Amid a career dedicated to addressing environmental and energy challenges, Julie McLaughlin, ’13 (XP-82), is adding a new title to her resume: novelist.
- January 10, 2020
“I took the Booth approach, asking myself: Where are the gaps, and how can I fill them?”
McLaughlin has since worked on confronting environmental and renewable energy challenges with market solutions, working around the world. While with E.ON in Singapore, she enrolled in Booth’s Executive MBA Program, taking classes at Booth’s Asia campus before finishing her degree in Chicago. “Business school has helped me form an analytical process through which you can approach the vast majority of problems in your professional career as well as your life,” she said.
Since returning to California to continue her work in alternative energy in 2015, she has applied that same analytical process to becoming a writer, spending a year researching the current science on climate change and hiring a writing coach to help her relearn how to write creatively, all while juggling this new pursuit with her day job in the corporate world. “I took the Booth approach, asking myself: Where are the gaps, and how can I fill them?” she said. She started setting weekly writing goals, and finished a first draft with the working title Rancho in 2018; now, after several revisions, she plans to send it out to publishers this year.
McLaughlin is targeting millennials and Gen Z readers who may be more conscious of the effects of climate change, but hopes that the book will appeal to anyone—even climate skeptics—by dramatizing the possible environmental future in a visceral way. “The novel is founded in science, but not overburdened by science,” she said. “It’s meant to be a story people will enjoy and will hopefully get them asking questions without feeling judged.”
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