This realm, This england

Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

John Bellairs made his first visit to England in the early 1960s and it's hard to discern at this point whether the overseas holiday sparked his anglophilia or if this "affliction" was already full-blown at that point. British authors like Shakespeare and Dickens dotted his bookshelves and Bellairs, much like his fictional alter ego Professor Childermass, had more than a passing interest in British history, literature, and antiquity.

Bellairs literally immersed himself in British culture when he moved to England – specifically the Bristol area – for six months of 1967. During this visit there was time for sightseeing - key landmarks like Bristol's Clifton Suspension Bridge and Cabot Tower, the Roman ruins in nearby Bath, and other side trips to Glastonbury, Wells, and, indeed, London. But Bellairs had set aside time on this trip for writing, too. From this "unique atmosphere" came the story of Prospero – first drafts of what would go on to become The Face in the Frost. Overall Bellairs visited England a half dozen times over a thirty-year period, each undoubtedly influencing his writing. Bits of English history and geography are found nestled into most all of his books, most notably The Chessmen of Doom (1989), the Bristol-based The Secret of the Underground Room (1990), and the Bellairs-Strickland collaboration, The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder (1994).