Blog Tour: The Time Tider

Written by  Sinéad O’Hart
Cover illustration by Abigail Dela Cruz
Published by Little Tiger

I’m so excited to be kicking off the Blog Tour for the absolutely gripping The Time Tider. Thank you so much to Dannie Price and Little Tiger for inviting me to be part of the Blog Tour, and for providing me with an early copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Today, I’m sharing a wonderful, and truly inspirational, piece from Sinéad entitled ‘A Tale as Old as Time’ alongside my review.

A Tale as Old as Time by Sinéad O’Hart

Whenever an author has a book published, it’s a cause for celebration. Writing is hard, getting an agent can sometimes be hard, getting published (and staying published) is the hardest of the lot – so every book that makes it from idea, to first draft, to draft one zillion, to finally being printed, decked out with a beautiful cover, glued together with craft and skill (and possibly a little magic), and placed on a bookshop shelf is truly something to be proud of. With The Time Tider, my latest book (being published on February 2nd, 2023), I’m delighted for all these reasons – but also because the story in this book is one that has been inside my head for so long that it feels like part of me. This is a story that has tried to be told, over and over, and which took over twenty years to find its way out of my imagination and on to the page.

But before all that…

A long time ago, when the world was fresh and new and things like social media hadn’t even been invented yet, I was a young wannabe writer with lots of ideas. One of them was about a girl and a boy who travel to the north of the world to find out the truth about a mysterious Creature who lives there. (Later, it turned into my first book, The Eye of the North, but for now, while we’re imagining me as a youngster, let’s understand that, at this time, the idea of being published was akin to the idea of me walking on the moon.) I wrote whenever I could, trying to ignore the little voices in my head that told me to get a grip, and that being published wasn’t allowed for people like me. Life started happening – jobs, and paying rent, and all the rest of it – and for a long time, those little voices drowned out every spark of writerly ambition I had. I let them dampen my dreams, though I kept my ideas alive.

Then came the day when The Time Tider arrived in my head.

It had been years since an idea had made me fizz, from toenails to tip-top, with excitement. This was an idea that seemed to have potential, that really seemed original, that had come straight out of the depths of my brain, and I loved it. I kept it safe and guarded it close, but the self-doubt voices were still strong, and life was still busy, and rent still needed to be paid. So, it remained in my heart for another decade, quietly – or, not so quietly, at times – waiting its turn to be written into existence.

The first time I tried to write The Time Tider, it had been in my head for over ten years, and it had ideas about how it wanted to be told. The very first draft was over 150,000 words long! It featured a sixteen year old girl who finds out her father has strange abilities to slip through Time, for reasons of his own. The girl feels her father’s power is one he’s misusing, and she decides to try to stop him – with chaotic results. It’s lavish, it has all manner of complicated settings, and despite its own ambitions, it did not work. I tried, and tried again, and worked so hard on trying to edit down this beast of a book, before finally concluding: this was not the way the story needed to be told.

So, a few years later, I tried again. This time the story had a Victorian setting, with nefarious villains, shadowy corners, shiny gold artefacts, glowing vials filled with strange substances, and a locked chest full of secrets. There was a girl, her baby brother, and their mysterious father, and again the story failed. It was almost there – but not quite. Next came a setting in an ancient civilization, with marble palaces and great riches and a missing sister, and a cruel father with his time-slipping power, and this draft was one I didn’t even manage to finish. For a long time, I gave up on the idea – I couldn’t write it! I wasn’t good enough to write it! It was supposed to land in someone else’s head instead of mine! – but the story kept nagging me to try. I listened. This time, the setting was futuristic: doors that hissed open and closed, people who lived in high-rise towers, a girl with an older brother who makes a serious mistake. This draft, I finished. It was good!

But it still wasn’t right.

