After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 1991, Fran Houston worked as a highly successful electrical engineer in controls design until she was overtaken by illness. She was diagnosed with major depression in 1994 and with bipolar disorder in 2003. She also has chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) and fibromyalgia.
A resident of Portland, Maine, Fran is a former member of Maine Authors Publishing and the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Inspired by Peaks Island’s rich history, she interviewed and photographed long-time residents. Publication of For the Love of Peaks: Island Portraits and Stories, a Collection (Maine Authors Publishing, 2010) led to her appearing on Maine Watch with Jennifer Rooks (Maine Public Broadcasting Network and National Public Radio) to discuss her book and the challenges of living with illness.
Fran is passionate about making invisible illness visible. She has been a columnist in the Island Times and performed at book and poetry readings. Her Maine Voices Opinion Editorial appeared in the Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram for Mental Health Awareness Week (October 2015). An open letter to her psychiatrist was published in the winter 2015 edition of The Maine Review. Written with her best friend and co-author Martin Baker, High Tide, Low Tide: The Caring Friend’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder inspires and informs others who support a friend with mental illness. In their latest book, No One Is Too Far Away: Notes from a Transatlantic Friendship, Fran and Martin demonstrate that mental illness needn’t be a barrier to meaningful connection; indeed it can be the glue that holds people together.
Fran loves her home town of Portland, Maine, and her many friends who love her dearly.
Author website and blog: www.gumonmyshoe.com