“Imagination Makes the Reader’s Heart Grow Fonder," by Darden North, author of 'The Five Manners of Death'


Who says that 24 years of formal education (twenty-five if you count kindergarten) squelches the imagination? No one should. But I generally pose that question as a friendly retort to this repeated inquiry: “How does a physician who delivers babies find a second career in writing mysteries and medical thrillers?”

Somewhere around 1995 I decided that I could (and should) write a novel, and ten years later “House Call” was published. After several thousand hardcovers sold, I decided that I would write another … then another … and now here I am commercially published and with my fifth novel, “The Five Manners of Death.” And I plan to keep on writing. Patients want their physicians to possess measured self-confidence and deliver results (particularly if they are ob/gyns like me), and as a novelist I would like to believe that I have delivered good stories.

It’s a sense of self-confidence that has kept me at the keyboard even when exhausted or needing to exercise instead, knowing that I can create character and situational conflict on the page as well as anyone. Of course, I love it when a reader at a book signing volunteers that I rank right up there with some of the much more well-known mystery and thriller writers—even more so when they say I’m even better!

But wait a minute. There’s plenty of humility out there for me—lots—and lots. Each novel gives me the opportunity to re-evaluate what has worked well and what hasn’t, not only in putting words on the page but also in promoting my finished products. There is no room for the timid—or the weary—in this business. It’s OK, I think, to ask another author (yes, even one of those more well-known guys) to blurb your book or ask an event organizer or promoter to rank you on the roster as an invited or featured author, even if you are certain of rejection. Sometimes getting a response at all to your request, even a negative one, is a successful measure of recognition—especially if there was more than a 24-hour turn around and the wording even hints as personally drafted. 

Truthfully, this writer’s life is a full and grateful one. Despite a bump-in-the-road from time-to-time, I have been blessed with good health and remain fortunate in the gift of an intelligent and beautiful family. Likewise, I am privileged to have a busy, rewarding, thirty-plus year career as a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist in Jackson, Mississippi, and all the joy and challenges that work brings.

However, back to that statement or question about imagination.  If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then imagination and creativity with pen on paper (or finger on keyboard) makes the brain grow sharper. At least, I’m going to keep believing that.


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About the Author

A board-certified physician in obstetrics and gynecology, Darden North writes murder mysteries and medical thrillers. His novels have received national awards, most notably an IPPY in Southern Fiction for Points of Origin. A native of the Mississippi Delta, Darden lives with his wife Sally in Jackson, Mississippi, where he practices medicine

Connect with the author on the web:
Instagram and Twitter: @dardennorth

Title:  THE FIVE MANNERS OF DEATH
Genre: Mystery
Author: Darden North
Publisher: WordCrafts Press
Find out more on Amazon

About the Book: The Five Manners of Death is a taut, tense, and gripping tale about a long-buried secret that once unleashed will begin a countdown of the five ways to die.  For Mississippi surgeon Diana Bratton, the novel’s protagonist, pages torn from a 1960s college yearbook reveal that murder is a family affair…

About The Five Manners of Death:  When a construction worker unearths  a decades-old human skull on the campus of the University of Mississippi, he sets in motion an eerie chain of events that leaves one  woman desperate to rewrite history and another woman desperate to find the truth.

After the discovery of her Aunt Phoebe’s 50-year-old note detailing the five manners of death, surgeon Diana Bratton is surrounded by bodies.  Suicide, accident, natural cause, and one death classified undetermined are soon crossed off this grisly list—leaving Diana to believe that only homicide remains. But the police prove her wrong:  Phoebe is linked to murder—not only by those skeletal fragments uncovered on the University campus but also to the recent deaths of two local men. Diana is torn:  should she try to prove her aunt’s innocence or accept police theory that her beautiful, beloved aunt is a woman who harbors dark and deadly secrets?

Stealing precious time from her young daughter, her surgical practice, and her hopes for a renewed romance, Diana launches a pulse-quickening quest to clear Phoebe’s name.  However, as she searches for evidence, Diana finds that her desire to reach the truth may be eclipsed by Aunt Phoebe’s need to rebury the past. When reality finally emerges, Diana faces the cold fact that murder is a family affair.  After all, things aren’t always what they seem. And some things neverdie…

With the precision of a surgeon, Darden North has crafted a confident and chilling tale about lies, secrets, deception and the conflict that erupts when the past and present collide.  Meticulous plotting, richly-drawn, engaging characters and a shocking storyline combine to create an extraordinary thriller resplendent with twists, turns, and the unexpected.  A unique but realistic story teeming with the right mix of medical authenticity, The Five Manners of Death plunges readersdeep into the minds of the novel’s characters as each learns that no one can be trusted—and that everyone has his own agenda. With this sensational, skillful and highly suspenseful tale, Darden North claims a solid spot among today’s finest thriller writers. 
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