Novelist Frances Mayes is today best known for her best-selling memoir Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy. But long before her big breakthrough as a writer, Mayes grew up in the Fitzgerald area of Georgia, graduating from the University of Florida and later San Francisco State University with an M.A. in creative writing. Francis eventually went on to serve as chair of the university’s Creative Writing department, but for many years prior to that, she published a number of moderately successful novels.
Frances Mayes began writing with a series of poetry collections: Climbing Aconcagua (1977), Sunday in Another country (1977), After Such Pleasures (1979), The Arts of Fire (1982), Hours (1984), and Ex Voto (1995.) The full-length memoir Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy was her first departure from poetry, but it also became her big breakthrough. Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy remained on the New York Times Best Seller list for more than two years before the novel was acquired for the film rights; the film adaptation starring Diane Lane was released in 2003.
Since the success of Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes has gone on to write the additional non-fiction words: Bella Tuscany, A Year in the World, Every Day in Tuscany, In Tuscany, Bringing Tuscany Home, The Tuscan Sun Cookbook, Under Magnolia, Swan, and The Arts of Fire. She and her husband divide their time between their home in North Carolina and their Tuscan home in Cortona, Italy.