Marjory McGinn – Author Profile

A warm welcome to author Marjory McGinn on my blog this week to tell us about her great new book which transports us to Greece on the wings of a pun – Things Can Only Get Feta.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATell me a little bit about yourself as a person?

Although born in Perth, Scotland, I emigrated with my family to Australia as a nine year-old but I think it engendered a restless spirit in me that has continued ever since. Like most kids brought up in Australia, I didn’t have a sense of boundaries, or a fear of exploration, so it was a very transformative experience. My first friend in Australia was a vibrant Greek Aussie called Anna with whom I shared many long family lunches where Greek was mostly spoken, which sounded madly exotic to my young Scottish ear. I am sure that inspired a life-long interest in Greece which culminated in my spending three years in the Peloponnese from 2010, and writing a book about it.

What made you want to be a writer?

The move to Australia and my attempts as a child to make sense of that huge experience definitely spurred the urge to write and I used to pen stories for my own amusement which, not surprisingly, always had a migrant angle. I started in journalism in Sydney and later became a feature writer for a Sunday paper. I loved journalism and found it deeply fulfilling yet at the back of my mind, I had the dream of writing a novel. I had no shortage of material either but despite scribbling out a few stories now and then, I never got round to the novel when I was younger. Maybe it was the fear of failing that put me off. Journalism was a safer bet and all journalists know the thrill of seeing a byline on a big newspaper spread. It can sustain you creatively for a long time.

Tell me about your journey as a writer and how you have developed.

About eight years ago, now living back in Scotland with my partner and our manic Jack Russell dog, Wallace, I was freelancing and finally had time to start a novel. The story had a journalistic theme and was very light-hearted. I thought it was great (naturally) but the rejection letters piled up, and despite two massive re-writes, I never found a publisher. It’s a common rite of passage, I know, but I think the book probably wasn’t good enough, and I had a lot more to learn about creative writing. But during that time though I did discover my own writing ‘voice’ and that certainly helped when I began writing my non-fiction book Things Can Only Get Feta. It was certainly encouraging that my publisher Anthony Weldon said the book read like a novel. That might not have delighted more serious writers of non-fiction but it certainly hit the right spot for me.

bookcoverTell me about your current book and what makes it a great read?

Things Can Only Get Feta is about a slightly risky adventure my (journalist) partner Jim and I, and our dog Wallace, undertook in Greece from 2010.  After an Arctic winter in Scotland and a restructuring of the newspaper industry we decided we needed time out of the rat race and escaped to Greece since it’s a place we both love, and I had some Greek at least having spent a year in Athens in my twenties. The timing was terrible though as Greece slid into economic ruin, but we went anyway, picking a remote village in the Mani, southern Peloponnese, because it seemed more authentic. We met some wonderful, stoical Greeks who provided great material for the book. We also had many escapades, especially with Wallace, like smuggling him into a 2,500 year old archaeological site in a backpack with the lure of chicken sandwiches, which turned into a chapter in the book.

I started writing it after the first year. I had the sense that this region was so remote and unspoilt that it couldn’t stay that way forever and I wanted to capture its way of life before it disappeared. And because I worked hard on the language I got to know a lot of the village Greeks well, so I like to think the book, although it’s also entertaining, goes a bit deeper into the Greek experience than a lot of comparable books.

What’s next? Maybe a second book on Greece and one day I might have another bash at a novel. We’ll see.

Where is the book available?

Things Can Only Get Feta: Two journalists and their crazy dog living through the Greek Crisis (Bene Factum Publishing, London) is out now.

The paperback and Kindle are available at here.

And also at, and leading bookstores.

Information about the book and about Greece

8 thoughts on “Marjory McGinn – Author Profile”

  1. Great title!!! You can almost taste it – I can see how the lure of Greece would draw you after winter in Scotland. Good luck with the book! Isn’t it exciting to see your work in print!!

    1. Hi Carol, Thanks for your kind wishes. And yes, it’s very satisfying to see something in print. Many writers say that’s when the hard work really begins and I guess that’s right. Regards, Marjory

  2. This is one I’m going to have to get! I also love the title, but I have a thing for books about living in other countries, so this sounds as if it is right up my street. I shall add it to my collection of places I dream about going to. Greece has been on my wish list since I was a teenager. Good luck with it Margery!

  3. Hi there vallypee. Thanks for your comments. If the book makes you want to go to Greece even more, I will be happy indeed. Everyone dreams of the Greek islands but the southern Peloponnese is something special. A taste of old, traditional Greece that everyone loves. Opa! Regards, Marjory

  4. Congratulations on your book! I was born and raised in the US but always dreamed of living somewhere else for a while. One of the most beautiful moments of my life was sitting in a restaurant on the beach on Santorini. Lunch after a morning of snorkeling. Laughing and enjoying the company of my husband and some good friends, watching the Greek flag blowing in the breeze, enjoying the best tomatoes I’ve ever had. A little olive oil, feta, bread…this is what life is about. That afternoon sustained me through many more difficult times. I look forward to reading your book!

    1. Hi Jill. Thanks for sharing that lovely story. I know just what you mean. One of my best moments was also on Santorini for similar reasons. Greeks really know how to live well on very little and it’s a gift which has sustained them good and bad times. I think that’s what draws us to Greece, searching out that happy simplicity. I only hope if you read my book it will bring back some of those Greek memories for you. Please let me know. Kind regards, Marjory x

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