|What if you could go back in time and find out what life might have been like in the 18th century? Celebrated young adult author Ann Rinaldi does just that in her books of historical fiction. Growing up in New Jersey, Ann always wanted to write books. Her childhood, though, wasn't a very happy one: her mother died when Ann was young, she wasn't fond of her stepmother, and her father's job kept him very busy. She had few friends, so when the other kids in the neighborhood were playing outside, she spent her time writing poetry and stories and reading. Her favorite author was Louisa May Alcott, and at the age of 14 her favorite book was GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell. After she graduating from high school, Ann stopped writing (though she dreamt of seeing her name in print) and entered secretarial work because her father didn't believe that girls should attend college. After school and marriage, she began writing again, producing three novels for adults--all of which were rejected by publishers. This notwithstanding, her dream of being a writer never faded, and she began to work for a local newspaper. After 10 years as a journalist, she again turned to fiction and published four young adult novels. Her first, TERM PAPER, had been intended for adults, but the publisher geared it toward young adults. Her first historical novel, TIME ENOUGH FOR DRUMS, which appeared in 1986, was initially rejected by 10 different publishers who all thought kids wouldn't want to read about history! Ann credits her love of history to her children, Ron and Marcella, both of whom enjoyed history. All three became involved with a group that reenacted historical events, with Ann cooking, sewing costumes, and learning about 18th-century life. When she first started visiting schools and libraries to meet her own readers, Ann felt embarrassed about her lack of a college degree, until an librarian in an inner-city library suggested that she tell kids about her background, ths helping them learn that, if you work hard and are determined, it's possible to do something you have really set your heart on. Ann's advice for young aspiring writers is to read everything, keep a journal, and get in touch with your feelings; she believes that writing is a way of self-discovery, that you never know what's there until you write, and that, if you don't start, you'll never know!