By Darden North
How does one make a blog post about writing murder mysteries, suspense novels, or medical thrillers sound interesting? Does one include photos of a cute puppy to draw the blog reader’s attention? But how does a blonde Chihuahua puppy relate to my current novel, Wiggle Room? Maybe it’s when that puppy wiggles across the floor.
Well, gratis of an early Santa, I’ve got the wiggling, cute puppy thing covered. My new grand-puppy Holiday (Holly, for short) recently arrived for our daughter visiting from Florida. This much alive gift was to the surprise of the dogs-in-residence in Jackson, Mississippi, a 10-year-old Chihuahua and 8-year-old Pomeranian-rat terrier (or Pomerrat) that belong to my wife and me.
Of course, my playing with Holly has consumed the spare time garnered from my other profession as a full-time practicing obstetrician/gynecologist, time much needed to complete my fifth novel, the follow-up story to Wiggle Room. The working title is hush-hush since I plan to run a contest about the title on my new author Facebook page: “Darden North, Author.” By the way, it would please my social media consultant and me very much if each reader of this blog would “Like” me there! (Remember, it’s “Darden North, Author” on Facebook.) The contest is planned to celebrate the page’s 1000 “Likes” milestone and will award the first person to guess correctly the type of animal mentioned in the proposed title of my upcoming novel. The prize: an eBook or signed copy of Wiggle Room published by Sartoris Literary Group or maybe a free audio book download on audible.com of my second novel Points of Origin. A hint to solving the puzzle is that in my fifth novel, the work-in-progress thriller, the type of animal mentioned in the title serves as a murder weapon, and it is not a puppy. Incidentally, Points of Origin, originally in hardcover and later in eBook, was an award winner novel in Southern Fiction by the Independent Publishers Book Awards (IPPY). The audio book is narrated by Fred Wolinksky.
My fifth novel (the one with a type of animal in the title) will not be my first thriller. A reviewer of my third novel, Fresh Frozen, was disturbed that a body did not turn up until well into the text, so my manuscripts since have included many an early corpse. That reviewer would be extremely happy with my current novel Wiggle Room and with the fiction I am writing now. (It is taboo for authors to argue with book reviewers or point out their fallacies, but Fresh Frozen is a thriller, not a murder mystery.) However, the body count issue is mute in the screenplay adaptation of Fresh Frozen, a drama in film development by Frank Vitolo and Scott Alvarez with plans to shoot in my native Mississippi, the setting of the novel.
The prospect of having one’s work transformed into film is perhaps any novelist’s dream, and the producers tell me that 2015 may be the magic year for Fresh Frozen. Learning the differences between keeping a movie audience’s attention for 90 minutes to two hours versus a book reader’s for several days or weeks has somewhat changed the way I write regarding economies of scale. Each line of dialogue must drive the story forward. There must be motive for each named character and each must contribute to the action and plot. There are reasons that some books are called the clichéd “page-turner” and some are not. I love it when a reader tells me that one of my novels was “a real page-turner” for him or her—better yet is the remark “I couldn’t put it down!” Those are two great clichés in the literary world, I think.
My first novel was published in 2005 with the arrival of House Call. The path to publication began years before when this self-confident doctor decided that a southern physician could do what the lawyer and ex-CIA and military types were doing—write about what you know and embellish it into fiction, then reach further. Several writing conferences and speaking engagements, as well as many book signings later, I’m still at it.
Giveaway Notice: Darden is offering a signed softcover copy of Wiggle Room and a free download on audible.com of the audio book Points of Origin to one U.S. or Canada reader who leaves a comment on this post before midnight Mountain Time, Friday, January 9th. The winner’s name will be posted here on Saturday.
Thanks so much for being my guest author today, Darden. I’ve just added Wiggle Room to my Goodreads “Want to Read” list.
A native of the Mississippi Delta, Darden North, MD, is a board-certified physician in obstetrics and gynecology and practices full-time at Jackson Healthcare for Women in Jackson, Mississippi. A graduate of Ole Miss and the University of Mississippi Medical Center, he is a certified daVinci robotic gynecologic surgeon and still delivers babies. North serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of the Mississippi State Medical Association and the Editorial Board for the Obstetrics & Gynecology International Journal.
Darden North’s fourth novel, Wiggle Room, is a captivating contemporary thriller published by Sartoris Literary Group and set against the backdrop of the Iraqi war and the Deep South. He has written three previous novels—Fresh Frozen, House Call, and Points of Origin, which received the national IPPY Award, Southern Fiction category. North lives with his wife Sally in Jackson. They have two young adult children, two dogs and two grand dogs. In his spare time, he gardens, takes long walks for exercise, and travels with family.