Diana Farley of Brookville, PA, will sign and speak about her memoir, “The Road Back to Hell,” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, at Prendergast Library, 509 Cherry St., Jamestown.
Refreshments will be served, and copies of the book will be available for purchase at a cost of $20.
Ms. Farley was born and raised in Jamestown, and she spent many hours as a young girl at the Prendergast Library, where she discovered her love of writing and desire to be an author. At the age of 10, she wrote an eight-page play which her fifth-grade teacher, Loretta Funk, arranged to have her class perform in the auditorium of C.C. Ring Elementary School. “The Life of Stephen Foster” was based on an article she had read at the library about the composer. She also served as a school reporter for The Post-Journal during junior high school.
According to the author, she went from being a happy four-year-old in 1954, to a 27-year-old woman struggling to save her life and sanity in 1976. At the age of 63, she decided to write about her early family life that was marred by alcoholism, marital affairs, molestations and suicide attempts. In preparation for writing the book, she spent two years doing research by studying family photos, reading old letters, looking through boxes of memorabilia and spending time with her three surviving sisters.
The title of her book comes from the fact that when she returned to North Carolina for a sister’s funeral years after her troubled past, she considered the trip “the road back to hell” because she felt dragged back to a time and place where she didn’t want to go.
Writing brought her solace at the time, and Ms. Farley says she found the peace, understanding and forgiveness she had been seeking while writing her memoir. Her goal is to help others by sharing her story with them. She describes her mission in life as “reaching out to others and encouraging them to release their pent-up feelings through writing.” She believes writing about personal experiences will enable people to explore their deepest thoughts and “free their soul.”
Ms. Farley began attending yearly writing classes in 2009 at the Chautauqua Institution, where she participated in a “Write Your Memoir in Six Months” program in 2013. She was an advertising consultant for more than 35 years, and she and her husband are co-owners of Mega Rock, WMKX/WJNG-FM in Western Pennsylvania.
She has served as president of the Brookville Area Business Association; Brookville Area Chamber of Commerce; Historic Brookville, Inc.; and the Jefferson County Historical Society. She received the Walter Dick Award for outstanding community service from the Brookville Area Chamber of Commerce in 2002, and Pennsylvania’s Best Women in Business Award from Gov. Edward Rendell in 2003.
Her appearance at Prendergast Library is free and open to the public. For information, call 484-7135.