Saturday 3 December 2016

'I was in my late 20s before I made enough to move out of home...'

Money talks: Darren Shan

Published 17/07/2016 | 02:30

Darren Shan
Darren Shan

Darren O'Shaughnessy - the Limerick-born author who writes under the pen name Darren Shan, is a huge name in the teenage fantasy novel market.

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He made his breakthrough in 2000 with the publication of Cirque Du Freak - the first novel in The Saga of Darren Shan series.

He has since sold 25 million copies of his book worldwide and his books are on sale in 39 countries - in 31 languages.

As part of the West Cork Literary Festival, Shan will be in St Brendan's School Hall in Bantry this Friday, July 22, at 3pm, and will read from the twelfth and final book in his Zom-B series, Zom-B Goddess.

What is the most important lesson about money which your career as a writer has taught you?

The line between financial success and failure can be very thin, so enjoy money if it comes your way, but don't make it the bar by which you judge yourself. Many fine writers only make a pittance.

What's the best phrase you have ever read - or written - about money?

No matter how much you make, you can't buy your way out of the grave.

Apart from property, what's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

I've spent quite a lot of money on art over the years, but most of it has held its value or increased, so I don't feel any guilt about those particular purchases.

What was your worst job?

The only job I never really enjoyed was when I spent a couple of days on a building site, painting pipes. But the monotony of it was too much, so I cashed in my chips and fled.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

I made a couple of big investments, shortly before the recession kicked in, that ended up flat-lining - I wasn't even able to write them off as tax losses. But luckily I never went all-in, even though my bank manager at the time was urging me to. So although the losses hurt, I can bear them.

What was your best financial killing?

I bought a lot of original comic art not long after I started making good money from book sales - back when you could get great pieces through eBay and similar sites in the earlier years of the internet explosion.

Some of that art has sky-rocketed in value in the years since. I never buy art as an investment - I buy it just because I like it. However, it's nice to know that it's gone up in value should I ever have to offload any of it.

Do you use any money saving apps?

No.

Do you have an Android or iPhone?

I have a good old Nokia brick when I'm in Ireland, though I've upgraded (reluctantly) to a Samsung smartphone when I travel in Britain.

Do you know how much is in your current account?

Yes. I use online banking to keep in the loop with my spending money.

Have you ever made an insurance claim?

Once - when my watch was stolen at a concert.

Have you ever switched utility provider?

Nowhere near as often as I probably should, but I'm a creature of habit and I tend to stay put when I'm happy enough with a service.

Do you use iTunes or Spotify?

iTunes - though I'm old school and listen to most of my music on CDs.

What was the last thing you bought online?

Batteries for a watch, and some DVDs.

Is your mortgage fixed, variable or tracker?

I've been lucky enough not to need one.

Would you buy Irish property now?

I've never bought property as it doesn't excite me and I can do without the hassle of having to stay on top of it. 

Do you pay in cash or card?

A mix of both, but increasingly more by card.

Do you ever haggle?

Occasionally, but I'm not a very good haggler.

Are you better off than your parents?

Financially, yes. I'm one of those rare writers whose work has sold well. But I was in my late 20s before I made enough to move out of home, so my parents would cut me down to size if I started crowing about my success!

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