Saturday 24 February 2018

'I had to survive on eggs and window shopping when I visited Japan'

Brian Conaghan won the Costa Children's Book award for his book 'The Bombs That Brought Us Together'

The Scotsman has been living in Dublin, where his wife Orla is from, for 10 years.
The Scotsman has been living in Dublin, where his wife Orla is from, for 10 years.
Louise McBride

Louise McBride

Writer Brian Conaghan won the prestigious Costa Children's Book award earlier this year for his third book, The Bombs That Brought Us Together, which tells the story of two friends growing up in a war zone. The Scotsman has been living in Dublin, where his wife Orla is from, for 10 years.

What is the most important lesson about money your career has taught you?

Not to spend any advance with wild abandon. As a writer, you have no idea how well your book will be received, so my approach is always to plan for the worst.

What's the best phrase you have ever heard about money?

The phrase 'Money is the root of all evil' is often misquoted, as the actual quote is 'The love of money is the root of all evil' - which changes the significance of the phrase. It's that love which creates such disparity in our world. It's basically capitalism in a quote.

What's the most expensive country you've ever visited?

Brian Conaghan
Brian Conaghan

Well, Ireland is pretty expensive to be fair. But I visited Japan in the early 90s and had to survive on eggs and window shopping.

What's your favourite coin?

You can't beat the British 50 pence coin for its heptagon shape. I also like the confusion that Scottish notes cause whenever I'm in England. 'I think you'll find it's sterling and legal tender' is my well-worn rebuttal.

Are you better off than your parents?

It pains me to say that I might be. Yet they've worked much harder than I've ever done.

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

Holidays aside, I think it might be the family car or my scooter, which cost a whopping €2,700. As you can see, I'm not extravagant.

What was your worst job?

I have done many, but the worst was painting fences and railings as part of my painting and decorating apprenticeship. I saw my life passing by with every stroke of the brush.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

I never made one that has kept me awake at night. I did buy an expensive juicer that proved to be financial folly.

What was your best financial killing?

I won £5,000 (€5,900) for winning the Costa Children's Book Award, which went directly into the bank.

Do you use any money-saving apps?

I wouldn't even know what they are.

Android or iPhone?

iPhone - I recently ditched my Android. I think I'm a slave to Apple design.

Do you know how much is in your current account?

I do because I received a statement only this very morning.

Have you ever made an insurance claim?

I don't think I have. I'm a careful driver, I lock all windows and turn all taps off.

Have you ever switched utility provider?

Now you're losing me. In my head I'm still a teenager so I'm unsure I want to put 'utility' and 'provider' together in the same sentence.

Spotify or iTunes?

CDs and records.

What was the last thing you bought online?

I bought a book online - shameful for a writer to admit this!

Do you have a mortgage? Is it fixed, variable or tracker?

I have a fixed mortgage.

Would you buy Irish property now?

I'm only one person with one body so I only require one place to live. I've no desire to build up the old property portfolio. "The love of money… " and all that.

Cash or card?

I use both. Liking the contactless card these days - very good device for thieves though.

Do you ever haggle?

I haggle for everything worth haggling for. I do tend to get money off most things. I hate feeling that consumers are being ripped off when buying cars, holidays, appliances and so on.

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