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Character Interview: Phoebe from Darden North’s new thriller, ‘The Five Manners of Death’



The5MannersOfDeath_coverfinalWe’re thrilled to have here today Phoebe from Darden North’s new thriller, “The Five Manners of Death.”  Phoebe declines to give her age but admits to graduating from college in the 1960s. She lives in Jackson, Mississippi, after moving there from Dallas a few years ago. It is a pleasure to have Phoebe with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Phoebe.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

“Darden North describes my look to a T—beautiful, nearly flawless skin and long, thick, naturally red hair—even if I am over 50—and that’s as far as I’ll go with the age crap. My, my. I haven’t used that word crap since I was in college at Ole Miss in the 1960s and discovered society. Umm, the 1960s … that’s when all this “five manners of death” crap started.  By the way, there’s one thing I do want to get straight with your readers—that note listing the five manners of death that my nosey neighbor Carvel Eaves found in the street trash near my house? I admit the list is in my handwriting—accident, suicide, natural causes, undetermined, and homicide—but I had nothing to do with Carvel’s death. And another thing … I played a lot of cards with that fool Carvel, and he’s never played with a full deck.”

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

“I think I should have been portrayed as a truly kind soul, rather than as a conniving liar suspected of killing several men. I truly love my niece, Diana—although she’s always been so quick to point out that she’s my niece only through marriage. After all, when her parents were killed in a car accident, I was just about all little Diana had left. And look how well I did. She grew up to be this important, busy surgeon.”

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

“I can hide the truth.”

Worst trait?

“Sometimes I’m not very good at hiding the truth.”

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

“You probably already know the answer. Hell, I will absolutely demand that Julia Roberts play me. She already has the hair, and Hollywood makeup magic can transform her to the ages I portray in the book (around nineteen or twenty in the retro scenes in Oxford, Mississippi, and—OK, I’ll admit it—mid to late sixties, present day in Jackson). In some of Julia’s previous movies I’ve heard her nail a Southern accent, one that can take command when necessary.”

Do you have a love interest in the book?

“What a silly question—no, that’s a really stupid question. Someone tall and beautiful always has a love interest. The problem? Winston Ivy is just another of my secrets.”

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

“The plot springs from the first few pages when that sissy bulldozer driver up at Ole Miss digs up the skeleton during a construction project. Unfortunately, the police date the skull and bones to the 1960s and smart Diana later spots me in yearbook pictures with the deceased, Rusty Reynolds.”

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

“Who would ever want to trade places with Rusty’s sister, Sylvia DeLoach? For one thing, she’s too short, and her cheap blonde mane is all the worse on top of that wretched, wrinkled skin from all the time in those tacky tanning beds. When I first met her when she was in town asking too many questions about Rusty’s death, I wanted to crush her—and I know I could have.”

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

“I hated to see my niece Diana cry. I wanted to jump from the police car and hug her, but I knew she would push me away.”

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

“I can’t answer that question without giving too much away. But I’m not worried. Darden North is a clever enough writer to bring me back no matter what he did with me in the end of “The Five Manners of Death.”

Thank you for this interview, Phoebe.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

“Oh, you’ll definitely want to see me again. So you best read “The Five Manners” and find out if you’ll be lucky enough!”

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Few 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

Find out more about The Five Manners of Death on Amazon

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