Diana Finfrock Farrar joined the Writers’ League at the Texas Book Festival in October. She lives in Dallas.
Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?
Diana Finfrock Farrar: This is my first novel and I didn’t choose to write it. It chose me. One of my readers has suggested that I have created a new genre: the informational novel. I like that moniker and feel that it is very fitting. You see, my book is a work of fiction, but it is based upon true stories and current events revolving around the legal and societal changes across the country with regard to gay rights. Focusing on the difficulties we create in relationships of all kind, I introduce the reader to both gay and straight individuals and couples and illustrate the similarities in our joys as well as our struggles – taking the fear out of something we may think we don’t understand. The Door of the Heart is a story of being true to oneself, of marriage and commitment, and of individual responses to change; but in a broader sense, it is also a story about how polarization limits the emotional and spiritual growth of individuals and destroys every aspect of community.
Scribe: What authors would you like to have coffee or a beer with and which beverage?
DFF: Sharing an afternoon with Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harper Lee, and Kathryn Stockett would be amazing. Each of these women have inspired me not only to be a serious author, but to be a better person. Their button-pushing novels introduced us to a side of ourselves we didn’t want to claim and to a sector of society that we didn’t want to see. And they changed our outlook on the world, and our place in it, by putting faces to issues – personalizing those in our midst that we’ve tried so hard to ignore and disregard. And I would love to share with them the way I used the same tactic in The Door of the Heart, but with the driving force of my story being LGBT issues, not race.
We would start in a parlor with high tea, but then later on move to a patio with a fire pit and maybe some wheat beer. I think the contrast in settings, first formal and then casual, would be a fitting tribute to their writing styles and the way they crafted characters that their readers connected with and, by books’ end, had come to embrace as personal friends.
Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?
DFF: This may sound self-serving, but I would want a copy of my own novel. You see, The Door of the Heart is me. It is filled with my dreams, my joys, my struggles, and my fears. It is what I have seen the world be and what I hope for the world to become. I have incorporated my wife, close friends and other members of my family into many of the characters – so having this book would be like having them with me. To have to read any other book over and over again would actually sap my sanity, but I have established real relationships with the characters in my story, and it would bring me great comfort to have them with me.
Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?
DFF: As stated above, I am a new member, but I look forward to exploring the many networking and marketing opportunities the group offers. The WLT also appears to be a wealth of information when it comes to finding agents and publishing. I wish I had learned of the Writers’ League much earlier in this whole process of writing.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
DFF: That remains to be seen. It was through my Christian faith that I first heard God’s call to make a difference for LGBT equality, and The Door of the Heart was my response to that call. It was made clear to me, in numerous ways throughout the process of writing this work, that I had a story to tell and that He expected me to tell it. I’m still not sure if all of “the story” has been told, and I think only time will tell whether or not another novel “chooses” me as this one did.
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!
DFF: I learned from my late parents that there is never a wrong time to seek justice. They taught by example, modeling for me how to rely on my faith while at the same time using my gift of intelligence to discern exactly what “justice” is. It has pained me to see Christianity, which has been my life-long foundation, being used as a weapon against people instead of being used as a means of compassion and inclusion. I believe in the power of love, and I believe that my novel should be widely read to eliminate fears that breed hatred and to spread awareness of what authentic Christianity looks like. I want to live in a world where people treat others with respect and dignity. Committed love should not be defined by gender, and love should not be controversial. It is my hope that The Door of the Heart will encourage discussion, open hearts and empower the change we so desperately need when it comes to acceptance and equality. Together we can make a difference.
“Every time you stand up for an ideal, you send forth a tiny ripple of hope” – Robert F. Kennedy.
… And I want to create as many ripples as possible.
You can find my book on Amazon.com here.