Frances Mayes had been planning a book of her experiences in Greece for some years, encouraged by many who found her letters and emails well written,and her turn of phrase telling a story very entertaining.
And then there was the irritation of that book 'Under the Tuscan Sun' by her namesake, about which she kept getting teased, strengthening her resolve to show what this Frances Mayes could do.
But the notes she kept never got expanded into a story until she had served her 'apprenticeship' as a journalist on the local English language paper, 'The Halki Visitor' which was started in 2002. Frances remained Editor (effectively sole researcher, author, photographer and advertising executive), till the last issue of 2005. The workload of running her own craft/gift shop, being a landlady and working for a travel company came to mean that the pressure of editorship was too much, so she became local correspondent for the paper, still submitting articles and photos.
Before all this, in another life, Frances was first an Honours graduate in English, then a librarian, before retraining as a teacher. She combined this with being a wife and mother, having 2 sons. During her 10 years in the teaching world, she gained, by thesis, her MA in Education - so Frances is an academic writer too. During this time she was overtaken by divorce, and by the urge to fulfil a long-standing ambition to teach English abroad.
Once in Greece, she followed many opportunities which opened up. Even things which seemed to go wrong were really going right. Fate was sending Fran to discover the wonderful little island where she and her Dad now have a beautiful antique house, and Fran a business which satisfies and exploits her creative and artistic talent.