It was a case of standing room only and all copies sold at Jeff Lindsay’s reading and book signing event at Books & Books last Thursday.
The acclaimed Floridian writer and playwright, whose pithy novels about Dexter the likeable serial killer regularly place him on the New York Times No. 1 best selling author list, opened the evening with a tantalising excerpt from the first chapter of his latest book in the series: Dexter is Delicious. The piece illustrated a startling new development in Dexter’s life. one that perhaps offers him an avenue to redemption and a chance to start afresh – maybe.
Laconic and self-deprecating, Lindsay gave a humourous account of his life before Dexter (worked in Hollywood) and since: focusing on writing. In fact, his Doubleday contract stipulates that he write only Dexter novels. He then opened up the floor for a rapid-fire question-and-answer session.
More than 90 diehard Dexter fans, clamouring for insider details, quizzed the former stand-up comedian, actor and band member on his approach to the writing process, how closely the TV series matched the books (the first book was optioned by the series producers and ran parallel but there’s been some divergence since), Lindsay’s opinion of Showtime’s smash hit inspired by his books and his bittersweet relationship with the producers of the TV series (he likes the show, has a lot of respect for Richard C. Hall in the title role, appreciates that the series is quality television and that it helps sell his books but isn’t happy when the producers occasionally used storylines from the books that they’ve not optioned).
Asked whether he could foresee a time when he would stop writing Dexter books, the author said that he would continue as long as he enjoyed the process and the fans enjoyed reading the novels.
Dark, twisted and riddled with post-modernist humour, the five novels are pounced upon as soon as they are published. Lindsay said that the idea for the Dexter books came to him when he was having a bad day and thought that “killing some people wouldn’t be such a bad thing.”
The kernel of the idea formed, several months were spent undertaking extensive research into serial killers and interacting with the police and a relative, who is a clinical psychologist, to help flesh out Dexter’s character and motivation.
In response to a question from audience member Darren Bowyer about Lindsay’s unorthodox writing schedule, the author explained why he writes every day at around 3-6am, half-awake, as it helps him in some way tap into his creative juices, leaving him to “flesh out” pieces, which had only been roughed out, later on in the day.
The author closed out the event by signing over 200 books. Several waiting in line, including Alison Corbet, whose husband is a big fan of the show, bought all five Dexter books either for themselves or as Christmas presents for family and friends.