Born in Sydney, Frannie lived in New Zealand for several years before returning to Australia, where she lived on farms near Crookwell and in Central West NSW.
Her love of landscape was shared with her brother, Brett Whiteley. She has written lifestyle articles for magazines such as Country Style, Vogue Living and Marie Claire and she also wrote poetry, short stories and art criticism. Her first book, published to acclaim, is Brett, and her second book, The Seven Loves of Mary Magdalen, was shortlisted for the Finch Memoir Prize.
Her poetry has been published in a volume named Poison Picnic.