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Saturday, November 28, 1998

Testimony: The Name, the Book, and the Spell

by Jack Bellairs (Nov. 28, 1998)
(Originally published at the compleatbellairs.com)

Sometime in the mid-seventies I was rummaging through a discount book bin at the K-Mart in Mishawaka, Indiana. Being a natural tightwad, I seldom pay full price for a book if it can be located any other way! So here I was checking out the books when my eyes fell upon a familiar name -- Bellairs. Bellairs? I had often fantasized about being a popular author but this was the first time I had seen my name in print on a book. A second look told me the author was John Bellairs. Although my name is not John (having the actual birth name of Jack), I still felt a sense of identity with the writer. Picking up the book in my hands, the first thing I did was turn to the flyleaf to find out who this writer was. After reading that information, I glanced again at the cover. An intriguing title, The Face in the Frost, caught my attention, then I read the short blurb about the tale - Prospero, Roger Bacon, two kingdoms, magic and wizardry, talking mirrors and scary cellars! I bought the book for around $1.98!

Monday, August 31, 1998

Testimony: Looking Back, John Bellairs and Me

by Steve Ericson (1998)
(Originally published at the compleatbellairs.com)

Hopping back onto my trolley to yesterday, I visit a boy in the Sixth grade. A boy who was mad at the world, bitter, shy, withdrawn, and with nothing in the world to call his own. When I was in the Sixth Grade at Mountview Middle School, I was a little punk who had never yearned to pick up a book and read. I had little to no imagination, and no passion in my life. One day along came a Reading Teacher who thought it would be a nice change of pace to stop working on Fridays and read to us. The first book she produced, and for good reason, was The House with A Clock In Its Walls by some guy named Bellairs. She explained up front to us that it was a mystery, which turned me off right away. The thought of mystery evoked images of a whodunnit, and those never excited me. She also told us that the author, John Bellairs, was coming to visit our school in a few months. I thought little of it.

Tuesday, February 24, 1998

Testimony: Bellairs vs. Stine: No Contest

by David Bass (Feb. 24, 1998)
(Originally published at the compleatbellairs.com)

It was about 1993 when I first started to read John Bellairs' books. My brother had a job at the local library so he did a lot of shelving of books, and that is how he came across this edition that was named The House With a Clock in Its Walls. He took it home and read it all the way through. He said later, "I thought it was the best book I had ever read!" Then the book came into my hands. I read it and (like my brother) thought it was great. The weird thing was that I was actually enjoying reading his books. Most of the time when I read books they were for school. But this one was truly interesting and fun to read. I went back to the library and got another: The Lamp from the Warlock's Tomb. I loved the way Bellairs used everyday teens and kids that got wound up in these kinds of mysteries. After that I checked out more of them: The Mansion in the Mist and The Eyes of the Killer Robot. I really was enjoying them. My parents were glad to see that I was reading and (because of John) how I was using most of my time studying John's books. I really enjoy reading his books. Of course, I was sad to learn that John had passed away in 1991, but then I learned that Brad Strickland was taking over the books. At that time it was only about 1994 and Brad was only completing Bellairs' books, but I hoped that he would continue the Bellairs tradition and keep on writing them and he did.