via news-press: Jeff Lindsay is in the midst of a book tour for his new thriller, “Dexter is Dead,” and all those phone interviews and book signings are taking a toll.
“I have cauliflower ear and carpal tunnel wrist,” Lindsay says with a chuckle.
Still, the Cape Coral novelist admits it’s a good problem to have. Huge crowds have been showing up at tour stops in Houston, Denver, St. Louis, Phoenix and elsewhere — sometimes several hundred Dexter fans at once.
“I always used to think I got pretty good crowds, but nothing like I’ve been getting this time,” Lindsay says. “I could almost start to sniffle about it. It’s very touching.
“A lot of people care about this psychotic monster.”
That psychotic monster, of course, is the character Dexter Morgan, a Miami Police blood-spatter analyst who doubles as a good-guy serial killer at night: He mostly kills other serial killers and assorted villains.
The bloodthirsty Dexter starred in eight bestselling Jeff Lindsay novels and a hit Showtime series that wrapped up in 2013. Now Lindsay appears to have ended his book series, too, with “Dexter Is Dead.” The novel came out July 7.
Is Dexter really dead? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
In the meantime, here’s what Lindsay said about the new novel, what he’s writing now, and all the hate mail he got when the TV series ended.
You’ve been meeting hundreds of Dexter fans on your book tour. What are they saying about the new book and the end of the series?
Well, a lot of people are looking for some wiggle room here. [Impersonates pleading reader’s voice] “How about if you just did something with the kids or with Deb or something?”
And I’m like, “Mmmm, no. Don’t think so. Thank you.”
So they want more Dexter books?
Yeah, they do. That makes me happy. It means I did something right.
A lot of fans weren’t happy with how the TV series ended. When we talked last year, you told me you hadn’t watched the series finale or even the last few seasons. Have you watched it yet?
No, I still haven’t seen it. I was traveling, and I missed an entire season when I was on the road. And I tried to catch up, but I can’t binge-watch. It’s not in me. Maybe it’s my ADD or something.
Read more after the jump!
Do you think you’ll ever get around to watching it?
Probably, sooner or later. Just to see what all the fuss is about.
I read that you got lots of hate mail because of that finale (which, among other things, found Dexter escaping Miami to become a lumberjack).
How extreme did it get?
“Hey, a------, what were you smoking?” A lot of people had suggestions of what they’d like to do to me for ruining it like that. I mean, it’s social media. People can say anything.
Was that upsetting? You had nothing to do with the TV series or how it ended.
No, nothing at all! It wasn’t really upsetting. I’d just say, “Sorry you didn’t like it. I didn’t have anything to do with it.” It felt like I was running for my life — “I didn’t do it! I didn’t!” And I didn’t.
You’ve talked about how the TV show humanized Dexter and made him more likable. But in your books, he stayed an unrepentant monster. You’ve also talked about how you can’t reform a psychopath.
No, it can’t be done. They are what they are, immutably and forever.
With your books, did you have to resist the impulse to make Dexter more likable?
No, no, not at all! If anything, the impulse was to make him more horrible, because nobody seemed to be getting the point that he’s a monster [laughs]!
I finished “Dexter Is Dead” last night, by the way, and I thought your ending was much more satisfying than the TV show’s ending. How do you feel about it? I know you’d considered other endings.
Yeah, I had a lot of other ideas. But I feel good about this one.
I made a promise to myself and my readers: If I felt like I was getting to a point where I was phoning it in, I’d quit. And I didn’t feel like I was there, by any means. But I thought that it could happen. For the first time, I could feel like it might happen sometime. So I thought I should go out on a high note. And I think I did.
You know me well enough to know that I’m very uncomfortable saying nice things about myself. But I think this is the best of the series, this book.
You’ve compared your ending to “The Final Problem,” the famous Sherlock Holmes story where the detective appeared to fall to his death from the top of Reichenbach Falls — but was later resurrected by creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle after a public outcry. Your ending is ambiguous, too. Why did you write it that way?
So many times, people want me to give them a nice cold, clear, precise reason for why I did this or that. And so many times, like this one, it just felt right. It’s kind of like automatic writing, in a sense. That’s what happened. And when I read it later, I thought it was good. So that’s what I went with.
If fans demanded it, would you ever consider bringing Dexter back? You left yourself that opening.
Sure, it could happen! I’ll never say never.
This will likely be your last Dexter book and the last time you’ll write about the character. How do you feel about that?
I feel kind of numb. Hilary (Hemingway, his wife) pointed out that I was actually grieving (after finishing the book last year). That I was exhibiting symptoms… Moodiness and short temper and so forth.
So I guess I miss the evil little bastard. He was my alter ego for a long time, over a decade.
You were sad?
Apparently! It surprised the hell out of me, but I guess so!
More than a year has passed since you finished the novel. How do you feel now? Have you come to terms with it. Are you glad he’s gone?
[Chuckles] Well, I don’t think I’m grieving anymore. But there’s a certain anxiety about what happens next. You know, it was a good meal ticket [laughs], among other things. And now I have to find something else to do.
Is there anything you’re working on that you can talk about? You told me before that you’re planning another series of thrillers and also a play.
I like what the Brits call it. They say it’s a “crime book.” Yeah, I’ve got one of those in the works. And, yeah, I’m working on some plays. And even a screenplay or two: A vanity project for me, because I’ve never done that. And why not once?
Can you give me any details?
I can’t at this time. But I’ll probably know sometime in the next month to six weeks. [Adopts an official advertising voice] “Follow me on Twitter @dexterjeff!”
Back to ending the Dexter series: Were you tired of the character? Were you just ready to get it over with and move on to something else?
No, I really wasn’t. Because what I always wanted to do was a series. But everybody kept telling me, “Boy you must be tired.” “Gee, you’re probably getting tired.” “Are you tired yet?”
And so I went, well, “Intercourse that excrement!” ‘Cause everybody’s so sure, then I guess it’ll happen sooner or later. And, again, I wanted to go out on a high note — BEFORE that happened.
Looking back on the entire series, eight books, how do you feel about the work as a whole?
Actually, I’m kind of proud of it. The first book was the one that won awards and got on everybody’s all-time great lists and so on. But I think each book showed a certain amount of improvement.
I try not to read my reviews. And if I do, I try not to take them seriously. But one I’m proud of was in USA Today. It said that I keep getting better. And that’s my ambition as a writer. I want to get better. That’s what I want. So it was nice to hear somebody say I was doing it.
I’m out of questions, Jeff. Is there anything else we should talk about?
No. Just that I think it’s important — because the ending is ambiguous, as you said — I think it’s important that everyone buy four or five copies. That way, they can read it more than once and try to understand the ending [laughs].