I wrote and published other books; life moved on. I began to look at The Time Tider with fondness, like ‘the one that got away’, the idea I was never quite able to handle. And then, one day, I got the flash of a scene in my head. A girl, living in the back of a van with her dad, and someone throws a brick through their window. It gave me the same sense of fizzing excitement I’d first had over two decades before, and I knew – here it was. The setting, the place, the voice, the characters, and finally things began to click into place, and my Tale as Old as Time finally took shape.

Sometimes, ideas take time. You’re not a failure if you give them that time, and if you allow them to come to you when they’re ready. And if there’s an idea that won’t leave you in peace, one your mind keeps coming back to, then take heart. One day, your spark will come – and the story will be all the better for having taken the long way round.


The Time Tider is a ferociously fast-paced, thrilling and intriguing contemporary fantasy that transported me into an enthralling adventure where the phrase ‘just one more chapter’ has never been so apt.    

Twelve-year-old Mara lives with her dad, Gabriel, in their worse-for-wear, old van.  They never settle anywhere, and travel from place to place, meaning that Mara has never attended school or had the opportunity to make friends.  Although she is curious about the work that takes so much of her father’s time, she does not know what his mysterious job entails beyond that he works with watches and keeps colourful liquid in jars.  When Mara sees her father selling some of this liquid to a stranger, she witnesses something that should be impossible. 

Determined to discover the truth behind the secrets her dad is keeping from her, she begins a search and finds The Time Tider’s Handbook, a collection of notes held by the Time Tider:  her father!  He is responsible for slipping through time to harvest lost Time from those who die before they are supposed to, and storing it safely and securely so that dangerous time warps, capable of ripping the fabric of Time and endangering human existence, can be eradicated.

After confronting her father, he promises to tell Mara the truth but, before he can do so, Gabriel is kidnapped by a dangerous group, and so begins a heart-pounding, action-packed adventure as Mara and her new friend Jan race to find the Time Tider before his abilities, and harvested time, are used for nefarious purposes.  Oh my goodness!  This is a story that kept me on the edge of my seat, desperately turning pages (those cliffhanger chapter endings!) as I was completely captivated by the intricate and fascinating plot; caught up in the danger, tension and chase; and left breathless by the unexpected twists and revelations.  Just wow!  

I’m used to stuff not being safe.  I’ve never been safe.  Not ever.

Mara is an incredibly sympathetic young girl and one who I have definitely taken into my heart.  Her mother died when she was two years old and she has spent her young life travelling from place to place with her father who is obsessed with his mysterious job and often doesn’t give her the time and attention she needs.  She is courageous, resilient and determined as she learns more about her father’s abilities, his motives and her family history whilst at the same time finding her own truths.   I adored the close friendship that forms between Jan and Mara as they face their fears, overcome dangerous situations and learn to trust each other.

I found the exploration of the role of a Time Tider absolutely fascinating and incredibly thought-provoking. I loved the extracts from The Time Tider’s Handbook which preceded each chapter, giving a tantalising insight for the chapter.  Themes of power, betrayal, temptation and loss were brilliantly intertwined into the story alongside those of family, trust and friendship.  I really enjoyed the ‘greyness’ of motives, choices and decisions which made this such an intriguing, exceptional read. 

The Time Tider is an exhilarating, irresistible page-turner:  a heart-warming, intricate story of family and friendship woven into the most brilliant time-twisty plot that is guaranteed to bring hours of reading delight! 

Don’t let any more time pass before picking this up.  You can purchase it at:



The Rocketship Bookshop.

Do check out the other stops on the Blog Tour from these wonderful bloggers:

4 thoughts on “Blog Tour: The Time Tider

  1. I agree, The Time Tider is a great story. I absolutely love the premise of the story, for me it’s right up there with the best of ideas. Reading Sinead’s story of the book explains why it’s so good, sometimes stories need that long gestation. Having said that, I would love to read all those earlier versions, especially the ancient civilisation one! Definitely hoping for more tide tiding stories!!

    Liked by 1 person

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