Whilst starting and running a gite business, near Montcabrier in the Lot, with his wife, he also worked on weaving a tale of profit driven spirituality in his book Stunt Road.
His life in France is one of preparing beds, tidying rooms for guests and taking his son swimming, a far cry from his university days in the US and hours pouring over legal contracts for a firm in the City of London.
“We started coming down to this corner of the south west of France when our son was about six months old, but I didn’t know much about France outside of Paris and Strasbourg,” Greg said.
“My wife Sophia said the Dordogne was suppose to be nice and so we ended up renting a house not in the Dordogne, but in the neighbouring Lot as that was all we could find at the last minute.
“For me as an America born and raised in Los Angeles where our house, which was built in the late 60s, was considered old, finding medieval village, after medieval village saw us both fall in love with the area and so we kept coming back.
“We tried the Gers and the Tarn regions, but we kept gravitating back to this little corner of the Lot.”
“I met my wife studying law in America at Duke University, she is Dutch and had come over to get an advanced degree,” Greg said.
“I was getting my basic law degree, and I’d studied in the hope of using it as a passport abroad.
“Travel was always there as I’d done my junior year in university overseas in Edinburgh, a great student town.
“But I also had an interest in international relations and wanted to get out and see the world, law seemed the way to do it.”
Following graduation Greg secured his dream job, working for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Guinea in West Africa.
And despite hoping to avoid a tropical climate, he was pitched in to a situation few had expected.
“As we were preparing to help repatriate people from Sierra Leone a coup was launched in the Sierra Leonean capital of Freetown, so our plans were turned upside down, it was a very turbulent time,” Greg said.
“I eventually left and joined Sophia in London where she was now working with her law firm.
“We lived in Kilburn, which was as ideal because it was a little out of the centre, but with good transport into the City, a lovely park near by, it was very gentrified.
“We spent six years in London, I was working for an American firm handling corporate securities and whilst it was something I wanted to do and try, it wasn’t what I’d studied law for and in the end I wasn’t doing what I loved or what I was good at.”
During these years Greg used spare moments of his time to write short stories and a novel, although after finishing it he decided it was rubbish and put it to the back of a drawer.
“Writing was something that I had always wanted to do, but I also realised that while I wanted to be a novelist, I didn’t want to be a starving one, that part never appealed to me,” said Greg.
“But a friend put me in touch with a ‘book doctor’ who looked over my first novel, pointed out a few problems with the plot but who said that I could make a living from writing if I was able to devote the time.
“Hearing that was great, but you don’t feel a genuine writer until you are published, but to have someone say ‘keep going’ at least told me I could do this.”
The arrival of their son made Greg and Sophia think about the future, and as they talked they realised they didn’t want to become a family that relied upon a nanny and gathered the trappings of a professional life.
They decided that one of them would have to leave work to look after their son and it was Greg who raised his hand quicker than Sophia.
“But I got myself a digital voice recorder and when I was out pushing the pram I would work on Stunt Road.
“I had a draft ready before coming to France and kept revising it, with Sophia proving to be a wonderful editor she most probably read it more times than me.
“However, much of this work was interrupted by Sophia’s illness as she spent a year fighting breast cancer, which she won, but it involved chemotherapy and everything was put on hold really.”
By Spring 2005 the move to France was in full swing and after renting a place for a couple of months they found a property that enabled them to offer three gites, with a pool and land – Domaine de la Dolce was soon up and running.
But does looking after guests and ensuring the properties are ship-shape offer Greg much time to write?
“I’m usually running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off especially in the summer as it’s peak season and our son is home from school,” he said.
“During school time when things are calmer I get up at six in the morning and write which works well for me.
“One thing that I’ve noticed is the difference between being employed and working for yourself, my time was structured in London, here I have to do that myself and while it is a great opportunity, boy is it hard.”
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