For Julianna Wilson, a Colby alumna of 2008, the art of writing has become quite inseparable from daily life. “What’s most important to me is making time to write. Before work each day, I wake up at 6 in the morning and dedicate a few hours to writing. On productive days, this routine energizes me for the day ahead because I’ve already accomplished something that is personally rewarding,” says Wilson.
Wilson currently works as an audio book producer at Random House in New York, a position which complements her writing ambitions and offers an interpersonal outlet, all the while bringing her closer to dreams of entering the publishing business. “It’s an unusual niche in the industry and one that’s been incredible to explore,” says Wilson of her work at Random House. “By listening to audiobooks, you use senses other than sight to understand literature and study other writers’ techniques. I think that’s pretty cool.”
Wilson’s creativity and multi-layered thought are very much needed for her job at Random House. Her work is also testament to the crisp love of literature that was fostered in her English and creative writing classes at Colby. Indeed, Wilson speaks fondly of her time on Mayflower Hill, and attributes the roots of her independent work to the honors thesis she wrote as a senior in Colby’s creative writing program. In her own words, “the work, currently entitled The Lost Children of Aurora, follows protagonist Riley Roberts on her quest to discover what happened to her missing brother, after he vanished from Central Park. The story leads readers through New York City and its parallel world, Aurora, whose values differ vastly from those of our modern society. Instead of computers, smart phones, and other types of technology, Aurora embraces the natural world and its gifts. However, what readers soon learn is that Aurora harbors a sinister side. As Riley unearths it, she discovers what truly happened to her brother and what’s in store for her future.” Wilson’s goal for the series, as with most of her work, is to create something that is “commercially exciting but psychologically true.” The Foundlings project is a young-adult fantasy fiction piece that reflects Wilson’s interest in targeting the imagination and curiosity so typical of the young-adult audience. Wilson believes successful writing reproduces the human experience so fully that it can foster connection and mutual reflection. In essence, readers “yearn to see themselves in the characters on the page.” It is this principle, among many others, from which Wilson draws her inspiration as an author of young-adult works.
Another of Wilson’s most beloved projects is her personal blog, found at www.JuliannaNWilson.com, which she started in August of 2011 to chronicle her experience with writing children’s literature. From there, the site evolved into a blog about writing with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a learning difference she has grown up with and discovered how to manage. Indeed, Wilson’s blog not only offers an account of her past struggle with ADHD, but also shows how the so-called “disorder” is not much of a learning disability at all. Wilson inspires her readers to see, as she did, that ADHD actually offers its patients a very distinct brand of concentration and attention. It is up to the individual to embrace such quirks and channel this gift of focus in the right direction. For Wilson, this direction is most certainly her writing.
-Amy Cunningham, ’15, William D. Adams Presidential Scholar