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An Interview With Simon Loxley


John Bellairs was born January 17 in Marshall, Michigan, the oldest of three children born to Frank and Virginia Bellairs.  A voracious reader in his youth, Bellairs would often fantasize about adventures about the historic houses and businesses throughout his hometown when walking to school, visiting the library, spending time with family, and attending Mass at church

In his teenage years, he made new friends when he joined Boy Scout Troop 122. Bellairs attended Saint Mary’s Catholic grade school before moving to Marshall High School, where he was active in journalism and the Latin and Chess clubs. In 1955, John graduated from high school and set off to Notre Dame for college.

Bellairs would use the historical setting of his hometown across several of his novels later in his life, including The House with a Clock in its Walls (1973), the first adventure in what would go on to become the twelve-book Lewis Barnavelt series. Lewis moves to New Zebedee, Michigan, whose houses, fountains, museums, and parks went on to inspire fan and bookstore owner Ann LaPietra to create a walking tour of John’s inspirations.

Marshall returned the honor in 1992, installing a dual historical marker for both the Cronin House and Bellairs.

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