When Diane Golling stumbled across a job posting for an Executive Secretary at the California Arts Council, she couldn’t resist applying. It sounded like the perfect “day job” for someone who had always supplemented her life in the arts with a series of office gigs. It was 2006 and she was working a part-time civil service job while writing historical romance novels. “In the interview,” Diane recalls, “I asked if I could do the Arts Council job part time.” According to Diane, “They laughed and laughed.”
She took the job anyway.
For nearly ten years, Diane has devoted to the California Arts Council a considerable chunk of what would otherwise be prime writing time. She plunged in with enthusiasm, volunteered for several roles that became permanent additions to her responsibilities, and made herself indispensable as the agency’s proofreader, copy editor, and social media maven—for which she received a promotion to Administrative Assistant, since “Executive Secretary” no longer described her job. She brought a unique skill set to the CAC. Her background in acting as well as writing—”It’s all about storytelling, isn’t it?”—gave her a gift for creating characters. And one of those characters is the friendly, helpful, slightly cheeky persona you encounter on the California Arts Council’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.
“Diane has been the voice of this agency,” says Director Craig Watson. She crafts the social media postings and is the final set of eyes on everything we write, from blog entries to annual reports—and, come to think of it, that’s even her voice on our automatic answering machine. But Diane says that the CAC’s voice is not really hers. It’s just her interpretation of what this agency is, at its heart: Human.
Diane was a childhood bookworm whose love of language and story moved her from reading to writing at an early age. She read aloud with such expression that the local NBC station put her on the air as a newscaster, reporting on local elementary school happenings. This led her to discover acting, which she pursued for the next quarter century or so, until she married an aerospace engineer who requested that she find a creative outlet that would keep her home in the evenings. She immediately switched gears from one form of storytelling to another. In the ensuing decade she produced eight novels and a novella, all published by Signet Books, a division of Penguin Random House, under her maiden name, Diane Farr.
Diane’s last day in the office will be April 15. She is leaving her job to resume her career, and although she claims she will miss us terribly, she admits that she looks forward to days spent drinking coffee, going for long walks, and pounding out her next novel. She will also be recording some of her books for Audible, accepting speaking engagements, attending writers’ conferences, and traveling with her husband. We wish her great good fortune and much happiness.