About John Bellairs

John Anthony Bellairs was born January 17, 1938, in Marshall, Michigan, and attended elementary grades at Saint Mary's Roman Catholic School. He later graduated from Marshall High School in 1955.

In South Bend, Indiana, Bellairs's interest in English literature blossomed and soon the English major was a member of various literature clubs and, during his senior year, writing a series of humor articles for the student-produced weekly, the Scholastic. Bellairs later made history when he and four other students appeared on the G.E. College Quiz Bowl program in March 1959, with Bellairs rattling off line after line of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales - in perfect Middle English. A Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Bellairs graduated Magna cum Laude and moved to Chicago whereupon he shortly earned a Masters in English from The University of Chicago.

In 1963 Bellairs started his teaching career, first in Winona, Minnesota, at the College of Saint Teresa and then as a member of the Humanities faculty at Shimer College in Mount Carroll, Illinois. In 1966 his first book, Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies, was published. Teaching in Illinois for only one year, Bellairs chose to move overseas and live and write in Bristol, England, for six months. He relocated to Massachusetts upon his return and released a second book, The Pedant and the Shuffly. He married Priscilla Braids and began teaching at Emmanuel College in Boston later in the year. A third book, The Face in the Frost, was published in 1969.

After a two-year teaching post at Merrimack College in North Andover, Bellairs hit it big with the publication of his young-adult masterpiece, The House With a Clock in its Walls, a supernatural thriller staring the portly Lewis Barnavelt, Uncle Jonathan Barnavelt, and their neighbor Florence Zimmermann. Two sequels, The Figure in the Shadows and The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring, quickly followed.

House, and a later book, The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn, were adapted for television in the early 1980s. Over the course of the decade, Bellairs wrote nine books, many focusing on Johnny Dixon and Professor Childermass's exploits in and around New England, including The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull and The Chessmen of Doom. Another set of characters - Anthony Monday and Miss Myra Eells - also fought supernatural battles against wizards and warlocks in rural Minnesota, as seen in The Dark Secret of Weatherend and The Lamp from the Warlock's Tomb.

Bellairs died in 1991. He was honored by his hometown the following year with a historical marker outside the famed residence serving as inspiration for The House with a Clock in its Walls. In 2000 he was inducted into the Haverhill Hall of Fame and in 2008 that city unveiled an outdoor mural celebrating the author.

About Brad Strickland

 

William Bradley Strickland is the author or co-author of over 60 novels and over 60 pieces of short fiction and poetry.

Born in New Hollard, Strickland earned his Ph.D. in American literature from the University of Georgia. He has taught English courses at the University of Georgia, Oglethorpe University, Truett-McConnell College, and, since 1987, at Gainesville State College.

His first novel was 1986's To Stand Beneath the Sun, followed by the books in the Jeremy Moon trilogy.

Strickland has shared co-author credit on many of his books: with his wife, Barbara, on stories in the Star Trek and Are You Afraid of the Dark? properties; and with the late author Thomas Fuller, books in the Wishbone series, involving the popular Jack Russell Terrier from the Public Television series of the same name. Strickland and Fuller also collaborated on numerous original works, including the Pirate Hunter series, the Mars: Year One series, and the comedic mystery for adults, The Ghost Finds a Body.

After the death of John Bellairs, Strickland was approached by John’s son, Frank, to complete the two books his father had already started; these unfinished manuscripts became The Ghost in the Mirror and The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder. Strickland also wrote two books based on brief plot outlines left by Bellairs: The Drum, the Doll, and the Zombie and The Doom of the Haunted Opera. Beginning in 1996, Strickland wrote the further adventures of Johnny Dixon and Lewis Barnavelt. Books include The Hand of the Necromancer (1996); The Tower at the End of the World (2001); The House where Nobody Lived (2006); and The Sign of the Sinister Sorcerer (2008).

In 2001, Strickland won received the Georgia Author of the Year Award, Children's/Young Adult Division, for When Mack Came Back, set in WWII-era Georgia. Strickland says the story "is based on the farm owned by [his] grandfather, where [I] often visited when [I] was a child." Kong: King of Skull Island was released in 2005, an illustrated tale by Strickland, author John Michlig, and fantasy artist Joe DeVito serving as both a prequel and sequel to the epic story of the legendary ape.

Strickland is an active member of the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, where he writes and performs in numerous audio drama projects. He was awarded the ARTC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. He is married to the former Barabara Justus and has two grown children.