Emily Francis: 'Know what you know and know it confidently'

Author Emily Francis tells all in our Q&A

Emily Francis is an American author living in Malta. She writes for the tourism magazine Oh My Malta with a column titled Emily in Malta where she interviews local farmers, fishermen and chefs about the way foods are grown, harvested, caught and prepared on the island. She is the author of the new book The Taste of Joy: Mediterranean Wisdom For a Life Worth Savoring available now where books are sold. www.emilyafrancisbooks.com.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Take my dogs out. I have three dogs who came with us from the United States (along with our cat who passed away last year after a beautiful and long life). One of my dogs is quite old and I must walk her down the steps each morning. Immediately when I stand up, the dogs are gathered and ready for me to take them out.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Know what you know and know it confidently.

What do you never leave the house without?

My phone.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Energetic, ambitious, quirky.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

My family.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

My obsession with chocolate- all kinds of chocolate (except white chocolate…that’s a story for another day) it can be creamy, solid, frozen…doesn’t matter. I must have it every single day (more than once and preferably paired with either peanut butter or mint or side-by-side scoops of chocolate peanut butter and mint chocolate chip ice cream).

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Life has taught me that your thoughts become solid. Guard them with everything you’ve got. If you don’t believe you can do it, you never will. It all begins with having faith in your specific purpose and reason for being here. We are all here for a reason. Finding out what that is and stepping into it will change your life. From there, life will keep giving us lessons but with softer hands. We don’t always have to learn things the hard way.

Property and cars aside what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

A publicist.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

Life is shorter than we realize and absolutely precious. When you are young, you don’t really see it. As you go through the twenties, into the thirties and beyond, you will realize that if you don’t go after whatever your dreams may be, you may never get to. Get your mind clear and your goals set into focus and move toward them with unwavering effort and faith. There is no time to waste in self-doubt or complicity. Life is meant to be relished, experienced, treasured and honoured. That’s what age has taught me (I’m 48 now). I’m a little late to the game, but I’m in it now. I really wish I would have understood this in my teens and twenties.

Who’s your inspiration?

My children. If I want to teach them that we can achieve anything, I must lead the way. It’s always my girls that keep my perspective in not backing away from a challenge. If anyone inspires me to be the best version of myself, it’s my family.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I have a long history with anxiety. My challenge is not letting those fearful what-if thoughts be the ones who win (anymore).

If you weren’t an author, what would you be doing?

Probably still doing massage therapy or going back to school for nursing or something in that field.

Do you believe in God?


If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

My Dad. He died when I was much too young. Gosh, what I would give to know him as an adult.

What’s your worst habit?

I never forget things. (This goes both ways…positive and negative). Also, I’m horribly unorganized. It’s a messy pile, but I know where everything is. I wish I was one of those super neat and tidy people…but I’m just not in any form or fashion.   

What are you like when you’re drunk?

I gave up getting drunk in my mid-twenties just at the brink of becoming a raging alcoholic. I stopped drinking for a long time and did away with hard liquor. Now, I’ll have some drinks with friends occasionally and I like to keep it light. I’m only in it for the fun. No deep talks when I’m drinking.

Who would you have play you in a film?

Hayden Panettiere.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

As a behaviour: Do not ever lie to me. It will not end well. Even the small white lies, I can’t stand them. They are a cop-out and show your weakness. Own it and move on.

As a habit people might do that I deplore: When people scrape their teeth on the silverware. It makes my skin crawl.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Can we skip the funeral and cremate me and throw me in the sea and play party music? I don’t want all that sad stuff going on. Celebrate me and celebrate each other. Throw on some Jimmy Buffet and eat that cheeseburger in Paradise.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My wedding rings.

What is your earliest memory?

I remember being very young 2-3 living in Los Angeles, California where I was born and there was a train track that ran just above our friends’ home. I remember standing outside and watching it go by and thinking how insanely loud it was. I have such a vivid memory from that day.

When did you last cry, and why?

I have no doubt it was from a movie. Movies help me move the tears out when I know they are stuck somewhere inside me. I’m not a crier by nature, but TV commercials and movies- they get me every time.

Who would you most like to meet?

I would love to meet both Brené Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert. Both masterful writers and speakers from the US.

What’s your favourite food?

Greek food any day of the week.

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

Big Kid Rick. He teaches dance classes (Zumba) and I think he is marvellous. I just love him! I like to learn the dances and do them with him. If here were in Malta, I’d go to his class every day!

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

To the future to see exactly when we will finally realize that our collective actions are destroying the planet and make the changes needed to turn it around.

What book are you reading right now?

The Emotional Lives of Teenagers by Lisa Damour.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

To fly.

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

Get the memoir published. The Taste of Joy, my latest book, has great introductions into how life has been in Malta, however, it’s a self-help book (which is what I’ve always written). A memoir is nearly impossible to get professionally published. I want to write the next book that way, as the story and journey. And the ultimate and unwavering dream is to have that book picked up for a screenplay and turned into a movie (Netflix or Amazon Prime, it doesn’t need to go to the big silver screen). I really would relish being a ‘one-hit wonder’ in my life! Think Under the Tuscan Sun meets Eat, Pray Love but with a family.

What music are you listening to now?

I’m really getting into Billie Eillish… I am seeing what all the fuss is about with her and understanding it. I’m also listening more to Dua Lipa and Suki Waterhouse. Of course, I always keep my favourites along for whatever ride I’m on though: Dave Mathews Band, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Blue October, Mazzy Star… those are musts while riding around the island.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

Those are two very different lanes of musical choices for me! In the shower, I chant in Sanskrit from when I studied yoga and lived at an ashram. It’s my shower go to music. I’m always in concert in the shower! Working out, I need to hit higher speeds like Eminem, Kid Rock & Prince.