A Midlothian High School graduate of 1983, Jill Zapata, has recently published her first children’s book.


The book, "Addy’s Suitcase," has been 22 years in the making, first written in 1998.


"I have three children of my own, they are all grown now ... but I always read to my kids a lot. Always found a lot of enjoyment in that," Zapata shared.


Zapata studied English in college, but in high school, English was her strongest subject.


She shared that her book is catered to first-time readers but anyone can enjoy.


"Something that a parent or anybody would read to a toddler aged child, but then as a child is learning to read, it would be appropriate for that beginner reading level and I would say probably up until maybe 8 (years-old), depending on the child and their interest in it," Zapata said.


She has received plenty of encouragement from her mother and her high school English teacher.


"My mother has always encouraged me to pursue writing. She, I guess, has seen a talent and wanted me to pursue it. Her encouragement and a particular English Teacher that I had in high school ... she was hands down one of my favorite teachers and she always encouraged me as well," Zapata said.


Zapata also shared that she plans on publishing more books in the future.


"Oh absolutely; I already have probably six different children’s stories kind of in the works. Different levels of completion," Zapata shared. "But my main focus right now is a memoir that I am wanting to complete and have published. It deals with caregiving. For a couple of years ... I was a caregiver on and off for my mother-in-law. It’s a very challenging experience, but it can also be a very rewarding experience."


"Addy’s Suitcase" was published by Christian Faith Publishing, out of Pennsylvania and can be purchased through Amazon or from Barnes and Noble. Through Amazon, a hard copy and an e-book is available. The children’s book also has a video trailer on Youtube.


Zapata wanted to leave possible writers with inspiration: "Encouragement to anybody that feels like they have a story in them. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to have your first work published," Zapata said. "To any potential writer out there, if that’s something you wanna pursue, don’t give up on it."