My time management fable, Juliet’s School of Possibilities: A Little Story About the Power of Priorities, is on sale today in the U.S. If you’ve landed here, either as a long-time reader, or if you just found me, I hope you’ll check it out. This book, about an ambitious consultant whose life is falling apart until her mentor teaches her how to truly spend time well, turns my best time management advice into a story. There’s a plot and a lesson; as the ladies of Pantsuit Politics recently noted of the book on their podcast, “she talks about productivity soulfully.”
You can pick up a copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, 800-CEO-Read, BookPal (BookPal is awesome for bulk purchasing), or wherever books are sold. (If you spot it in a bookstore, I’d love a picture! Email lvanderkam at yahoo dot com or you can tag me on Instagram or Twitter using @lvanderkam.)
Since I know regular readers have been hearing about this for a while, here are a few fun facts about the book:
The light house is a late addition. There’s a light house on the cover of the book, but there wasn’t originally a light house in the story. What happened is that I really liked this proposed cover design, but went back and forth because there wasn’t a lighthouse. Then I realized…I’m writing the thing. So I wrote one in. I only mention it a few times but it seems relatively central. It turns out that symbols can be written in pretty easily!
The town of Maris is entirely fictional. It was originally Maris Stella (“Star of the Sea”), named after an intriguing choral piece I heard years ago, but that is apparently the name of an actual retreat center on the New Jersey shore. So rather than confuse matters, the town changed. “Maris” just means “sea.”
“Resignation suggested.” None of the major consulting firms use “resignation suggested” as a euphemism for firing people, as far as I know. But they do have a great many euphemisms — if you’re bored, you might Google these sometime.
Riley’s duffel bag. I was asked why she didn’t have a smart roll-aboard. But it turns out a lot of very frequent flyers do indeed use leather duffel bags rather than roll-aboard luggage. A roll-aboard might need to be gate-checked on a small plane; a duffel won’t be. Time matters! Also, a lot of consultants who do international work do indeed travel with their passports all the time. I was reminded of this when I learned that my husband had brought his passport with us to Orlando for the Disney trip. Did he think there would be an emergency Geneva trip required? I have no idea. Also, yes, two phones.
Why I chose October. The Garden State Parkway is gorgeous for a few weeks in October. I knew I wanted to set Juliet at the beach, but when I drove down the parkway in October, I knew I wanted to set it then. I visited Cape May in October 2017 and wrote down the names of a lot of plants I saw in a nature preserve. Many of these (shadbush!) are now mentioned in Juliet. Putting in the names of plants can add a lot of texture to writing. Also, it allows me to indulge my inner botany nerd.
Biking. I have never ridden a bike down the boardwalk, since they’re forbidden much of the day from May to October near where I visit on the Jersey shore. But I want to. I just need to get up early and borrow a bike some day.
Choose Well. I bought myself a Choose Well bracelet through this store on Etsy. They can make you one too if you want! (I don’t have any affiliation with them, but I do like the way it turned out).
NaNoWriMo salvaging. Juliet, Riley, Skip, Betsy, Faye, and the Danish bike guy were all characters in my original NaNoWriMo novel…but they took very different forms in this version. Sometimes the stuff that winds up in a drawer can be mined for future material.
Anyway, I hope you’ll give the book a read! Please let me know what you think — or, better yet, post a review on the site where you purchased the book, or on Goodreads. Thoughtful reviews really do help convince other readers to give a book a try. Thank you!