Monday, May 9, 2011

Dr. Darden North makes a return visit

A practicing obstetrician/gynecologist in Mississippi, Darden North has written three nationally-awarded hardcover novels, most notably Points of Origin recognized in Southern Fiction by the Independent Publisher (IPPG) Book Awards. North has served as a panelist at “Murder in the Magic City” (Birmingham, AL), “Author! Author! Celebration of the Written Word” (Shreveport LA), “Murder on the Menu” (Wetumpka, AL), “Thriller Author Panel – 2008 Southern Independent Book Association (SIBA) Show” (Mobile, AL), and “The Writers’ Block - 2009 SIBA Show (Greenville, SC) and has exhibited at the Texas, Kentucky Bluegrass, and South Carolina book festivals as well as at the Artists Tent of Mississippi Picnic in New York City. As a speaker and facilitator, he conducted workshops on writing mysteries and promoting authors’ work at the 2010 Southern Expressions Writers Conference. North actively promotes his own writing through television and radio interviews as well as through personal speaking engagements and the Internet. July 2011 marks 25 years of fulltime medical practice, a background that lends unmistakable authenticity to his mystery and medical thriller novels, stories set in the contemporary South with intense character relationships and unexpected plot lines. Darden North’s author website is . He lives in Jackson, Mississippi, with his wife, two young adult children, and three dogs.

Welcome back, Darden.

Thanks for having me back, Susan.

My pleasure. Let's jump right in because I know how busy you are. What books came along at just the right time to influence your reading/writing?

Anything by Greg Iles and James Patterson

We seem to like the same company.

Have you ever used a pen name?

When my first novel House Call was slated for publication originally in hardcover in 2005, we decided to use my actual name (no pen name) along with my professional designation since I was and remain a practicing physician ... so the author of House Call, Points of Origin, and Fresh Frozen is me ... Darden North, MD. Most physicians who write fiction (one very notable example being Robin Cook) have dropped the MD. I believe that including the professional designation has increased local and regional sales of my work. One sort of humorous moment was at a Christmas marketplace in Baton Rouge when I was sharing a signing booth with two cookbook authors. A potential reader browsed through their delicious recipes designed to be healthy, family-friendly, and from scratch and then moved next to my third novel, Fresh Frozen (hardcover 2008, ebook 2010). The reader picked up the novel and noted the Darden North, MD, on the cover. "So this book is for the frozen food?" Frank Vitolo, the film producer of the screenplay adaptation of Fresh Frozen (scheduled to begin production in summer 2011) tells me it’s time to separate the author and the doctor … so my future author’s name most likely will be Darden North.

Ahh. By the way, congrats on the film! That's awesome news.

Please give us a short synopsis of your fourth novel, work-in-progress, Wiggle Room.

My work-in-progress is a true-thriller. I have listened to my readers: There are more murders and more sex in my upcoming fourth novel. However, true to form, my characters remain vivid and southern. In Wiggle Room, Brad Cummins, a young Air Force trauma surgeon, returns to Mississippi from his deployment in Iraq to realize that he is the target of an assassin. In the guise of a university exchange student on US soil, a rogue Iraqi terrorist is not the only one after Dr. Brad Cummins.

How has your writing progressed since your first book, Darden? Has it changed you? If so, how?

Working with a professional editor as I write my fourth novel has forced me to tighten even the earlier drafts, watching point-of-view closely while churning the action constantly. Hopefully, with the help of my seasoned editor, the completed final draft of Wiggle Room will be closer to final than my earlier works!

When do you accomplish your best writing?

Weekend mornings or early AM during the week if I do not have a surgery case scheduled.

After hours of intense writing, how do you unwind?

My wife Sally and I take a daily two- to four-mile neighborhood walk. For me, that exercise along with cutting back at meals has dropped the twenty pounds I gained in front of my laptop writing my first three novels.

Are your books available in print, ebook, and Kindle?

All three novels (House Call, Points of Origin, and Fresh Frozen) are available in hardcover print and as eBooks: including Kindle, iPad, Kobo, Nook, Sony eReader, and Smashwords. House Call is also in paperback and its signed hardcovers, I’m proud to say, have become collectible.

Where can we purchase these books and get more information about you?

My novels are available through any bricks-and-mortar bookstore via the major book distributors as well as online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble,,, and others. Also my website offers a BUY IT link for each book that lists bookstores carrying signed copies, some with online access.

The eBook versions are available as well on electronic devices. Readers can find my blog, upcoming book signings, book trailers, media interviews, and other announcements on my website

Thanks for talking with me, Susan. I enjoyed the visit!

Come back any time, Darden. Let us know when the film version of Fresh Frozen is released.

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