So, writing – in general – is a dream. Being published? Definitely a dream. Staying published? Getting so far into dream territory that I fear I’ll never find my way back to terra firma.
And this year, I get to experience something that, to be honest, seemed so unlikely to happen to me that I’d never even tried to dream it. Who was I, to think things like this might happen? And then… without my even planning it, or aiming for it, or thinking about it, this thing happened anyway.
In 2023, probably for the first and only time in my writing career, I will have two novels published. Two full-length stories, brimming with words and images and adventures and peril and laughter and friendship and all the things that make a reader’s eyes grow wide. The first has already hit shelves – THE TIME TIDER, which was released from Little Tiger Books in February and has been receiving some excellent press attention as well as lots of great reviews. Here’s an article I wrote which appeared in the Irish Daily Mail:
And here’s The Time Tider as the Sunday Times (Ireland edition) Children’s Book of the Week:
But one of the most challenging aspects of being an author, sometimes, is keeping things under your hat. I had a very busy 2021, writing-wise – I worked on two books, several picturebook texts, and a couple of series for younger readers. Most of that work was rejected, or hasn’t found a home yet, but the two novels were a different story. One of them was The Time Tider.
And the second? That one was called The Silver Road.
The Silver Road, in its draft form, won me an Arts Council Literature Bursary in 2021, for which I was incredibly grateful; the money saved me from a period of financial uncertainty, and the fact of being awarded meant that I received a boost in confidence. The Arts Council – An Comhairle Ealaoín! – believed in me, and in my work, and thought that it had merit. I can’t express how powerful that was.
When the book went on submission in late 2021, there was a flurry of interest in it. I had never had a book go to ‘auction’ before (which is how it’s described, in publishing, when more than one editor at more than one publisher is interested in bidding on your manuscript) and as soon as it became evident that Ruth Bennett at Piccadilly Press was the editor likely to ‘win’, I was delighted. Ruth and her team understood precisely what I wanted to achieve with this book, and they were so excited to acquire it. That excitement and sense of magic has prevailed, almost two years later (during which time I could say PRECISELY NOTHING about how delighted I was – hence the ‘keeping things under your hat’ thing), to bring us to the point we’re at now. The book has been announced, the amazing cover (by the brilliant Croatian artist Manuel Sumberac) has been revealed, and all that remains is for Ruth and I to polish the text and get it ready for publication on September 28th this year. Mark it in your calendars!
Here’s the blurb, to whet your appetites:
Myth and magic combine in this unforgettable adventure drawing on Irish folklore, from award-winning author Sinéad O’Hart.
The seandraiocht – the Old Magic – isn’t remembered like it once was. Its power is fading…
When Rose is entrusted with a powerful stone by a Frost Giant, she is swept into an adventure full of danger. The stone can be used for great good or great evil, depending on its keeper. It leads Rose to discover the magic that runs through all of Ireland. A magic that is threaded together beneath the land: the Silver Road. But the Silver Road is under threat.
Now Rose must keep the stone from falling into the wrong hands and embark on a quest to find its rightful owner and keep the magic alive . . .
A stunning new fantasy adventure for children, drawing on Celtic folklore. Perfect for fans of Catherine Doyle and Ross Montgomery.
The Silver Road is a book that came right from my heart, and one that’s rooted firmly in the folklore and magic of Ireland. It’s a story that has been a long time brewing, and one I’m deeply proud of. Manuel’s cover is exactly what I hoped for, and I am so excited for the story to be out in the world. So, if you like, you can click HERE and check out the preorder links (some are likely not to be working yet, as we’ve quite a way to go before publication), but I’m sure I’ll be yammering on about this all year, so never fear. You won’t have a chance to forget about it. You’re welcome!
Needless to say, I’m extremely happy about all this. And if ever there was a way to prove how important it is to dream big dreams, no matter who you are, I think this situation is that proof. Dream big dreams – even the ones that seem too big for you.
I really hope you’ll all enjoy The Silver Road! (But, in the meantime, I have lots of other books you can try. Happy reading!)