WHO: Jillian Green DiGiacomo.
WHAT: Reading from "Off the Wall."
WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: Old Tappan Free Public Library, 56 Russell Ave., Old Tappan; 201-664-3499 or oldtappan.bccls.org.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: jilliangreendigiacomo.com.
The circuitous route to the pages of her book took her from Woodcliff Lake to Japan, from Japan through the halls of Harvard University. She worked as a grant writer, taught in a foreign country, picked up a master's degree and raised two children.
So Jillian Green DiGiacomo traveled a long, winding path before "Off the Wall" – her debut as a children's book author – bubbled to the surface.
"I could always write," DiGiacomo said during a recent phone interview. "Even in high school, I could write essays well, but I didn't think I had anything to say. Now I'm learning I've got a whole lot to say."
Like other literary parents, DiGiacomo found her fingers leafing through "a lot of mediocre children's books."
She took up a pen and began to write, chipping away at this book over a decade.
"It's probably had 20 different incarnations," DiGiacomo said. "There are people who write 20 stories and their 21st gets published. I kind of rewrote this one 20 times."
It is the story of a young girl named Delilah who looks at her reflection in the mirror and sees a princess, then a monster, then a clown. Each trip to the mirror brings with it a new identity.
"She just kind of learns to be [herself]," DiGiacomo said. "And it doesn't matter what other people are saying about you."
"Off the Wall" was officially released in November. She has done readings at libraries and elementary schools.
The early feedback has her glowing.
"It's really been wonderful," DiGiacomo said. "Of course, my friends and family are not allowed to tell me anything other than it's the most brilliant piece of literature they've ever touched."
Now the little girl from Woodcliff Lake who played sports at Pascack Hills is searching for a new story arc, a new tale to weave.
DiGiacomo is enjoying this new identity as a children's book author.
"I know so many people have a story collecting dust and I was one of them, too," DiGiacomo said. "I'm hoping now to make it more my career."