Michelle Cox is the author of the multiple award-winning Henrietta and Inspector Howard series as well as “Novel Notes of Local Lore,” a weekly blog dedicated to Chicago’s forgotten residents. She suspects she may have once lived in the 1930s and, having yet to discover a handy time machine lying around, has resorted to writing about the era as a way of getting herself back there. Coincidentally, her books have been praised by Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and many others, so she might be on to something. Unbeknownst to most, Michelle hoards board games she doesn’t have time to play and is, not surprisingly, addicted to period dramas and big band music. Also marmalade.
For more on Michelle, visit her website.
A Girl Like You (2016)
A Ring of Truth (2017)
A Promise Given (2018)
A Veil Removed (2019)
Biggest literary influencers:
Charles Dickens, Jane Austin, Anthony Trollope, Lauren Willig, Kate Morton
Last book read:
That Summer by Lauren Willig
The book that changed your life:
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I got the complete set of Louisa May Alcott’s books one Christmas, and it will always stand out as my greatest Christmas gift ever. The books were beautifully bound in green leather, and I cherished them. I read them all, of course, over and over, and delighted in the lesser known ones, such as Under the Lilacs and Eight Cousins, just as much as the Little Women/Little Men/Jo’s Boys trilogy. Eventually, I tried my hand at writing little copycat stories or at illustrating the originals. I did this for years, and it was a real source of entertainment and, dare I say, joy? They encouraged and fostered my own creativity in so many ways. Jo March was my hero!
Your favorite literary character:
That’s a hard one! Of course there’s Jo March, whom I mentioned above, and countless characters from Dickens, such as Little Nell or Pip or Amy Dorrit or Arthur Clennam, but I think I’ll say Ignatius J. Reilly from John Kennedy Toole’s, A Confederacy of Dunces. Ignatius is an obese, hilarious character who sees the world through a medieval lens while navigating modern-day New Orleans. Not only is he laugh-out-loud funny, but he is very similar (no joke!) to a real-life friend of mine. So I’ll have to say him.
Currently working on:
Editing Book 5 of the series, A Child Lost. Also shopping a new stand-alone novel, also set in the 1930s Chicago, entitled, The Love You Take.
Words to live by:
“The best of times is now.”
Advice to new and aspiring authors:
- Write every single day, no matter what. There is no such thing as writer’s block.
- Read, read, read: The best way to become a better writer is to read good writers, especially the classics.
- Write what you would want to read.
“Henrietta and Clive are a sexy, endearing, and downright fun pair of sleuths. Readers will not see the final twist coming.”
Library Journal, starred review
“Fans of spunky, historical heroines will love Henrietta Von Harmon.”
Booklist, starred review
“A fantastic start to what is sure to be a long running series.”
Tasha Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of The Adventuress
“An engaging and effective romp rich with historical details.”
“There’s a lot to love about the bloodhound couple at the center of this cozy mystery.”
“Henrietta and Inspector Howard make a charming odd couple in A Ring of Truth, mixing mystery and romance in a fizzy 1930s cocktail.”
Hallie Ephron, New York Times bestselling author of Night Night, Sleep Tight
“Brimming with dark plot on every page, this unpredictable literary thrill ride will transport you to the heart of 1930s Chicago and the love story of a lifetime.”
“The second book of this mystery series is laced with fiery romance so delicious every reader will struggle to put it down. If you devoured Pride and Prejudice, this love story will get your heart beating just as fast.”
“A 1930s Chicagoan love story with a heavy dose of thrilling mystery…the absolutely unputdownable sequel that centers around Clive’s mysterious fortune and strange wrath of his affluent family.”
“Series fans will cheer the beginning of Clive and Henrietta’s private investigation business in an entry with welcome echoes of Pride and Prejudice.”