Charles Belfoure is a practicing architect from Maryland who’s written architectural histories and now writes novels. His first novel THE PARIS ARCHITECT about an architect who designs hiding places for Jews escaping the Germans in WWII occupied Paris made the New York Times Bestseller List. Architecture is the basis of all the plots in his historical fiction.
1. How and/or when did you get you hooked on history?
I had always been drawn to history starting in
1961 on the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. I was seven.
2. What role does history play or has it played in your personal
History fascinates me,
it’s basically the only thing I read along with biography.
3. How is/How was history a part of your professional life/career?
As an architect, the first stuff I wrote was architectural history and always
included the broad historical context like what was going on in the world when
a building was designed.
4. Why is studying/knowing history important?
What is happening at
this very moment in the United States and the world is a continuation of
history. To understand what’s going on now, you have to have an understanding
of the past.
5. What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn
about and why?
America’s Gilded Age
from the 1870s up to America’s entry into the First World War.
6. Tell us about your book House of Thieves?
To pay off his son’s
gambling debts, a society architect in 1886 New York is forced to join a
criminal gang and plan robberies of the buildings he’s designed. Or his son
will be killed. It’s like the Age of Innocence meets the Gangs of New York.
7. What will the real history buff love about your story?
The history buff will
enjoy the details of Gilded Age high society and New York’s underworld.