Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dexter is Dead: An Evening With Author Jeff Lindsay

Kerry Hammond is here today to talk about her evening at the Tattered Cover bookstore with author Jeff Lindsay, creator of the Dexter book series.

Here at Mystery Playground we are sensitive to spoilers. We don’t want a book review to give away any plot twist or surprise for the reader. But when I tell you that Dexter is dead, I need include no spoiler alert. Dexter is Dead is the latest and last book in the Dexter series written by New York Times bestselling author Jeff Lindsay, a series that contains eight books and is the basis for an eight season Showtime hit. The book was released in hardcover on July 7 of this year and readers will bid a fond farewell to America’s favorite fictional serial killer.

Jeff Lindsay came to Denver's Tattered Cover Bookstore to discuss his Dexter Morgan series with fans, and this fan was in attendance. It was the first time I had ever been to an event featuring this author, so it was interesting to hear a little bit of personal and professional background. Some readers may be surprised that Lindsay is a family man, with three daughters and a wife, who happens to be Ernest Hemingway’s niece. Lindsay has been an actor, a comedian (which may account for the dark humor in the Dexter books) and, of course, a writer. As a writer, he’s written plays, jokes, and an article about fatherhood, which included his experience at bra shopping with his daughters.

It’s always surprising to hear a successful author talk about how many rejections they received when they were attempting to get their first book published. I think it’s safe to say that the person who refused to represent Jeff in the attempted publication of his first book has been kicking himself ever since. Lindsay admits to his inner doubts with both his success and his writing skills. He told of his fear that his first book wasn't any good. Once that was published he continued to doubt his skill, but added to that his fear of trying to write a second book that measured up to the first. His wife was one of his champions, and it really sounds like his family helps ground him and keep him going so that he continues to write and entertain his readers.

I have attended quite a few author signings, but never before have I heard an author speak and imagined the character. It wasn’t one thing in particular, it was a combination of the author’s wording, tone, and humor. But I heard the character come through when he spoke. It’s not to say that Jeff Lindsay is a sociopath or a serial killer, I'm actually almost positive that he is not. I know that sometimes an author uses a few of their own traits when creating a character, but I think the trait that comes through in Dexter is Lindsay’s “voice.” I think this is one of things that has made Dexter so entertaining and popular. 

I’ll end with two fun facts that you may not know about Jeff. One I learned online and one he admitted to during his Tattered Cover appearance. First, his real name is actually Jeff Freundlich. Second, he wanted to name his first Dexter novel "Pinocchio Bleeds," after his young daughter suggested it. The publisher was not at all keen on the title, and instead we got Darkly Dreaming Dexter. And a star was born.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great author/book signing. I'm sorry I missed it!