Archive for June 15th, 2017





Allura’s life is a testament to the strength and resilience of educated Middle-Eastern women in the modern age, who are railing against a life that makes little sense, with all its twists and turns. A tower of courage and energy, her enthusiasm to challenge life’s obstacles and temptations reflects some of the mind-blowing hardships various women face. Bound by passion, linked by need, Allura offers readers a better understanding of life in a cross-cultural environment, where women are wrongly perceived by the outside world as spoilt, reclusive, and vulnerable. Social constraints, family upheavals, and unexpected tragedies force Allura to stand on her two feet at a young age and make life-changing decisions, which is when her whole world begins to unravel. Join Allura on her extraordinary journey of highs and lows, humorous encounters, and fateful experiences, which transform her from a shy and sheltered teenager to a courageous, resolute, fiery, and tempestuous woman.
An author inspired by innocence, simplicity and beauty, Dina El Shammaa’s extensive writing background helps her uncover unexpected daily occurrences that affect the lives of millions of women in the region and beyond.

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DNMD e 165.jpg InstaFew authors write murder mysteries and thrillers and also deliver babies. A native of the Mississippi Delta and a board-certified physician in obstetrics and gynecology, Darden North is the nationally awarded author of five novels in the mystery/thriller genre, including Points of Origin, which was awarded an IPPY. He practices medicine at Jackson Healthcare for Women in Flowood, Mississippi, where he is a certified daVinci robotic surgeon. North also serves as Chairman of the Board of the Mississippi Public Broadcasting Foundation and on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of the Mississippi State Medical Association.

A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Mississippi, he begin his writing and publishing career as Editor-in-Chief of the 1978 Ole Miss yearbook and continued for the 1982 Medic while in medical school. Darden North’s fifth novel is The Five Manners of Death/WordCrafts Press/June 2017. He has presented at the Southern Expressions Conference on the construction of mysteries and thrillers and participated as an author panelist at “Murder in the Magic City,” “Killer Nashville,” “Author! Author! Celebration of the Written Word,” “Murder on the Menu,” and “SIBA Thriller Author Panel.”  Darden North lives with his wife Sally in Jackson, Mississippi. In his spare time, he gardens, enjoys family, walks for exercise, and travels. Sally and Darden have two young adult children who work in the medical field. Visit Darden North the author at www.dardennorth.com.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, The Five Manners of Death. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it? 

A: Murder is a Family Affair …

After a construction worker unearths a human skull on the campus of the University of Mississippi that dates to the 1960s, an older woman’s desperate attempt to erase history counts down the five manners of death.

Surgeon Diana Bratton is surrounded by bodies after the discovery of her aunt Phoebe’s 50-year-old note detailing the five manners of death. Suicide, accident, natural cause, and one death classified undetermined are soon crossed off this list—leaving Diana to believe that only homicide remains.

The5MannersOfDeath_coverfinalWhen Phoebe is linked not only to that death, but to the recent deaths of two local men, Diana is torn between pursuing her Aunt Phoebe’s innocence or accepting police theory that her aunt is involved in multiple murders.

Diana steals precious time from her young daughter, her surgical practice, and her hopes for renewed romance to clear Phoebe’s name. As Diana searches for evidence to trump the police and outrun the conspiracy between her ex-husband and Phoebe’s long-time lover—her quest to expose the truth may be overshadowed by Aunt Phoebe’s need to rebury the past. As the truth emerges, Diana discovers that of the five ways to die, murder is a family secret.

Q: What do you think makes a good thriller? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A:  A good thriller is a plausible, tangle of suspense that springs from a good title, then doesn’t stop until the climax, but leaves readers wanting another chapter. For me, the three most important elements are unique characters, surprising conflict, and unrelenting dread.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: There are five manners of death: accident, suicide, natural causes, undetermined, and homicide. The interesting twist is that all murder is homicide but not all homicide is murder. Surgeon Diana Bratton believes that homicide—that murder—is the only manner of death left to fall at her feet. Then the police prove her wrong.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: As an obstetrician-gynecologist, I work with female physicians on a daily basis, so there was no need to interview female surgeons or sketch characters. Protagonist Diana Bratton is a strong professional faced with self-examination on a daily basis. She is thrown into internal conflict when she must choose between saving her family and exposing the truth about a 50-year-old murder on a university campus that may bring down her family.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: Let’s talk about one of the two major villains: Winston Ivy. Winston is believable because he is a liar of convenience. What’s worse is that he is a handsome, charming liar.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: Lots of dialogue keeps the plot moving forward. It should be crisp (even though my novels include Southern dialect!) and it should be purposeful. I work to develop setting and character description through dialogue and interaction between the protagonist and antagonist(s).

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: Like I said, dialogue can describe setting as can the choreography of the characters’ movements.  Interactions between characters and with their surroundings can heighten tension and conflict.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: The theme of The Five Manners of Death, my fifth novel, is unique to my stories. From the first page, I planned to explore the five ways to die. At first it was about a novelist writing and planning death to satisfy the five manners, but the plot took a different turn.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: A good editor understands and feels the style of the author. The objective of the editor should be not to change that style but to let it shine through. If the editor does not endorse or understand the flavor of the author’s writing, then there’s a problem with that working relationship.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A: The ability to imagine oneself in any situation or place and to interject that into characters, the possession of nerves and a confidence of steel, and a drive to never waste time.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?

A: The problem is that the assignment is never finished. There is always another 200 to 300-plus page essay waiting to be written. What makes this more of a challenge is that publishers and society may grade the essay on the number of copies the novel sells.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A: I enjoyed ThrillerFest in New York, a nice selection of conferences led by established authors mixed with the opportunity to connect with agents and publishers. Another writing conference, this one held in Cape Cod, was instrumental to The Five Manners of Death.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A:  Remember that when the novel is finished, the book is not about you, the author. It’s about the readers you hope to have and what you want them to see and feel in the characters and setting. There are different ways to tell the same story. Read the finished passages aloud to yourself to discover if the story moves, to know if it’s good, if it’s unique. Your characters’ voices won’t lie to you.



Genre: Mystery

Author: Darden North


Publisher: WordCrafts Press

Find out more on Amazon

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 never die…

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 readers deep 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.

Connect with the author on the web:


Instagram and Twitter: @dardennorth








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