Alumna aims to entertain and educate with her new “Inception”-like novel
In “Ashlynn’s Dreams,” by Julie Gilbert ’07, a kidnapped girl discovers she has the power to enter and even shape a person’s dreams. The girl must learn how to use her powers because her life isn’t the only one at stake.
Julie Gilbert ’07 has spent her life learning about science and, in turn, teaching it to young students at Timothy Christian High School in Piscataway, NJ. But while her background may be in the classroom, Gilbert has developed another passion through which she can educate others: her writing.
Gilbert has spent the last few summers focusing on writing. It’s a passion she developed while attending TCNJ from 2002–07, during which time she obtained both a BS in biology and an MAT with a science specialization.
“During college I was working at ShopRite in the summers, so I had a lot of free time,” Gilbert recalled. “And I’ve always been interested in writing.”
Her latest book, Ashlynn’s Dreams, published through iUniverse, focuses on a kidnapped girl, Jillian, who discovers she has the power to enter and even shape a person’s dreams. Throughout the book, Jillian has to learn how to use her powers because her life isn’t the only one at stake.
“I was going for something that was science fiction, but I wanted to write a story set in the real world,” Gilbert said. “It unfolded as a kidnapping story involving a girl with a compelling ability.”
For Gilbert, dreams are a fascinating topic, and one she was eager to explore.
“Dreams are mysterious and as such, naturally fascinating,” Gilbert elaborated. “When we’re awake, we have control over our thoughts, but when we’re asleep our minds get to wander in other directions.”
Given Gilbert’s background, it’s no surprise she likes to focus on science fiction.
“For me as a scientist, it would be cool if she could have this ability, this super power almost.”
Ultimately, Ashlynn’s Dreams was a story Gilbert could let her students read.
The book also tackles the subject of modern slavery, a topic Gilbert wanted to bring to light.
“Modern slavery as we know it in the real world—domestic, sexual, child labor—isn’t portrayed in the book,” she explained. “However, Jillian is a slave of a different sort, a child burdened by a gift and asked, fairly or unfairly, to shoulder the responsibility of others’ lives.”
Gilbert’s hope for the book is that it raises awareness on the issue and that people will get involved and research deeper into what’s happening in the world regarding modern-day slavery and what can be done to prevent it.
Read more about Gilbert’s book at www.iuniverse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000178528.
Posted on February 9, 2011