Sunday 8 December 2019

'I'm a terrible worrier and I have had sleepless nights about money'

Money talks Liz Nugent

Liz Nugent
Liz Nugent
Louise McBride

by Louise McBride

The award-winning author Liz Nugent is busy writing her third novel, Skin Deep, which she hopes to publish early this year.

Nugent signed a six-figure deal with the US publishing house Simon & Schuster last autumn. Under this deal, Nugent's first two novels - Unravelling Oliver and Lying in Wait - will be published in the United States for the first time. The move could pave the way for Hollywood adaptations of her work.

Nugent won the 'Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year' for Unravelling Oliver at the Bord Gáis Energy Book Awards in November 2014. She also won 'The Ryan Tubridy Show Listeners' Choice Award' in 2016 for Lying in Wait, which was published last summer.

Nugent, who has also worked as a story associate on the television soap opera Fair City, is married to sound engineer Richard McCullough.

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

That to make a living, I have to write more - and better and faster than before. It used to be the case you could just get by on one book every two or three years. Now publishers are pushing you to write a book a year - and it has to be better than the last one.

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

I'll use a quote of my mum's - who is 84. The only thing she regrets in her life is the amount of time she spent worrying about money - even though we were always fine. I'm a terrible worrier too and I have had sleepless nights about money. People always muddle through though.

What's your favourite Irish coin or note?

From an aesthetic point of view, it's got to be the old Lady Lavery pound notes. They were phased out in the 1970s. They were beautiful.

What's your favourite song about money?

Pennies from Heaven - though it's more of a love song than about money.

Are you better off than your parents?

I'm better off at certain times of my life - and then not at others. My parents had ups and downs with money. I'm probably on the same up-and-down cycle - but now I'm on an up!

What was your worst job?

I've had some terrible jobs - not because of the money, but because of how I was treated.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

The €5,000 I spent on Eircom shares - which I may as well have flushed down the toilet.

Do you use any money-saving apps?


Android or iPhone?

iPhone - and only because my husband is a techie. I get his hand-me-downs every year or so.

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

I'm not an extravagant buyer. I was in Monaco for a month - after my recent book deal with Simon & Schuster. At the end of the month, I had a weekend off so I paid for my mum, sisters and sisters-in-law to come stay.

Do you know how much is in your current account?

I have a rough idea.

Have you ever made an insurance claim?

Yes - a pipe burst under the floors in our hallway. I also made a claim after a car crash.

Do you ever haggle?

I did once and it was really embarrassing. I hated it. If you tell me a price that's too high, I'll just walk away.

Have you ever switched utility provider?

I switch my gas, electricity and bin company regularly - you definitely save a lot of money each time. I know that you can also save a lot by switching car insurer and health insurer.

What was the last thing you bought online?

A case of wine as a Christmas present for my publisher.

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

Yes. I think it's variable.

Would you buy Irish property now?

My brother is chairman of Lisney so I'd prefer not to answer this question in case anyone thinks I've a special insight into the property market.

Cash or card?

Both, though I use cards more.

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