From The Telegraph:
How did your childhood influence your work ethic and attitude to money?
Greatly. I grew up in a family that was working class, which taught me to be careful with money.
My father worked in a grocery store. When the grocery chain went into administration he eventually got a job in the naval dockyard in an office preparing the charts for the boats and the submarines before they headed out.
My mother worked in a school canteen – then worked in the canteen of a chicken factory. Every Friday the pay packet money would be allocated to cover bills.
I have a strong work ethic yet I’m incredibly lazy as well. The problem with being a writer is that everything you do can be called research. Sitting in the pub is research. Reading the newspaper can be research.
I will put off the evil hour when I start writing for as long as I possibly can.
. . . .
Has there been a time in your life when you didn’t know how you were going to pay the bills?
Between 1990 and 1996 we lived in rural France. My wife had suggested we make the move from London as the cost of living in the capital was prohibitive and my earnings back then from writing were low. But she encouraged me to give it a go, so I went full-time. Jack was born in 1992, Miranda didn’t have a job, and I just knew that what I was earning wasn’t enough to support the family. I began to have panic attacks and grew very restless and very fretful about the whole business. Things were tight, but we cut our cloth accordingly.
When did you realise that you were doing very well out of writing?
It was quite late on. Around 1999, when we were living in Edinburgh and had just managed to buy our first flat, a royalty statement for the backlist (all the Rebus novels I had done before, which hadn’t been making very much money up to that point) arrived at home giving a sum of six figures. Neither my wife nor myself could quite believe it but the agent confirmed the figure, so suddenly the penny dropped – the Rebus novels had just become popular.
It took a good 12-14 years, and many books, before the money became a happy factor of my writing career. If you think, my first novel was published back in 1986 and for that I had been given an advance of the grand sum of £200. I was pretty much 40 or in my early forties before I earned my first million.
Link to the rest at The Telegraph and thanks to Meryl for the tip.