Dexter‘s creator Jeff Lindsay was one of the special guests at this year’s FILIT International Festival of Literature and Art in Iasi, Romania, and he talked about creating America’s favorite serial killer, the last season of the show and more with host Vlad Tausance. Read more after the jump.
When the people from FILIT contacted you, you already knew about Romania and knowing that, let’s say, helped you take the decision to come here. You worked with Radu Penciulescu and you said he was an influence when building Dexter’s character.
Yes. Aside from Radu, my father was good friend with Mihai Brediceanu and — I believe I was young but I think he came to our house a few times — but Radu was a very important teacher and mentor. One of the things he talked about that stayed with me was what he called “the illegal laugh”. And he said “this is when you make the audience laugh and then immediately make them feel like they’ve done something wrong” by laughing. And if you’ve read my books you can see what I’m driving at with that.
You have stalkers, you have people that are stalking you. What was the worst one? What was the worst thing that happened with a fan?
I had one man simply walk in my front door and I’ve never seen him before. I didn’t knew who he was but he knew who I was. That was not the worst. I had one person who was sending me letters saying “I know where you live” and that was not the worst. The worst was someone who — there was no question that he was psychotic — he got in touch with me first and he said “Remember when you stole the idea for Dexter from me?” And I said “No.Bye” And then he started posting all over the internet — and when I say thousands of times I’m not exaggerating — thousands of times he’s posting “I am going to get Jeff Lindsay and his wife for stealing the idea for Dexter”.
How important is the relationship you have with your agent in your career?
You have to understand the history of selling “Dexter”. I’ve finally finished it right after “Hunting with Hemingway” and we had a decent agent then who sold that book and I’ve sent him Dexter. Apparently he thought that — as we all know, writing talent is genetic — and so he assumed that Hilary was the only writer (…) so the manuscript for the first Dexter book sat on his office floor unread and untouched for a year. That was just the beginning. Over the next couple of years it went through…I don’t know, 10 or 15 agents, it went to most of the publishing houses in the American industry and it was rejected, sometimes twice, and when it finally came to this agent, who someone finally recommended to my wife, he read it and he wrote me a letter that was so flattering! I thought my mother had written it to make me feel better! So yes, I have a certain amount of loyalty to this guy. He picked me up long after I quit and he made it happen for me.
The author also stated that the original title was “The Left Hand of God” before becoming “Darkly Dreaming Dexter”.
How do you handle success? It’s a big question, I know.
I will let you know when I’ll have it. The success I’ve had is not that hard to deal with because, as I’ve mentioned, I have three daughters and, honest to God, if you could think of anyway to keep someone humble better than that…trust me, I don’t have any ego problems.
At the end of the event Lindsay answered a couple of fan questions regarding the show. When asked if he liked the ending of the TV series, especially the last episode, the author stated: “I had nothing to do with the final episode, and yet I get hate mail from all over the world. My wife calls it “The Wolverine Episode” because he goes to Canada to become a lumberjack and yes, I agree, it was probably a really bad ending but I had nothing to do with it.”
Is there anything you would like to change about the show? For example, things that appear in the books but not in the TV series?
There are a lot of things I would’ve done differently. I understand how hard it is to write for TV and I don’t criticize them because it’s an impossible job. For example, one of the seasons opens with someone finding all of his corpses in 14 ft of water. You’d have to be a moron to dump all bodies in 14 ft of water . I’d never would have done that, as an example, but I don’t criticize cause, as I said, TV is a really hard job.
About his experience at FILIT 2017 he said “I think this is probably the best festival I’ve been to, and I’ve been to a lot around the world and it’s the best managed, the most kind and thoughtful and it’s been a wonderful experience for me”.
Dexter’s fans from Romania can watch the full interview here and/or go to bookaholic and adevarul.ro
Also, for more news you can follow Jeff Lindsay on Twitter.
*photos by Andi Spot