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Jan Cox Speas (November 5, 1925 - October 31, 1971)

Jan Cox Speas was born November 5, 1925 in Raleigh, North Carolina. She attended the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina (women could not go to UNC-Chapel Hill until junior year) from 1942-46, where she studied creative writing under Hiram Hayden. UNC had a special association with Jan's family: her mother, Francis Howard Cox, who had studied as a high schooler at home in tiny Richlands, NC, was the first in the family to come to the college, taking the train in 1914 to Greensboro to study to be a teacher, and years later Jan’s daughter, Cindy, attended UNC-Chapel Hill in the first year freshmen women were allowed to enrol.

Near the end of the war Jan met and married John Speas on his return from the European theatre. Their first child, Cindy, was born in 1948, right after John graduated from Colorado State University.

After several years of travelling, the Speas family settled back in Greensboro in 1954 to be near Jan’s mother, who suffered from chronic ill health. During that time Jan wrote multiple short stories for the widely read “slick” magazine market, including The Post, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, McCall’s and others.

Cindy Speas recalls, “Mom learned to write from reading—and that's what we did as a family every night.” Jan's favourite authors included Daphne DuMaurier, Mary Stewart, Nevil Shute, Elswyth Thane, Inglis Fletcher, Helen MacInnis, Elisabeth Ogilvie, Elizabeth Goudge, Dorothy Sayer and Josephine Tey. “But the most fun Mom and I had,” Cindy confesses, “was with Georgette Heyer's Regency romances—we collected all of the original hardbacks.”

Following Jan Cox Speas death from a heart attack in 1971, Avon Publications brought out paperback editions of her romances. By 1978 there were more than a million copies of her books in print.

Jan Cos Speas's Books on Amazon: Jan Cox Speas

Source: http://www.susannakearsley.com/jan_cox_speas.html
Tags: romance history
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