The published interview of March 15, 2009, is reproduced below:
Darden North, M.D., author of three medical thrillers, is the featured author this week on Author Exchange Blog . His article, Thick Skin and Rock-hard Confidence: Survival Tips from a Teflon Novelist, will appear on the Blog on Tuesday.
Author Exchange Blog
Reviews with published authors, along with their articles, advice, and writing tips...
Sunday, March 15, 2009
AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH DARDEN NORTH
Darden North, M.D. is a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist in Jackson, Mississippi--a background that lends unmistakable authenticity to his medical thrillers. All three of his books--FRESH FROZEN, POINTS OF ORIGIN, and HOUSE CALL--have earned numerous awards and impressive sales.
Who is the one person who most encouraged or influenced you to be a writer—and why?
My family, particularly my wife and mother, encouraged me to write a novel although I’m not sure why they thought I could do it. Now, four years and three mystery/suspense novels later, my wife wants me to slow down! She’s pushing toward wanting us to travel more, and not to book signings. But on the promotional side of that concept, a trip to Italy or Costa Rica could blend nicely into writer’s research!
Many of us have heard that we’re supposed to write what we know. Tell us how that works for you.
Since I am a fulltime practicing ob/gyn physician, I naturally went the route of medical thrillers. However, my novels dig deeper into character development and social interaction than do many other such works. Of course, my books are set in the South and that sets them somewhat apart. Beginning with my third novel, however, I had to reach beyond my immediate acumen, since I do not deal with frozen human embryos on a regular basis in my medical practice.
Who is your favorite author and why do you like his/her work?
I admire the work of fellow Mississippian Greg Iles, who has had a long, successful literary career, including one novel made into a movie. Greg has the freedom to come up with some really twisted, demonic plots while still portraying the South in contemporary fashion. Nevertheless, he occasionally lets our region’s bad ghosts surface from time to time and that is a disappointment. As an author, it is a fantastic compliment for me when a reader compares me favorably to Greg Iles. Also, some compare my work to James Patterson, John Grisham, and Mary Higgins Clark.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?
My biggest challenge to becoming a novelist and remaining one is finding the time to write while still practicing obstetrics and gynecology full-time. This double career of writing murder mysteries and delivering babies has been a fascinating mix for many, although I assure you that I have had no trouble keeping the two straight.
What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.
My third and current novel is FRESH FROZEN, released in hardcover by Ponder House Press in October 2008, 300 pages.In FRESH FROZEN, someone wants to steal a movie star’s embryos. Controversial infertility practices, an abundance of frozen human embryos, and a case of questionable mental stability are not only fodder for the Internet, newspapers, and television news, but also the contemporary themes entangled in a brutal, unexplained murder. A nearly-bankrupt young policeman and his tormented, infertile wife find themselves outcasts in the renewed baby boom sweeping the United States. However, there is one last hope for them: a catalogue of human embryo and egg donors peddled by a woman whose standards are easily dismissed for the right price. This purportedly last chance for Wesley and Carrie Sarbeck to satisfy their place as parents in Middle America unknowingly tosses them in the midst of a grisly murder plot, the world of Hollywood celebrities, and a heist of freshly frozen human embryos. While an Internet voyeur and thief looks on, human reproductive tissue becomes a fatal commodity.
FRESH FROZEN is available anywhere books are sold. My website www.dardennorth.com offers a convenient listing of online sites and bricks-and-mortar stores.
What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?
I have several ideas in mind for my fourth novel, which I hope will be released in late 2010. Even though I do not consider my books a series, my readers seem to enjoy seeing a few of their favorite characters repeat and develop through the different story lines. So I’m trying to decide whether or not to continue with some of the favorites or start with a whole new crop--or maybe somewhere in between. Vampires seem to be a hot item right now in fiction… Maybe a vampire doctor in my fourth book? Of course, another author has approached me about collaborating on a series of medical romance novels, and that prospect does intrigue me as well.
Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?
Don’t be afraid to start the process. Stop talking about writing, and go ahead and do it! Remember: there is always room at the top.
How do your patients feel about your writing?
Most seem supportive of it, and jokingly (I think) express concern that my writing novels successfully will catapult me completely away from practicing medicine. They ask me if I have a new book out when they come in for their annual check-ups or bring me newspaper or magazine clippings about my writing, and I see many of them along with their spouses, friends, and relatives at book signings. However, I take the practice of medicine seriously and humbly appreciate the faith entrusted in me in that regard by my patients and their families. As a doctor, my two careers (the real life of practicing medicine and the fictional world of writing novels) are separate. Indeed, I am blessed with a rewarding, successful medical practice in obstetrics and gynecology, now in the midst of its twenty-third year. Nevertheless, I believe that most professionals need and should seek divergent, constructive creative outlets as they grow and mature in their primary occupation. It is healthy to develop other talents and express one’s imagination and personality.
Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.
July 13, 2009 – 7:00 p.m. – Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Annual Banquet; FRESH FROZEN nominated for Fiction Award; Lauren Rogers Museum of Art; Laurel, MS
May 2, 2009 - 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.- Jackson, MS - St. Dominic Memorial Hospital Auxiliary biannual fundraising event Southern Entertainment Book Signing - St. Dominic Hospital Medical Mall - 770 Lakeland Drive; Jackson, MS 39216
April 14, 2009 – 6:00- 7:30 p.m. – Magee (MS) Public Library – Book Signing and Reading; Magee, MS
March 26, 2009 -- 12:00 noon - 2:00 p.m. -- Monroe(LA) Books-A-Million Book Signing --1201 Lamy Lane; Monroe, LA 71201 -- 318-323-3322
March 26-29, 2009 -- Monroe (LA) - Junior League Spring Market Book Signing- Monroe Civic Center Arena - Lea Joyner Expressway - Monroe, Louisiana.
Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.
As an author, I take great pride in the fact that my first novel, HOUSE CALL (hardcover 2005, paperback 2007) was awarded Finalist in Mystery/Suspense by the 2008Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and my second novel, POINTS OF ORIGIN, (hardcover 2006) was recognized in Southern Fiction by the 2007 Independent Publishers Book Awards. All three of my novels have been nominated in Fiction by the Southern Independent Book Association (SIBA) and the Mississippi Institute for Arts and Letters (MIAL).
I am a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Mississippi Writers Guild, and the Independent Book Publishers Association and have served as an author panelist in “Murder in the Magic City” (Birmingham, AL), “Author! Author! Celebration of the Written Word” (Shreveport LA), “Murder on the Menu” (Wetumpka, AL), and “Thriller Author Panel – 2008 Southern Independent Book Association Trade Show” (Mobile, AL). In addition, I have also participated in the 2005 Texas Book Festival; the 2007 Kentucky Bluegrass Book Festival; and the 2008 South Carolina Book Festival. I actively promote my writing through the media and enjoy speaking engagements, Internet blogging, and hand-selling my books.
I invite readers of my work to join the Novels by Darden North Community at
What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):
Posted by LINDA M. FAULKNER 03/15/2009 at 12:50:00 PM