Sunday, September 5, 2021

Interview with Thomas Fargnoli - Author of The Deacon: An Unexpected Life

According to Tom's new book, "The Deacon: An Unexpected Life," he had everything in life, a wife, children, grandchildren, healthy life, a great job, etc., but suddenly it was all snatched away. This book follows Tom as he deals with the loss of his wife, finds new love, and battles the dilemma of remaining in the denomination or starting a new life and remarrying. Check out the exclusive interview below.

Tom studied law enforcement and computer programming before becoming a magician and a deacon in the Catholic Church. In order to help others, he is turning the page to writing, normalizing suicide discussions, and becoming a voice for those who are facing the same challenges.

Can you tell us a bit about your book The Deacon: An Unexpected Life?

The Deacon – An Unexpected Life, represents my life over the last five years. I was happily married for 40 years and, studied to become a deacon for over 5 years, and enjoyed serving as a deacon for 5 years. It was my dream to be a deacon in my retirement. Life was good – wife, home, children, grandchildren, health, retirement, and an amazing ministry. But then, unimaginable tragedy and horror came to my family.

My wife, suddenly and tragically, took her own life. Grieving the loss of a spouse, or any loved one, is devastating but as I quickly learned, grieving is much more complex when it involves losing your loved one to suicide. Secondly, when a deacon loses his wife, he cannot pursue another loving relationship that could lead to marriage. I had to commit to a life of celibacy and, essentially, to a life alone. I made this commitment before I was ordained, but now, the reality of the rule was like cutting my arm off. I simply could not decide, and it drove me crazy. This battle went on for almost 2 years – I couldn’t decide. It drove me crazy –In fact, it landed me in the hospital for open-heart surgery.

My faith was truly being tested, but I managed to hold onto it. But with that decision, came something I never expected. Something worse than loneliness - Rejection - rejection from the church, from some priests, even from some of my brother deacons.

After publishing the book, I was amazed to see how many people were touched by my story and wrote letters to me. People who related to grieving and isolation, people who lost loved ones from suicide, people who struggled with surgery and recovery, people who have faced tough decisions, and people who have experienced rejection.

The subject of your book is very heavy. How do you hope people will benefit from reading it?

This book is my true story with a touch of fiction to make the story more moving. My goal was to make sure my story moved the reader in the way it moved me. In other words, I wanted the reader to feel my pain, my loneliness, my turmoil, and to relate to it. But I also wanted the reader to experience my faith and my hope and to help them see glimmers of light despite what darkness they may be going through in their lives.

My message is that it is important to focus on those glimmers of light and together with faith, it is possible to journey from the darkness to the light. In my book, I leave the pain and loneliness behind as I journey with God to find my peace and light. In so doing, I find love again and marry again. My wife, Dorothy, also lost her spouse tragically and suddenly. We are both convinced that God, as well as our late spouses, brought us together.

Would you say you learned anything from writing the book?

The most important thing I learned about writing this book is that I have a way to tap into other people’s feelings in a way that allows them to relate to my feelings, This book started out as a cathartic experience with a focus on expressing my feelings around loss and rejection, but as it evolved, the focus switched to helping others grasp and/or maintain faith and trust – trust in people and in God – and how to build on those relationships.

I intend to use this skill as I proceed with my writing.

Was there anything you found particularly challenging when writing the book?

Since this book was my true story, I found it relatively easy to write. Having said that, however, I found two main challenges. First, I had to relay my painful experiences in a way that the reader could experience them. That meant that I had to relive those unpleasant experiences before arriving in a peaceful and state. Second, since the subject matter included rather heavy content, in the beginning, I had to express it in such a way to move the reader through it – to carry him through the dark times in such a way that he can experience peace and light that I eventually experienced.

Do you have plans to write any more books?

Using my experience from The Deacon, yes, I am planning another book. The next book will be fictional, but with a similar purpose – helping move my readers to a place where they may discover peace and hope, despite their disbelief and discouragement. Interestingly, I see this story unfolding entirely in a tavern.

What three words would you use to describe this book?

Faith, Hope, and Courage

All proceeds of this book go to Suicide Awareness.

My book is available on Amazon and Barns & Noble.

On my website,, you will find more about me and more about my current book. In addition, I started a page of me performing some of my favorite magic tricks!

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