Jeff Lindsay - VO


Jeff Lindsay

Hello Jeff Lindsay. Our first question is a small ritual on Plume Libre, could you tell us who is Jeff Lindsay?
He is this guy who would rather not work for a living, so instead he reads, makes up stories, and goes fishing.

How did you come to writing ?
I didn't. It came to me. I published my first poem when I was 6, in a hard-cover anthology of children's poetry. Then, all my life, everything I tried to do, it led back to writing. I was an actor, and the director said, "We need a new play - want to write it?" And I did comedy, and my friends kept asking me to write their material. And so on - everything I did found a way to make me a writer again, until finally I said, okay, I get it; I'm a writer.

Mix humor to scenes of crimes rather "shocking": a mixture which normally does not go together. Yet, in Dexter it mixes wonder, why did you adopt that tone  ?

In the first place, it's what I like. I find it very hard to take "shocking" seriously these days - it's all been done to death. In the second place, I can't help it. I found that if you really do have a "gift" for humor - and it's more like a curse - you can't turn it on and off very easily. It comes out in everything you do.

To channel the impulses of Dexter, Harry (his adoptive father) taught him to kill those who really deserve... Close to kill as many useful kill! Dexter becomes a kind of vigilante, we have all thought about it one day ; how did you get the idea of such a character? How was "Dexter" born ?
I was giving a speech to a luncheon meeting of businessmen, and as I watched them talking with food in their mouths and giving each other fake smile and hand shakes, it occurred to me that serial murder isn't ALWAYS a bad thing ..... I started making notes on the napkins and went home with an outline for the first book.  

How do you put yourself in the skin of Dexter to write ?
As an actor does. It's very difficult to do for too long, and at the end of the day I need to sit and pet a puppy, have a glass of wine, read a fairy tale to my kids. You know, unwind and try to get normal again.

How do you choose names for your characterss ?
They just come to me, I don't know. I find a name and like the sound of it.

Dexter is funny, intelligent and fundamentally honest. The reader feels necessarily sympathy for this character who is nonetheless a serial killer. How do you explain that?
A need for justice without false accusations ?

Because he is funny, intelligent and fundamentally honest. He's good to children, thoughtful as a boyfriend, and ideal co-worker. If he slips away and kills somebody every now and then - well, nobody's perfect.

The role of Harry and his code are very important in the history of Dexter, who acts primarily on compliance with the rules established during his « apprenticeship ». Do you think the nature of a serial killer, if it is detected early enough, can be channeled whatsoever good as the wrong side?

Wow. You promised questions in English. I don't know if I understand, but - I think this is a unique set of circumstances that made Dexter. It is also plausible, and that's a combination that can draw us in.

How do you feel this craze of the public (both readers and viewers) for Dexter ?

It worries me. I don't go out much anymore.

The USA is a big country, why did you choose Miami and Florida as a "crime scene"  ? 
That's where I grew up. It's my city.

What would you say to readers who do not yet know your books ?
What the hell is wrong with you? Are you a cabbage-head? Quickly - at once! - Go and buy several books!

What are your future plans? What will happen to Dexter ? 
Somehow, Dexter will go on as long as people want to read about him. And someday, when I am horribly rich and very tired, I will retire to a small island somewhere and raise papayas ad grey cats.

The third book (wich is published in France this month) shows us a different Dexter, in search of the « Dark Passenger » and mostly concerned with the teaching of Astor and Cody. What role will they have in the next ?
Dexter has promised to teach them The Harry Way, so he has to do that, somehow. In the middle of writing the 3d book, when it was very difficult, I had a fantasy of killing Dexter and letting Cody take over the family business. Perhaps that will happen someday.  

As a child, Dexter has experienced things that made him a methodical killer. Astor and Cody are also children who saw what they should not. Do you think that it is childhood which makes us the adults that we are ?

To a certain extent, yes. That's what the research says. Somebody who is horribly warped was probably traumatized as a child. But this doesn't mean that you must buy your child a new bicycle or they will turn into a Fascist.

The disappearance of the Dark Passenger reveals a little about him. Without wanting to say too much ... How did you get the idea about King Solomon ?
I remembered reading something about it in the Bible, and I went back and looked it up. Heavy stuff; every culture in history has acknowledged that demons are real! Have you noticed that we all use the Bible to prove what we want to believe, until it contradicts us?

Usually we find a little of the author in his main character. What did you have in common with Dexter ? A fascination for the handling of the scalpel, an immoderate taste for Hawaiian shirts...: o)  ?

I collect horrible Hawaiian shirts. And of course, I also feel like an outsider, as does Dexter.


When you write about a hero like Dexter, what is most difficult when you write a series a books
Keeping it similar enough for the people who like it, while at the same time making it different enough so it isn't boring to readers - and to me.

What do you think about the adaptation and success of the TV series Dexter ?
The adaptation is terrific. The success is very troubling - what's wrong with people?

Did tou participate closely in this project  ?
No. I talk to some of the producers, actors, writers, but so far I don't have anything to complain about.

How do you find Michael C. Hall as Dexter ?
Michael is a brilliant actor and doing a fantastic job.

In France we have not yet had a chance to see the season 2, what can you tell us about it  ? 
It is very good - but you need to buy more books to truly appreciate it.

Will you write about Dexter forever
As long as I get paid. This is not mere mercenary sentiment - I work for a living. I have bills to pay and a child in University, which is very expensive in this country. If no one pays me for Dexter, I have to find something else.

You are a musician. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, on what style of music did you write your novels
You are a musician. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, on what style of music did you write your novels

What music do you advise to read your books ?

For the really creepy parts of Dexter, you should listen to Phillip Glass. For when he's driving on the freeway, the Cuban music called son.


What are your favorite books and authors? Music, film
I love historical fiction - Patrick O'Brian is the best. I have incredibly eclectic taste in music and film - I love hard rock, opera, Polo Montanez, the Beatles, Green Day, Elgar... Film I'm just as bad; Kurosawa, Jaques Tati, Back To The Future, Godfather, Casablanca - anything well done. I believe the first few moments of music or film should say, "This is what I am and what I want to do." And then, you can only judge it by how well it does that, not by your opinion of the goal.

Thank you Jeff Lindsay, you have the last word

People who REALLY like Dexter need to understand that writing it is hard work. I don't think I can go on any more without a few bottles of Chateau Lafitte Rothchild. I prefer the 1963. My publisher will forward it.

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