To millions, Connor Franta is a familiar face. Part of many childhoods, Franta’s face was amongst the first YouTubers to emerge from the bright corners of the internet. The now New York Times bestselling author – after huge successes with A Work In Progress and Note To Self – is back with his third book House Fires. A soulful new publication of poetry, prose and photography taking us into a more raw and intimate side of his creative mind. Full of self reflection, self shot imagery and described as a safe space for his readers, Franta aims to conclude his thoughts and feelings by reflecting on his twenties as he strides up to his 30th birthday this year.
It’s not just writing and prose that Connor has mastered. From photographing Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo, to working with Calvin Klein, his work and tastes have matured alongside himself, even if he still has the charming boyish face we’ve all grown up with. Connor sat down with GAY TIMES to discuss this change in direction for his work, why his YouTube career is still booming, and why coming out was still one of the best moments in his life.
Congratulations on the new book release! I am a big fan of the way you’ve combined lots of methods of storytelling, from poetry to photography, in House Fires. Talk to us about your decision to do this?
Thank you! The structure of House Fires came naturally to me. I wanted to replicate the flow and complexity of experiences I depict in the book such as love, mental suffering, loss, and identity whiplash. Multiple mediums allow for a greater understanding.
One of the themes of House Fires is dealing with what you describe as ‘the daze of wandering through modern times in search of purpose’. Have you got any closer to finding that?
I’ve learned that purpose is fluid rather than concrete. It moves, shifts, and transforms with us as we move through time.
What was the most emotional part of House Fires to produce? Do you find it scary being so vulnerable with your audience?
Some of the chapters are pretty damn personal. They’re riddled with heavy topics I rarely talk about, so to give them freely to others is nothing short of terrifying because now there’s nowhere left to hide.
As an LGBTQ+ role model, what’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced when it comes to being open about your identity?
Honestly, I’ve had it pretty good. The world is still a deeply bigoted place, and difference isn’t as widely embraced as it should be yet. I still find myself in situations where I hesitate to say something queer coded or to show affection to another man out of fear of some strange adjacent retaliation. Whether that’s ridiculous or not, it is very much still present in my adult life. I hope to see the day where it’s not.
You’re coming up to 30, what was a defining moment for you throughout your twenties?
Accepting my sexuality and coming out changed everything for me. I feel as though I never was truly myself until that very moment, and from then on, I began.
How have you coped with the past 18 months? What’s kept you grounded and in the moment?
Long FaceTime calls, road trips upstate, game nights, cooking, and far too many miles of running. It’s been turbulent, but I’m grateful everyone I know and love has remained healthy. I’m reminded over and over again that it’s the most important thing.