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Ole Miss Alumnus Darden North – The Doctor & The Thriller Novelist

Dr. Darden North. Image courtesy of Facebook

Darden North graduated from Ole Miss in 1978, medical school in 1982, and completed his residency in 1986. Since then, North has been a board-certified OBGYN, delivering babies, performing robotic surgery and treating his patients in Jackson for over 30 years. The busy career may be enough to keep some occupied, but North has always had another passion – writing novels.
“People ask me if I’m a doctor who writes novels or a novelist who’s also I doctor. I love doing both things, and I feel like I have two careers going and I try to do the best I can at both,” North said.
North attended high school in Cleveland, Mississippi, where he worked on the yearbook, a skill he carried with him to become editor of the “Ole Miss” yearbook and the UMMC yearbook, “The Medic,” during his years in college and medical school. His love for writing continued to grow, and North has released five novels since 2005, all set in the medical mystery or thriller genre.  While the plot doesn’t always center around medicine, certain characters have a background in the field, much like North.
“People say to write what you know and write what you read, and since I’ve always enjoyed thrillers that’s what I gravitate toward,” North said. “My novels are thrillers in the sense that the reader may know more than the characters, and it allows suspense to build throughout the chapters.”
In his latest novel, “The 5 Manners of Death,” North references Ole Miss in flashbacks to the  1960s. As a lifelong Mississippi resident, North hopes to continue to draw inspiration from his home state with an endless supply of stories to tell and areas to use as backdrops.

“We have such a colorful history. Some of it we’re proud of and some of it we aren’t, but there is so much about Mississippi that begs to be written about,” North said. “Our state is filled with many beautiful and fascinating people from different backgrounds—fodder for great stories and characters which rich accents. Readers are always looking for a different perspective on things, finding caricatures of someone they know or maybe even themselves.”
His patients continue to follow his novels, constantly checking in to see if he is working on anything new. While many make the connection between the doctor and the writer, North said that some new patients to his practice don’t always realize that they are one in the same.
“I also meet people outside of my practice who know there is a writer named Darden North, but see me in a scrub suit or white lab jacket and don’t make the connection,” North said.

North sets soft deadlines for his writing, but it varies due to the hectic nature of being a doctor and the ever-changing schedules that come along with the title. North recently signed copies of his latest novel and addressed the crowd at Off-Square Books in Oxford to discuss how he maintains balance. North wants to continue to inspire those who want to write and become published, but feel that they don’t have the time or understand the process.
“Because I do have a full-time career in addition to writing novels, I feel that I can offer a different viewpoint on how to carve out time to write,” North said. “I think most people have a novel inside of them, and if you think you can write that story, you should sit down and try it.”
For more information on North and to purchase any of his five novels, click here

Steven Gagliano is the managing editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at steven.gagliano@hottytoddy.com

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