Celebrating Texas Writers Month with us today is Mike Cox (Austin).
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Mike Cox is the author of 19 nonfiction books including a study of Texas disasters, three books on the Texas Rangers, one collection of historical stories, one true crime story, a biography, a memoir and three local histories, as well as numerous magazine articles, essays and introductions for other books. He has been an elected member of the Texas Institute of Letters since 1993.
Mike’s two volume work, The Texas Rangers: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821-1900, and Time of the Rangers is a comprehensive history of the Rangers published by Tor Forge.
Since 2000, he has written a syndicated weekly newspaper column called “Texas Tales” on interesting, little-known incidents in Texas history. In 1982 he began writing “Texana,” a Texas book review column for the Austin American-Statesman. He has written travel articles for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and for more than two years wrote a weekly column on legislative and statewide news for the Texas Press Association.
His byline regularly appears in a number of national and statewide magazines, including Texas Highways, Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine and Texas Sportsman. In addition, he has written articles and monographs for a wide variety of Texas historical associations, museums and non-profit organizations.
Mike is also an accomplished public speaker, on such topics as the Texas Rangers, freelance writing, leadership and media relations.
Mike Cox is currently the Public Information Officer for Texas Parks & Wildlife. Through 2007, Mike was Communication Manager for the Texas Department of Transportation. Prior to that, he spent more than 15 years with the Texas Department of Public Safety as Chief of Media Relations. In between, he was Director of Member Services for the Texas Press Association. Prior to his public service, he was an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly 20 years.
Q. Are you a native Texan or did you get here as soon as you could?
A. Yep, I’m a real Texan. Born in Amarillo during a snow storm, just in time for lunch. But while born in the Panhandle, I grew up in Austin before being from Austin got to be cool.
Q. How did you end up writing nonfiction?
A. My maternal grandfather and both of my parents were writers, so I just didn’t know any better. I started writing as a teenager and am just finishing my 19th book, a collection of non-fiction pieces called Big Bend Tales.
Q. What book marketing activities made you a bestselling author?
A. I started writing books way back when publishers actually promoted them. Now, it’s been my experience that publishers pretty much just give a book lip-service, publicity wise. Now it’s all about the writer pushing his book, or getting a sure-shootin’ hired gun like Stephanie Barko, who helped my two-volume Texas Ranger book get some good exposure.
Q. Tell us about your latest release. Is it set in Texas?
A. I’m expecting page proofs soon on a book called West Texas Tales, the prequel to the Big Bend book I mentioned earlier.
Q. Where can we pay you a virtual visit?
A. My web site is www.mikecoxonline.com and my blog is www.lonestarbooks.blogspot.com.