International Best Seller Colin Falconer

stories of romance and epic adventure


Here’s a question for you: if you had the choice, would you take your dreams – or would you take eight million dollars?

USCurrency_Federal_ReserveThis is how it began: many years ago, a friend of mine, John, started an advertising company from scratch. A month later he came round and asked me if I’d join him. He needed a copywriter. At the time I hadn’t had a thing published – I was young, untried.

‘I don’t know that I’d feel comfortable taking your money,’ I said.

He looked at me as if I’d gone crazy. ‘I said I needed a copywriter,’ he said. ‘I didn’t say I’d PAY you.’

It was too good an offer to refuse.

Our offices were three upstairs room in a dilapidated building that leaked badly in the winter. We once had a piece of the ceiling fall on a client during a presentation.  After that we only pitched when it wasn’t raining.

But John was unbelievable at getting new business and I wasn’t too bad at writing copy and the company took off.  After a while we even started paying ourselves a wage.

But this was John’s dream, not mine. I wanted to be a novelist; I had set my heart on it. About a year and a half later I told John that I was leaving to pursue my dream on the other side of the country.

He generously offered me a partnership in the fledgling outfit if I stayed. ‘You can have forty per cent,’ he said.

I didn’t even hesitate. I said thank you, but no thank you.

Drug_Money_and_weapons_seized_by_the_Mexican_Police_and_the_DEA_2007Many years later, I was on a flight to New York to see my agent and, sleepless over Seattle, I got talking to the guy next to me. We told each other our life stories and he asked me if I ever found out what happened to my friend’s advertising agency.

‘Yeah he sold it 20 years later.’

‘How much for?’

‘Twenty million dollars,’ I said.

He stared at me aghast. ‘That means you would have got … eight million dollars.’

‘And that was just the media arm.’

It was like my mother had just died. He even patted me on the arm. ‘Jeez, I’m sorry,’ he said.

‘What for?’

‘You could be retired and rich.’

Well, yeah, I could be. But here’s the strange thing; I have no regretted that decision. Not once.

Because I got my dream. I’ve published over forty books. I’ve sold novels in more than twenty different languages. I’ve had runaway bestsellers in Australia, Germany and Mexico and Eastern Europe. Research has led me to diving with sharks off Gansbaai, dodging tear gas in La Paz, chasing witches across Mexico, running with bulls in Pamplona.

I’ve had an absolute blast. Regrets? You have to be kidding me.

But have I got eight million dollars? Not even close.

But my friend on the plane couldn’t get over it. He shook his head right the way to the eastern seaboard. ‘Eight million!’

It made me think: if I’d had a crystal ball when John offered me the 40%, if I knew then what I know now … what would I have done? I knew the decision would have still been the same.

Would not have hesitated for a moment.

Done the same thing.

But not everyone sees it that way. A lot of people, like the guy on the plane, hear the story and think I am crazy.

But if I’d stayed, I tell them, I would have had to live in one city. I would have worked for The Man, even though the Man was my mate. I would have given up on my dream.

Yes, I would be retired rich right now, probably sitting on a sun lounger in Fiji drinking something with an umbrella in it. (No, strike that – it would still be a bourbon.)

Yet right now I am enjoying writing more than I have in my whole life. I just signed a contract to work with one of my all time heroes. In July I’m headed to East Africa for research. I’m still having a blast. I actually don’t want it to stop.

But yes, I agree, I am still working.

What would you have done if you had a crystal ball … if you had a choice between eight million dollars and a dream, what do you think you would do?

Don’t miss a post! You can subscribe to my blog at the top of the page.

Even better, make sure you’re on the mailing list for my newsletter!

Just for joining, I’ll send you a copy of my best selling eBook, ‘OPIUM’ !

Opium, James Clavell, The Godfather

Every month I give away free books and let you know about new releases and new offers.

Tomorrow I’m giving away five copies of LOVE IS DANGEROUS II to 5 of my subscribers.

Are you on the list yet?



CB Valencia croppedCOLIN FALCONER




  1. Oh man, Colin, money is nice – as my mother used to say, “money can’t buy happiness, but it sure helps.” That said, I think I’d go your route – I’m sure it’s been much more fun.

  2. Hey Colin, nice to see you back. If you had the money, my money says you would have done the same things. Money doesn’t buy happiness, only pays the way to follow your heart and passions.
    Just bought The Black Witch of Mexico, looking forward to reading it. The title caught my attention with this one.

  3. I should say dream, but 8 million….

  4. I think I replied on a day when I had 3 GBs left on my computer!
    Such a crazy story. I would always choose passion over money. No regrets. I know a lot of unhappy wealthy people. I’m glad you followed your dream!

  5. Colin, what a fab story! What’s more amazing to me is that you’ve written 40 books! I hope I grow up to be a writer like you, LOL. You might get that 8 million yet.

    As far as the choice you made: no amount of money can buy back the years you would have lost following the other path. You blink, and they are gone: the experiences, the productivity, the relationships. You might have come out of it no longer willing to pursue writing, and we would be all the poorer for it.

    Well done!

    • Thanks Kathy – and you’re right, you blink and years are gone. Relationships, experiences – money just can’t buy them, so I know I made the right choice. And the great part of it is, I love writing now more than I ever have. And if I had the eight million I would have got bored and just made Jim Beam richer!!

  6. I’d take the 8 million and then hire someone to do all the marketing and other things I don’t like to do, so I could just write. No, seriously, you made the right choice, Colin. We have got to pursue our dreams or why be alive?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.