Across The Garden Gate: A Conversation With Darden North – Author Of Murder Mysteries

On a recent sunny Saturday morning I had the pleasure of visiting with my friend Darden North, author of murder mysteries and thrillers as well as respected Obstetrician/Gynecologist in Jackson, Mississippi.

Darden and I have been friends for quite some time and I have enjoyed seeing his “second career” develop, in print and ebooks and all set in Mississippi, with the publication of four medical thriller/murder mysteries.

His fourth, Wiggle Room, was released in June of this year. Darden’s work has been awarded nationally, most notably with an IPPY in Southern Fiction for his second novel Points of Origin. I was thrilled to be a proofreader for that novel and even more thrilled when he used our beloved Corgi (Charles Dickens) as a canine character!…  

murder mysteries

 

 We met in the pool house  behind the Norths’ beautiful home. The function of this amazing space has changed quite a bit from just being an entertainment area. Darden does most of his writing here, although he admits to moving his laptop to write any and everywhere!

I know I would be inspired to write if  this was the entrance to my studio…

author, murder mysteries

tranquil…

author, murder mysteries

Darden has transformed this comfortable space into quite the functional office – a perfect place for plotting…

author, murder mysteriesWhen asked about his creative process, North explains that character development is the first step for him when writing his mysteries.  He writes isolated scenes, some based on actual events, such as a reverse sexual discrimination case he followed and a case of post-traumatic stress syndrome related to him by a fan.

        “The stories evolve,” he explains. “I start with a very loose outline or synopsis and let the characters cause their own trouble.”

 Darden is amused when his local readers try to match characters in his novels to real individuals. While he doesn’t create fictional characters based on any one person, he admits to having absorbed many interesting personality traits that he meshes into character development–one asset of being a writer living in the South. In his newest novel Wiggle Room, he uses actual names for most of the major characters in return for donations to charities through silent and live auction events. In his fifth novel, now in development, he is doing the same for only one major character, the request being to use the person’s first name only.

        Darden said, ” It is interesting to watch a character grow to fit a name.”

I asked him about the decision to drop the  MD(Medical Doctor) distinction from his name on the last book and the story he relates has me laughing!

Attending a Junior League market event sharing booth space with two other authors led to the decision.  The friends he was working with were both authors of cookbooks and the book he was promoting at the time was Fresh Frozen.  A patron inquiring whether his book was about frozen food led him to focus on marketing his status as a writer of murder mysteries and thus the dropping of the MD

The office walls hold awards and memorabilia from his experiences as an author.  A recent article in the Mississippi Business Journal hangs below his photograph of a flattened squirrel – he says he loves the photo because, “Sometimes you just feel like that!”…

mississippi business journal

His fifth book is in the works and I did ask him for a teaser – the working title as of now is

The Butter Club: Five Manners of Death

I am dying to read it already!

We enjoyed a stroll around his garden where the spider lilies were blooming…

murder mysteries author

and loved the surprise of finding the yellow species, Lycoris aurea…

 

murder mysteries author

He saved architectural fragments from the house that formerly sat on the property and incorporates them into the garden…

architectural fragments

I love that…

murder mysteries author

the formal parterres behind the house brimming with new guinea impatiens…

new guinea impatiens

beautiful…

parterre

the expanse of lawn in the rear – peaceful place…

lawn

I am pleased that Darden is enjoying such success as a murder mysteries author – it is really refreshing to watch him pursue his passion for writing and receive recognition for his talent…

murder mysteries author

Yes indeed – you can read his writing!

dog reading books

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Comments

  1. Thank you, Marsha, for visiting with me and letting me be a part of “Across The Garden Gate!” Working in the yard (as guys phrase it) has always been a happy diversion for me. Finally, I’ve acquired a few gardening skills and have learned how to use Miracle Grow and not drown everything. It is a privilege to share our garden with others who appreciate what nature does for us. Digging a hole in the yard and planting something for the future has helped me break writer’s block on many an occasion. Also pulling or yanking up a weed can relieve a lot of frustration.

    Best wishes for the continued success of your popular blog and with your growing readership! Darden North

    • mnestorc@aol.com says:

      It was truly a pleasure to spend a pleasant Saturday morning with you reminiscing and talking about your future endeavors. I especially enjoyed walking around your yard/garden and hearing about how it has evolved. Looking forward to reading many more murder mystery/thrillers written by you!

  2. Ingrid taylor says:

    DARDEN IS A wonderful and talented man, it’s fun to watch this other side of him, we are lucky to have him in Jackson!!! ANd Sally too!,,

  3. I so loved your blog about Darden, our favorite author! He is so amazing~ an author, gardener, Doctor, surgeon, and a great husband & father.

    • mnestorc@aol.com says:

      I am so lucky to count them both as friends and loved spending some time reminiscing with him!