. A dream internship for the winning team. ValleyStart is the most prestigious high school tech incubator competition in the country. Lucy Katz, Maddie Li, and Delia Meyer have secured their spots. And they’ve come to win.
Meet the Screen Queens.
Lucy Katz was born and raised in Palo Alto, so tech, well, it runs in her blood. A social butterfly and CEO in-the-making, Lucy is ready to win and party.
East Coast designer, Maddie Li left her home and small business behind for a summer at ValleyStart. Maddie thinks she’s only there to bolster her graphic design portfolio, not to make friends.
Delia Meyer taught herself how to code on a hand-me-down computer in her tiny Midwestern town. Now, it’s time for the big leagues–ValleyStart–but super shy Delia isn’t sure if she can hack it (pun intended).
When the competition kicks off, Lucy, Maddie, and Delia realize just how challenging the next five weeks will be. As if there wasn’t enough pressure already, the girls learn that they would be the only all-female team to win ever. Add in one first love, a two-faced mentor, and an ex-boyfriend turned nemesis and things get…complicated.
Filled with humor, heart, and a whole lot of girl power, Screen Queens is perfect for fans of Morgan Matson, Jenny Han, and The Bold Type.
Interview With the Author, Lori Goldstein
The Hermit Librarian (THL): Did you ever have an internship when you were a teen? Or, if you could have, where would you have liked to intern if you could choose?
Lori Goldstein (LG): As a journalism major, I had internships in college, one at a local newspaper, which I remember consisted mostly of updating the calendar and compiling the obituaries . . . with the occasional town meeting article tossed in. Not the most exciting journalism (but all necessary!). Unfortunately, I didn’t have internships in high school. I worked at a picnic grounds that hosted summer corporate outings, but in many ways it functioned as an internship. The owners put an immense amount of trust in kids 14 to 18 years old to essentially run a lot of the small events ourselves, from the sports to overseeing the pool to cooking all the food. It was a blast! If I could have had an actual internship I’d have wanted it to be in a restaurant kitchen (do they offer those?). I love to cook and would have loved to see the inner workings of a restaurant early on to decide if that were a career path I’d have wanted to take.
THL: What was the research like for the tech aspect of Screen Queens? Did you have a background to draw upon or was there stuff you had to dive for?
LG: My career has always centered on publishing in some way, but a good portion of my work was in technology publications, writing, editing, graphic design, and even some coding as part of Web sites. So while I don’t have a developer background, I have been immersed in enough of the tech world to understand terminology and such. But still, I definitely had to do research to write SCREEN QUEENS. I spent a lot of time reading articles, personal essays, and a nonfiction book called BROTOPIA by Emily Chang that all dealt with what it’s like to be a woman in tech. I think many are familiar with the low representation of both women and minorities in tech, but the reality in both hard numbers and in personal accounts is eye-opening. Fortunately I also have a good friend who was a coder who shared her stories as well as ensured my “tech speak” was accurate. I had fun diving into the world of hackathons and technology incubators like YC to come up with the structure for the program the girls are in. I’m also lucky to have visited San Francisco and Silicon Valley many times visiting friends, so I had a good knowledge base to bring the location to life.
THL: What kind of music would Delia, Maddie, and Lucy be jamming to while working together to secure their internship?
LG: Lucy is a total party girl so she’d be into dance and club music, but when she works she’s laser focused and would never allow a distraction like music. Maddie isn’t the most open person emotionally. It takes her time to warm up to people and trust them. But I like to think that secretly, she’s a big Taylor Swift fan, wishing for her own girl squad, though she’d never admit it. Delia grew up in the community theatre her parents own, so I think her music of choice would be show tunes, songs that remind her of home as she’s the most homesick out of all of them.
THL: What is one thing that each girl brought with them this summer that they can’t live without?
LG: Lucy has her lavender-scented hand-sanitizer wipes, which she uses to disinfect the sketchy rubber-coated mattresses and grimy furniture in their dorm room and has on hand for any and all germy occasions. Maddie has her monster laptop, a direct line to her artwork, to her freelance design business, and chatting with her little brother back home. Delia has a quotation from Ada Lovelace, a woman credited with being the first computer programmer before there were even computers. She brought this from home as both a comfort and inspiration to succeed in this tough competition.
THL: Fast forward five or ten years: can you give us a glimpse at what life might be like for the Screen Queens?
LG: BTW, wouldn’t a sequel would be super fun?! While I hate to pigeon hole any of them into a future since I’d love readers to imagine Lucy, Maddie, and Delia’s lives playing out in their own ways, I am sure of a few things. Namely that they are still friends, though I don’t think they all live in the same location. I imagine Lucy’s abroad somewhere, on the front lines of setting up a new startup location, Maddie’s back on the East Coast, and Delia’s right where she always wanted to be in Silicon Valley.
THL: Do you have any favorite computer/tech based films ala The Matrix or Hackers?
LG: SCREEN QUEENS has been called The Bold Type meets The Social Network, and I actually think The Social Network is a great movie that holds up over time. Considering what Facebook did to basically invent our social media of today, it’s entirely relevant.
THL: If there’s one thing you want your readers to take away from Screen Queens, what would that be?
LG: I want readers to feel empowered, but that can happen in many ways, which is what happens for the young women in the novel. That can be empowered to push through glass ceilings and move outside the box and not be hemmed in by tradition or expectations, empowered to forge ahead to achieve your goals even though they might be hard. But it can also be empowered to be who you are without caring what others think. And it can be empowered to embrace the relationships, friends, and family in your life, to take chances even if there’s the risk of being hurt. Essentially I want readers to feel energized and ready to take their hopes and dreams to the next level.
Author of SCREEN QUEENS, coming from Razorbill, June 11, 2019, and available for preorder now (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound) about three teen girls who attend a startup incubator in Silicon Valley and learn what it means to compete in the male-dominated world of tech.
My Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy series Becoming Jinn and Circle of Jinn is a modern spin on the traditional tale of wish-granting genies (Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan).
Obsessed with books, beach, and Game of Thrones, Find me at @loriagoldstein and follow my blog and sign up for my newsletter at www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com, my Instagram, and my Tumblr. Like my author page on Facebook for fun book-related photos, tidbits, and happenings as well as news on upcoming releases.
Prize (1):Win a copy of SCREEN QUEENS by Lori Goldstein and two swag packs (US Only)
Prize (2):Win (1) of (20) paper doll character cards for Lucy, Maddie, and Delia (INTERNATIONAL+US/CAN)
Starts: June 18th 2019 Ends: July 2nd 2019
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