The Five Questions: Lori Goldstein



“So long as you know the rules and have a good reason for breaking them, they most certainly can and should be broken…”

Lori Goldstein is the author of Becoming Jinn and will be a fellow panelist of mine at two upcoming events: the NYC Teen Author Festival reading on July 1, and the Boston Teen Author Festival on September 26.

  1. What’s the surprising inspiration behind one (your choice) of the characters or stories you’ve created?

Becoming Jinn was inspired by a name I heard on the news. A few years ago, there was a devastating earthquake in Turkey. A mother and her two-week-old infant daughter were pulled from the rubble and both miraculously survived. That baby’s name was Azra, which is my protagonist in Becoming Jinn.

YA paranormal and supernatural has always been a genre I loved, and in hearing this name and thinking of what would be a cool story for this girl, somehow it all sparked the idea of writing a book featuring Jinn, which for some reason (probably because it was on the X-Files!) I knew was the term for spirits derived from North African and Middle Eastern lore but akin to our Western world’s notion of the genie.

In terms of inspiration, it’s hard to have a book with magic in it without acknowledging the influence of J.K. Rowling, but I knew I also loved contemporary books like those from Rainbow Rowell. And I love The Vampire Diaries, which is paranormal in a contemporary setting with a lot of sarcastic humor. All of that, subconsciously at least, influenced the direction I took with Becoming Jinn.

  1. If you could rescue one obscure book and make it more widely known to the world, which book would you choose and why?

Though it’s not YA, I loved a book called THE KITCHEN HOUSE. I feel it got a bit lost when THE HELP became popular, and while that’s a wonderful book, I always wished THE KITCHEN HOUSE got its due.

  1. You can ask one question to any author, living or dead. What would you ask and why?

I’d ask J.K. Rowling if I could see all her plotting notes for Harry Potter! Her skill in creating a seven-book series where things planted in book one appear years later is nothing short of genius and a true master at work.

  1. What’s the best (or your favorite) feedback you’ve received from a reader?

Well, this is now turning into a J.K. Rowling post, but I recently received a fan letter—a true letter in the mail, which is amazing in and of itself—in which a reader said my book was among her favorite book of all time, noting she reads a lot of books, and the kicker: that she liked my book more than Harry Potter. Um, really? Wow and thanks!!

  1. What’s the worst writing advice you’ve received from a teacher?

This wasn’t from a teacher, but I was told I couldn’t end BECOMING JINN on a cliffhanger. That no agent would touch it and no editor would let it stay. That ending to BECOMING JINN that I was told would never make it into the finished book? Well, it did. So long as you know the rules and have a good reason for breaking them, they most certainly can and should be broken so long as it improves your story.

For more information about Lori Goldstein and her books:

Visit her online at

Follow her on Twitter at: @loriagoldstein

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