If you want the official mini-biography you can read that below but here’s the unofficial answer to those burning questions. (Who are you? What do you do? Why do you do what you do?) I’m a writer and a teacher. At various times in my life I’d say I’m a teacher who writes or a writer who teaches, but I’m coming to accept that the distinction doesn’t matter to me. I want to believe that both can be done with a high degree of excellence. As a young friend recently reminded me, I’m more than just my occupation and hobbies. When all that’s gone and I’m just me, I’m still a good listener with a deep love for writing emails and praying for the burdens placed on others.
Devya’s Children started ages ago as a series of short stories I wrote in college. The stories centered on a young girl facing some tough stuff, including her parents’ divorce and her mother’s remarriage. The kid’s voice stayed inside my head and decided to come out around 2010. Writers will understand that statement. I apologize to those I just hit with a creepy vibe.
I don’t typically set out to tackle huge, controversial topics, but conflict confronts people, whether they are real or imagined. Kidnapping, genetic engineering, family identity, growing new friendships, clinging to old friendships, and adapting to hardship are all themes that sprang up in Ashlynn’s Dreams. Diving into the next book, Nadia’s Tears, I knew there would be an aspect of human trafficking.
If your eyebrows did a mini-jump at that statement, you’re proof of why I do what I do.
Now that I’ve got a book to promote, I’ve got a genuine, legitimate excuse to tell people, “Hey, slavery still exists!” Get offended. Get curious. Let that statement strike all the “not in my world!” chords in you. Then, get involved in the fight against modern day slavery in whatever capacity you’re gifted: money, time, talent.
A common theme from the series is summed up in the idea that there are Gifts and gifts. Normal people may not be genetically altered to shape dreams or soothe emotions, but they have gifts that can heal people of hurt all the same. To my knowledge, there are very few Young Adult books that bring up the topic of human trafficking in a way that I’d feel comfortable actually talking to a teenager. (While sex slavery is a part of the industry, it goes way beyond that one facet. If you’d like to read a non-fiction book that delves a little deeper into the types of slavery still in existence, try Not for Sale.)
Devya’s Children Book 2: Nadia’s Tears
Summaries of Books:
In Ashlynn’s Dreams, readers meet Jillian and Danielle. Both girls get kidnapped because the scientists who gave Jillian the ability to shape dreams wish to train her in using her Gifts. Along the way, you also meet Jillian’s genetically altered siblings, including Nadia and Varick. Nadia’s Gifts involve telepathy while Varick’s Gifts are more about physical abilities such as enhanced strength and agility.
Nadia’s Tears picks up where Ashlynn’s Dreams left off. When Nadia suddenly goes completely silent, Jillian asks Varick to investigate. He reports that Nadia’s fallen into a mysterious coma. Jillian turns to her friend, Danielle, for help in getting back to the scientists keeping watch over Nadia. While Jillian’s off trying to awaken her sister, Danielle struggles to balance school and keeping another friend out of trouble with human traffickers.
Behind the Story:
Human trafficking exists. That small statement, brought up by one of my students ages ago, intrigued me enough to do some research. It’s surprising, but not everybody knows that the slave trade is very much alive and well. Oh, it’s illegal and frowned upon by most people, but it still happens. I knew going into Nadia’s Tears that I wanted to include the topic of human trafficking/ modern day slavery. I just didn’t know it would become such a central theme.
What Amazon readers say about Nadia’s Tears:
“Nadia’s Tears is a fabulously unique blend of young adult action, mystery, and a bit of sci-fi that will keep you turning the pages so late into the night that you’ll need to drink coffee to stay awake the next day at school or work.” ~Aria
“A “page turner” in every sense, “Nadia’s Tears” has all the ingredients: supernatural abilities, action, adventure, conflict and a dash of mystery to keep even the most discerning reader entertained.” ~Peter
“I enjoyed this book even more than the first one.” ~Kayla
“There is so much to these books. The exploration of good and evil, progress versus morality. It is all wrapped up in a package of lovable characters that I want to keep reading about. Each time I come to an epilogue I want to cry!” ~Alexis
Ashlynn’s Dreams: ß Free Kindle Download from amazon.com http://tinyurl.com/olyc39k
Nadia’s Tears: http://tinyurl.com/qaa53dn
Julie C. Gilbert is a teacher and a writer. She lives, writes, plans lessons, drinks a lot of tea, and breathes a lot of basement air in her NJ home.
Connect with the Author:
Julie C. Gilbert Facebook Page: http://tinyurl.com/on4bc4c
Ashlynn’s Dreams Facebook Page: http://tinyurl.com/m4kkdhq
Copyright 2015 Julie C. Gilbert, images used with permission