‘Being self-published is not for the faint-hearted. But in a pandemic, it’s mind-boggling’

Dolores Keaveney

Louise McBride

Dolores Keaveney, from Mullingar in Co Westmeath, is a writer and illustrator of children’s picture books. A painter for more 40 years, she self-published her first book, If I were a Bee, in 2009 at the age of 60. She has self-published numerous titles since, including her latest book, Huwie The Apple Tree. Another book of hers, Dee the Bee, was published recently by an Australian publisher. For more information, visit www.doloreskeaveney.com.

What’s the most important lesson about money that your career as a writer and illustrator has taught you?

As a very late starter into the writing and illustrating scene, money did not feature large in my plans. I did need it and I had some SSIA savings which helped me a lot. If I expected to make a fortune writing and illustrating books, I was very much mistaken, but I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me throughout the last 12 years and particularly during this pandemic.

What has the coronavirus crisis taught you about money?

Being self-published at the best of times is not for the faint-hearted – but during a pandemic, it is mind boggling. It has been difficult – no fairs, no launches, no book signings, no Pandemic Unemployment Payment. I never worry about money though and I believe without doubt that the universe looks after me. If you work hard and do your best and believe, you will be looked after and you will prosper – even in the worst of times.

What’s the best advice you ever got about money?

I never got any advice about money. My practice is save it and spend it. I know that a lot of money is spent at Christmas but I always say that we work hard throughout the year and then we have a big blowout. Then we start again the following new year and that is OK with me.

What’s the most expensive thing about being a parent?


Do you still carry cash?

Very little. I mostly use card.

What’s the most you’d pay for a bottle of wine?

€35 for a bottle of wine as a present for someone.

What’s your favourite Irish coin?

The old Irish half crown.

If you could design your own euro note, what image would you put on it?

The honey bee – because they are awesome and if they are ever extinct, then I am nearly certain we will also be.

What’s the most expensive country you have every visited?

I have not travelled a great lot but I did spend a day on the Champs Elysées and everything was very expensive.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

Many years ago, on a tip-off, I invested €1,000 in Bula Mines.

Are you a spender or a save?

My husband tells me I’m a spender. However, I am a saver also and I do not think I am a spendthrift. I work hard and feel I deserve a little spending now and again.

The last thing you bought online?

Some swimming gloves and socks for my daughter.

Would you buy Irish property now?

No. I have all the property I need now.

If you won the Euromillions, what would you do with the money?

Firstly, I would buy a little shop so I could sell my books and textiles. I would also donate a considerable amount to a charity that would provide worldwide help for children everywhere.

What three things would you not be able to do without if you were tightening your belt?

Maybe it is because I’m getting older but there are very few things  I would miss. Though I would miss a trip to the hairdresser every week for a quick blow dry. I hate doing my own hair.