Best selling author Hazel Gaynor: 'Life's too short to always be saving for rainy days'
The award-winning author Hazel Gaynor lives in Kildare with her husband and two children. She has written a number of best-sellers, including The Girl Who Came Home - which won the Historical Novel of the Year award in London in 2015, and The Girl From The Savoy.
Her book The Cottingley Secret was published last summer and her new book, Last Christmas in Paris, was published last week.
She was born and raised in north Yorkshire, England, before moving to Ireland in 2001.
What's the most important lesson about money which your career as a writer has taught you?
That hard work and perseverance can bring financial reward. A book a year is now expected by many publishers, and I'm happy to deliver on that, because it's how I earn a salary.
What's the most expensive country you have ever visited?
Italy - specifically Piazza San Marco in Venice. It's entirely my own fault for being that tourist who sits at one of the cafes on the square. I think I paid around €17 for a very small coffee.
What's your favourite saying about money?
"You can't take it with you." My 97-year-old grandma says this all this time, so I think she knows what she's talking about by now. Life is too short to always be saving for rainy days. I lost my mum suddenly to cancer when I was 23 and it taught me to get on with life right now, rather than waiting for your perfect life to happen.
What's the most expensive thing about being a parent?
School makes a very hefty dent in the bank balance: books, fees, trips and uniform. It's pretty relentless all year. Eating out also starts to get expensive when you have two growing boys with the appetites of dinosaurs.
Apart from property, what's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?
I'm really not at all extravagant with money, but I bought a beloved second-hand Mini Cooper last year, which lasted a year before dying on the M7.
What was your worst job?
Doing the local paper round when I was 13. I got up at 6am, cycled to the post office in all weathers, balanced the heaviest bag in the world on my bike and delivered the papers before getting ready for school. I think I earned about £2 a week. They grow us tough in Yorkshire.
What was your biggest financial mistake?
The Mini Cooper. I also made a ridiculous decision to buy shares in lastminute.com when everyone was buying shares during the dotcom boom. I haven't a clue what happened to them.
What was your best financial killing?
Getting my first book deal after years of rejection.
Are you better off than your parents?
I'm better off than they were at this stage in life. We had a lovely home and holidayed around Britain, but money was tight. I have financial independence - something my mum never had.
If you won the Euromillions, what would you do with the money?
I'd probably panic. That said, I'd happily buy a new Mini Cooper convertible, take the children on amazing holidays, and buy a retirement home on the coast somewhere in Ireland.
Have you ever made an insurance claim?
Yes - after losing my engagement ring. I was feeding the ducks with my then two-year-old and as I brushed breadcrumbs off my jeans, my ring flew off my finger into the water. My husband went back the next day with a child's fishing net and desperately tried to find it, but it was lost to the weeds and mud.
iTunes or Spotify?
Spotify. I love being able to instantly access new songs and old classics to introduce the kids to. I hardly play CDs now. I got a turntable for my birthday last year. It's fun playing vinyl again.
Would you buy property now?
Yes. We hope to move house at some stage to our forever home. We'd love more space outside.
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