Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 27, 2012

November’s Featured Author – Ann Rinaldi

ANN RINALDI is our November winner for Featured Author.  She is an award-winning author best known for bringing history vividly to life. She started writing as a newspaper columnist in 1969. Ms. Rinaldi attributes her interest in history to her son, who enlisted her to take part in historical reenactments up and down the East Coast. She lives with her husband in central New Jersey and has been writing historical novels for young adults since 1980.  Her book Term Paper started it all and since then she has published 52 novels.

Below are a few interview questions I asked Ann to answer:

Once you started getting book published did you still get rejections?


How many different Publishers have you worked with?

Seven – Scholastic, Harcourt, Holiday House HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hyperion, and Walker.

Did you ever have an editor call you up and ask you to write a novel about a certain event in history.

Yes. Scholastic asked me to write about a girl who went off to fight as a soldier. I wrote “Girl in “Blue.”

What was the biggest award that you won? 

“Best of the “Best” for “Wolf by the Ears” I believe it was for the best YA. novel in 25 years.

How often do you write?

I write every day, usually I start writing in the morning at nine and continue until two in the    afternoon.

Do any of your stories follow a real life person in history?

Yes, one of those books is OR GIVE ME DEATH a novel about Patrick Henry’s Family.

Do people come up to you and say you should write a story about a little know piece of history?

No, not many people, really. I find that most people don’t really care for history.

Do you plot your books, before you start writing?

No. I sketch it out in my mind, as far as the history goes, but as for the actions of the characters, usually they take over and I let them.

Do you ever do character sketches before you start?

No. Because, as I said, except for how they look, they soon take over and lead me around by the nose, as if I write them out of character they soon let me know it.

How much time do you spend on revisions after completing you first draft?

Not much, because if a chapter isn’t right, I know it right away, and I don’t build the rest of    the book on a bad chapter.

Have you ever belonged to a critique group?

No. I don’t like to share my work before it is published.

Do you still do school visits?


How long does it take you to write a book?

Six months.

Do you have an agent?

I have had agents over the years, but I don’t have one at this moment.

How many of your 52 books are still in print?

I’d say about 40 are still in print. Many just in paperback.

Do you still get excited when one of your books comes out?


Do you keep a journal of ideas that come to you?

Yes. Always

What are you working on now?

Can’t discuss that. But I just finished a book about Alice Liddell who was the girl about whom Charles Dodgson (Leweis Carroll) wrote “Alice in Wonderland” and how his writing the book about her changed both their lives forever.

Do you have any words of wisdom that you can share with other writers?

Yes. It is not an easy life-writing. But write if you must, because it is, indeed, a wonderful life, to put your words and ideas and experience and dreams down on paper and share them with others.

Talk Tomorrow,



  1. Oh, Kathy, what a lovely surprise! I recently came across Ann Rinaldi when doing research for your Networking Dinners. I can’t remember if there was an agent or author who either worked with Ann or simply loved her writing, but a few of her novels sat on my table waiting to be read. I had MILLICENT’S GIFT and MINE EYES HAVE SEEN (I was able to read about ten pages of that one). Of course, all I had time for was sifting (sorry to say!), but her writing was beautiful.

    I would love to know how Ann decides from which character’s point of view to tell the story 🙂

    In looking on the library site just now, one of her titles–An Unlikely Friendship: A Novel of Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley–would probably see a rise in sales right now, I would think, if promoted along with the “Lincoln” movie that’s out 🙂

    Thanks again for the great interview, Ann and Kathy 🙂


  2. Great interview — succinct, frank answers from a prolific writer.


  3. I really enjoyed this interview. Can’t wait to read one of Ann’s books. Thanks!


    • Hey, Darlene 🙂 Don’t you also write historical fiction or am I remembering incorrectly?


  4. Great interview. It’s always good to hear from a prolific writer. Thanks guys.


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