Diary Secrets By J. B. DiNizo
PLAINFIELD — Alice DiNizo’s resume may include entire decades spent as a children’s librarian, but the recent retiree’s rookie effort as a novelist is anything but PG-rated.
The former South Plainfield resident and ex-Plainfield Public Library librarian is the author of “Imperfect Past,” a recently published novel that treads over dark ground such as childhood abuse, racial tension and serial murder. But DiNizo, who goes by the pen name J.B., said her story, at its heart, is a tale of survival and perseverance.
“I survived a very great deal in my life,” said DiNizo, 64, “and I think out of that survival came the gift of writing.”
According to the author, inspiration for some of the book’s first few chapters came from her own experiences of being physically abused as a child growing up in Vermont, during an era in which “they called child abuse “discipline.’ “
The novel goes on to chronicle the life of protagonist Annie Phillips Murray, a white woman who falls in love with a black police officer during World War II in a town called North Hadley — which she said city residents instantly will recognize as Plainfield. DiNizo, also a former librarian at Washington Community School on Darrow Avenue, said the choice of setting was easy.
“I’ve tied everything in the book into Plainfield,” she said, citing buildings and street names that only have been altered slightly in the text, if at all. “When I came to this area and first saw Plainfield, I fell in love.”
DiNizo said the novel’s plot includes three narratives bound together — one detailing the protagonist’s checkered youth, one detailing a series of gruesome crimes being investigated by her love interest, and a third detailing the stubborn persistence of the characters’ relationship in an era of intolerance.
After writing recreationally for more than 20 years, DiNizo, of Toms River, said she is warming up to the idea of having more novels published during her retirement years. With four more works already completed, DiNizo said she plans on seeing if Eloquent Books, the publisher of “Imperfect Past,” is interested in seconds.
As for Plainfield Public Library director Joe Da Rold, he was pleasantly surprised to hear a former employee he said had a connection with the local community now is a published author.
“I had no idea that she was doing some writing,” said Da Rold, who added that DiNizo will participate in a December book signing at the library along with a group of other local authors. “I was thrilled to hear it.”