by Celia Rees
When it comes to the genres we love, I think most of us can name one particular book that really whet our appetite for them. For me that book was Pirates!
Celia Rees is a British author who's pretty well known for her historical fiction aimed at children and teens; she's probably best known for Witch Child, another book that got me into historical fiction when I was young before I really recognised historical fiction as its own genre. I think I was around 11 or 12 when I first found Pirates! in my local library, and I just couldn't resist a story about two girls running away to become pirates.
I know it probably sounds strange me saying that I didn't really recognise historical fiction as a genre, but I've been into history for as long as I can remember so it never really occurred to me that a book set in the past needed its own genre; I thought everyone would pick up historical fiction as willingly as they'd pick up contemporary because I thought history was cool and, hey, you're still just reading a story about people, right?
It wasn't until I got a little older that the realisation dawned on me that not everyone finds history as interesting as I do - which is fine! I didn't start becoming interested in science fiction until the past year or so - and there certainly is some terrible historical fiction out there, but I'm glad I had writers like Celia Rees and Eva Ibbotson who made sure, from a very young age, that I would never find the genre intimidating!