historical fiction books | historical romance books

Words with a Wordsmith: Michelle Cox

By Edie Cay
May 28, 2021

Michelle Cox is the award-winning author of the Henrietta and Inspector Howard series, which is described as Downton Abbey meets Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

Are there TV shows or films that have influenced your writing?

Too many to name!  I’m addicted to all of the old classics, especially anything with Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart.  The Thin Man movies also played a role, I think, in influencing the chemistry between Clive and Henrietta; many readers have commented that they remind them of Nick and Nora, which is a great compliment.  Other shows, such as Moonlighting, Hart to Hart, and Miss Fisher have also contributed to the romantic tension of the series

But there’s also shows like Downton Abbey; Upstairs, Downstairs; and The Palliser’s, which have influenced the saga-like nature of the series and the contrast between the haves and the have nots. 

Finally, there’s Pride and Prejudice (Knightley/McFadyen version) and American Dreamer (my guilty pleasure), both of which were surely in my mind as I was creating the characters and the world of Henrietta and Clive.

Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, what’s on your writing playlist?

 No, I don’t listen to anything while I’m writing.  I’m one of those writers who needs absolute silence to get into the world I’m writing about.  I do have a playlist, however, that I listen to especially when I’m out doing errands called “Clive and Henrietta’s Songbook,” which consists of all the hits from the 30s and 40s, many of which feature in the novels!

Do you collect anything? If so, what, why, and for how long?

I collect board games!  All types – card games, trivia games, party games, strategy games.  We loved playing games as kids, so when I started my own family, it just seemed natural that I would begin to buy them games, as well.  I started playing “Goodnight Moon” with my oldest when he was two, and it just sort of progressed from there.  I haven’t actually counted lately, but I’m sure I have well over 200 games at this point.  I try to play a few a week, though now that the kids are teens and twenty somethings, it’s a little bit hard to pin them down.  Also, it’s tough competing with video games.  But I try!  I can be very persuasive. 

What’s the best compliment a reader has ever given you?

 Many readers have reached out recently to tell me that my series helped them get through the pandemic.  Honestly, that is the highest compliment I’ve ever been given.  I know how much certain shows helped my own family get through some pretty dark days and to know that I might have helped someone else in a similar way is nothing short of amazing to me.  It’s very gratifying. 

Where is your next vacation planned? Where do you WISH your next vacation would be instead?

 Our next family vacation is scheduled for July.  We’re flying to DC for a few days and then driving to Ocean City, Maryland for about a week.  I sort of let my fifteen-year-old choose it (call it a weird form of Covid therapy).  So, while I’m sure we’ll have fun, let’s just say it wouldn’t have been my first pick.  My ultimate vacation would be to rent a cottage for a month in the English countryside, somewhere like Derbyshire, and write all day, take long walks, and end up in the local pub for dinner and a pint.  Maybe someday.  For now, go-karts and mini-golf in Ocean City will have to suffice. 

Michelle Cox is the author of the Henrietta and Inspector Howard series as well as “Novel Notes of Local Lore,” a weekly blog dedicated to Chicago’s forgotten residents. Her books have won over 50 international awards and have been praised by KirkusLibrary JournalPublishers WeeklyBooklist, Elle, Redbook, Brit&Co., Popsuger, Buzzfeed, and many others. 

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.  She lives in Chicago with her husband, three children, naughty Goldendoodle and is hard at work on her latest novel.


To purchase the series on Amazon:

Edie Cay
Written by Edie Cay

Edie Cay writes award-winning feminist Regency Romance about women’s boxing and relatable misfits. She is a member of the Regency Fiction Writers, the Historical Novel Society, ALLi, and a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers. You can drop her a line on Facebook and Instagram @authorediecay or find her on her website,

View Edie’s PLW Profile

Share This Post


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *