'Barcelona break is cheaper than Dublin weekend'
The writer Tina Pisco has lived in West Cork for more than 20 years. Pisco's best-selling novels include Her Kind, Only a Paper Moon and Catch the Magpie. Her first short story collection, Sunrise Sunset, was recently long-listed for the 2017 Edge Hill Short Story Prize.
Originally from Madrid, Pisco is well known in Cork for her newspaper columns A West Cork Life - and as a teacher of creative writing.
What's the most important lesson about money which your career as a writer has taught you?
Pay bills when you have the money. It's a feast or famine when you're a writer. The feast is usually short-lived and comes before and after many months of making do, so clearing bills when the money comes in is essential.
What's the most expensive country you have ever visited?
Switzerland is hilariously expensive. Geneva is one of those places where you have a coffee on a trendy terrace and the bill makes you laugh hysterically. Personally, I think that Dublin has been out of control for a long time. I used to enjoy a weekend away in Dublin, but I stopped back in the boom days. I can have a great break in Barcelona for what it would cost us to spend two nights in Dublin and go out properly.
Are you better off than your parents?
In terms of capital, income and pension, definitely not. My parents are pretty wealthy by most people's standards. I opted out of all that and became a writer who lives in the countryside and grows vegetables, so making money was not the prime directive.
Apart from property, what's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?
Travel. If I had the means, I would love to take off for six months or a year. My most recent really expensive purchase was a Sony smart TV and Sky box to replace the old grey elephant of a TV we had.
What was your worst job?
When I was in college, I got a job in an Italian ice-cream parlour. The boss never learned my name. He called me "Thing" or "You". I was run off my feet for three hours. Then I'd go and buy oranges and bread, and my wages were gone.
What was your biggest financial mistake?
Every time I go to Shandon in Cork city, I kick myself for not buying a house there in 1998. It was for sale for €30,000 and I had just received one of those feast-sized cheques for my novel, Only a Paper Moon. We had been up the proverbial creek for months, so I paid bills instead of a deposit on the house. Not only was that house worth 10 times that price during the boom times, it would have paid for itself and provided housing for my daughters when they live in Cork.
Android or iPhone?
I recently went back to a Nokia push-button phone and I couldn't be happier.
Have you ever made an insurance claim?
My house is every stupid blow-in's dream: a period house on three acres. Think Father Ted meets Ferngully. We once had a burst pipe in the attic which flooded the house, bringing down the ceiling in an upstairs bedroom. That was probably the biggest thing I ever claimed for.
iTunes or Spotify?
I used to piggyback on my youngest daughter's Spotify account but I didn't realise that I was hijacking her computer when I did. She's a sound engineer. Once she was playing mood music before a show at the Opera House and I changed it! I guess I should get my own account. I still have all my vinyl.
What was the last thing you bought online?
Flights. Ninety per cent of what I buy online is travel-related.
Would you buy Irish property now?
Irish property is still undervalued. If I had a big lump of money, I'd definitely buy a property. They say that property will increase by 10pc this year, but that would still put my house at 50pc of what it was worth at the height of the boom.
Sunday Indo Business