Welcome to Clockwatching…
It’s such a joy to have you here.
My name is Sinéad (or, if you prefer, S.J. – I will happily answer to either!) O’Hart, and I’m a writer, enthusiastic reader, and general all-round nerd. My particular interest is children’s books. I also love books for young adults (YA), but – being honest – I will read anything, anytime, anywhere. I’m a stickler for grammar, punctuation, spelling and washing behind one’s ears, and I’m a ‘real’ book enthusiast; there’s just something special about print, paper and glue. My greatest pleasure in life (besides writing) is spending time in bookshops (so long as there’s a cup of tea waiting once I’m finished browsing).
I am represented (in a literary sense, at least) by the wonderful Polly Nolan of the Greenhouse Literary Agency. My debut novel for children, The Eye of the North, will be published in 2017 by Knopf Children’s Books in North America, and in early 2018 by Stripes Publishing in the UK, Ireland and most other places. (You can find out a little more about the book here).
I like parentheses. (I’m not sure why).
I love old things – including anything even faintly medieval, churches, graveyards, antiques, early books, artwork, museums, architecture, archaeology and living history re-enactment – and I am quite proud of the fact that I can read Middle English with perfect fluency. My Old English is a little rusty, but I’ll still give it a go. I have a PhD in Old and Middle English Language and Literature, which opened my mind to more stories than you can shake several sticks at.
I have a husband who has, so far, shown remarkable fortitude in putting up with me, and together we have managed to create one child who is the epitome of perfection – most of the time. We live in a book-filled house in the middle of Ireland where it rains more than you’d think possible, but we’re too busy reading to notice.
I hope you’ll rummage through my blog posts and discover just what you didn’t know you were looking for, but if you need help with anything, or you just want to ask a question (the nosier the better), please do feel free to get in touch. You may also like to check out my FAQ page for some writing insights, including what my favourite part of The Eye of the North is…
Some information which may come in useful in the meantime:
Age: As old as my tongue and slightly older than my teeth.
Height: More or less the same as a lopsided hobbit.
Likes: Tea, words, thinking, hair, sleeping, tightropes, writing, drawing, history, being caught out in the rain, calligraphy, lightning, buckets, music (especially with guitars in), sugar, snoring, spelling things correctly, teddies, you.
Dislikes: Aching knees, holes in buckets, having my photograph taken, tight shoes, icy pavements, inexplicable noises and needing to pee in the middle of the night.
Least favourite day: 23 October, 1731.
Favourite authors: Alan Garner, Angela Carter, Susan Cooper, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Diana Wynne Jones, Geoffrey Chaucer, Catherine Fisher, Margaret Atwood, John Connolly, Jeanette Winterson, Catherine Webb, Philip Pullman, Sarah Waters, Garth Nix, Robert Westall, Michael Morpurgo, Sally Nicholls, Michael Ende, William Goldman, Kristin Cashore, Jenny Nimmo, Ursula K. LeGuin, Kate Thompson, Geraldine McCaughrean, Robert Holdstock, Celine Kiernan, Frances Hardinge… The list goes ever on!
Favourite hobby: Splitting the infinitive.
In the media
Here’s a link to the US book deal announcement for my debut novel, THE EYE OF THE NORTH, in Children’s Bookshelf!
You can find out a bit more about me, my publication journey, my tips for aspiring writers and which authors I’d invite to a dinner party over here.
You can read a bit here about my UK book deal for THE EYE OF THE NORTH, and about my UK publisher (the wonderful Stripes); they seem to think I’m pretty cool, all told.
And here’s a link to a fab interview I did with Middle Grade Strikes Back! If you’ve ever wanted to know what the first thing I’d buy if the film rights to my book sold for a large bag of cash, you need look no further.