Life Lessons:
Suzette Francis

Are you happy at the moment?

Yes, very happy!

If you could go back and say anything to your 16 year old self now – what would it be?

What you learned from Mrs. Hendricks last year is right on point.  You do have the power within you to have everything you desire.  You really are like a magnet that attracts the energy you’re giving off.  You really are going to have a fabulous life.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

So, don’t get hung up on what other people think.  Don’t worry about being liked.  One of these days, you’ll have all the friends you need.

What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?

To get my current novel published and the one I’ve just started completed.

What’s your secret to happiness?

Long ago, I decided that I would probably not be the richest person in the world, but that I had absolute control over whether or not to try to be the happiest.  It is a goal that I strive for daily.  I get up in the morning, meditate, and after getting dressed and something to eat, I go out into the world with a smile on my face.  Sometimes, I forget I’m doing it and others smile back at me.  It takes a while before I realize I’m doing it.  Smiles are the contagion that the spread of happiness requires.

What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

I meditate twice a day, often for as long as an hour.  I’m convinced that this daily ritual is the key to peace and tranquility.

What’s your biggest regret?

I had a nephew, Christopher, who visited every summer from the age of eight.  His mother was single and received no support from his father.  My husband and I would send Christopher to camp and showered him with as much love and affection as we could.  The time always flew.  When he was fifteen, we helped him get a summer job and realized that he had serious deficits in his education.  That summer, we enrolled him in summer school and he was quite busy with his job and homework.  We knew that this was a critical year and begged my sister to allow him to stay for the school year.  But she refused and we had no choice but to return him. That year, he got involved in a street gang, got a girl pregnant, and eventually, dropped out of school.  The following summer, he didn’t want to visit and ended up getting in trouble.  He was sent to prison, and when he got out two years later, he was shot.  He died last year.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

I wanted my three children to grow up to be independent and happy.  I encouraged them to make decisions for themselves at an early age, always insisted that they should follow their hearts.  Even in school, I taught them that if they focused on what they liked about a subject, they’d eventually enjoy learning about it.  They’re grown now and living independently and happily.

What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

I’m a very intuitive person, sometimes too much so, and often to the point of annoyance.  I have a bad habit of guessing what people are thinking.

Aside from motherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

I’m proud of getting my books published.

When were you happiest?

One evening, my husband and children picked up their instruments and played the most beautiful music together.  It was the most surreal moment I’ve ever experienced, made all the years of carting them off to violin and piano lessons worthwhile.

What ten words best describe you?

Happy, loving, peaceful, compassionate, loyal, intuitive, loving, lighthearted, daring, introverted


Author Suzette Francis wrote her first novel Rules for A Pretty Woman in 2003. It won the Romantic Times Multi-cultural award that same year. Her new novel Hello, Goodbye Again was published while Francis completed her MFA from George Mason University and studied as a Creative Writing Honors Fellow at Oxford University.  Also while at Oxford, Francis wrote as her thesis what she hopes to publish as an English historical novel Scraps from the Master’s Table. Her third novel The Midlife is currently awaiting publication.