By now, many of you will have seen several fairly vague comments on this blog, and on my Twitter and Facebook feeds, about certain stressful things going on in my home life.
I won't go into too much detail here, but I would like to share the decisions we've had to make. I believe every challenge is an opportunity for growth, and I want to get this clear and in the open so I can focus on the launch of Memory War next week.
We've had some problems. Let's call them "changes in our family situation." I don't mind talking about it in more detail, in private, but not on a public place like a blog. Anyway, as a result of what's happened, we are no longer in a position to realistically employ the services of an au pair.
Looking at other childcare options, we've had to rule out creches entirely, as we simply can't afford to spent between €2,400 and €3,000 a month.
This means we've had three choices, all of which will have a dramatic financial impact, but also come with their own benefits:
1: Jen gives up work and stays home to look after the girls.
2: Jen gets a better-paying job and I give up work to stay home and look after the girls.
3: Jen gets a better-paying job and, depending on what salary she's offered, see if we can afford to hire a childminder.
Jen will be finishing up work the day before the Memory War book launch. We've been blessed by the response of friends and family to step into the breach and look after the girls, but we can only ask so much, and it would genuinely cost us less to go onto a single income than to pay a full-time childminder with Jen at her current salary. This does not rule out the possibility of Jen finding another job, so things are still a little up in the air, but we're eager to get ourselves settled into some semblance of a proper routine.
What does this mean for us, personally? We're actually feeling more in control of our lives than we have for some time. The few people who got to know all the details as they were happening stepped in and were there for us in ways we can never repay. We are eternally grateful for the family we have, whether it's family by blood or family by choice. Whatever happens, we'll manage. We just need to tighten our budget a little and re-think some things, which we've been doing. We can do this.
What does this mean for me, as a writer? Well, truthfully, not a lot will change. Yes, I am looking at the possibility that at some point in the next year it might actually make financial sense for me to become a full-time author, depending on how things go with Jen's job-hunting. We don't really know yet.
One thing which I can't ignore is the need to earn a higher, and more regular, income from writing. To this end I'm investigating some freelancing options (if anyone has any advice or leads they'd like to share, please do), and very importantly, I've made a pretty big decision as regards my future books.
To be clear: I am not giving up on traditional publishing. I very much want to be a hybrid author, releasing books myself as well as through a publisher. However, for now I need to go with the option that can bring the better, and faster, return on investment, and committing the next 4-6 months to writing a book that won't produce royalties for another two years just isn't the sound choice.
So the next book I write will continue the adventure that is to begin later this year in Lady Raven. I will be working on this series to its completion and then see where I am after that. With a little luck, and a lot of hard work, you should see Parts 2 and 3 released in 2015, and Part 4 released the following year, if not sooner.
I'm sorry for the length of this post, and the heavy nature of it all. 2014 has been a year of challenge, and I aim to rise to it all.