“I’m too risk averse to ever commit financial murder, so I’ll stick to fictional killing in books”

Crime writer Andrea Mara worked in the financial services industry for 17 years and in 2013 started a blog called officemum.ie about balancing parenthood and work. After being fired in 2015, she became a full-time freelance writer. In 2018 she published her first novel The Other Side of the Wall. Her latest book Hide and Seek was shortlisted for Crime Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Mara lives in Dublin with her husband Damien and their three children.

You worked in financial services for a long time before turning to writing. Did you have to cut back financially when you changed careers?

Yes. Mainly because I hadn’t started writing fiction at the time, had no contract and no prospect of a steady income. My husband and I kept doing the math and still wasn’t entirely sure we were going to make it, but we decided to give it a try for six months to see how it would go. With the cushion of a settlement we put on our mortgage and zero childcare costs, it wasn’t quite as difficult as we expected.

What was harder for you financially? the recession or the Covid-19 crisis?

The Recession. Both my husband and I worked in the financial services sector and were worried about losing our jobs. We’ve cut back where we could, but our two biggest monthly payments — our mortgage and childcare costs — were unavoidable.

Is your family affected by the inflationary spurt and the energy crisis?

We try to cut back on spending and energy use – extra jumpers, plug heaters when it gets really cold, and my very bad habit of boiling the kettle at least 3 times before actually making ourselves a cup of tea.

What was the most expensive place you have ever visited?

​I was in Copenhagen about 15 years ago and everything I bought – every coffee, every glass of wine – made my stomach clench with anxiety. It’s such a beautiful city and well worth a visit, but I relied heavily on the instant coffee in the hotel room for sustenance.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about money?

I’m not good at seeking – or listening – to financial advice. But luckily my husband is good at switching providers whenever there is a better deal. He browses for insurance, energy, broadband, waste disposal and so on to take advantage of new customer offers.

Aside from real estate, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

​My MacBook Air. I think it was around €1,000. I bought it back when I got laid off from financial services and started what I hoped would be a writing career. Seven years later it’s still going great and if it needs to be replaced I’ll go with a Mac again.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

It’s more of a group of bugs with a theme – a rice cooker, a slow cooker, a waffle maker and a mini chopper. And Eircom shares, of course.

Do you have a pension?

I have a pension that I started at my old job when I was about 28. I don’t pay anymore. Every once in a while I get emails from the pension fund asking if I want to make any changes to the investment portfolio because I’m “mature” (they put it nicer). My head is stuck in the sand, but one day I will reply to the emails.

What was your best financial murder?

I’m too risk averse to gamble financially in any way, so I’m probably ruling myself out on ever making a homicide. I’m sticking with fictional killing in books and hope that pays off in the long run.

https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/im-too-risk-averse-to-ever-make-a-financial-killing-so-ill-stick-to-fictional-killing-in-books-42122843.html “I’m too risk averse to ever commit financial murder, so I’ll stick to fictional killing in books”

Fry Electronics Team

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