Sunday, November 19, 2017
Books

Tampa author Tim Dorsey's books head to television

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Tim Dorsey is pinching himself.

"I can't believe this is my life," the Tampa author says.

What has him "light-headed" is the news that a TV series based on his comic crime novels about Florida-obsessed serial killer Serge Storms is in the works. The popular books — the 18th, Coconut Cowboy, will be published in January — will be the source material for Florida Roadkill, named for the first novel in the series and produced by Sonar Entertainment.

Dorsey says the blackly comic books have been optioned for movies or TV "for 12 of the last 13 years," but never came to the screen. This time, he says, "It's way beyond the conceptual stage. It's concrete."

Dorsey has known about the project for seven months, but hadn't gone public. "I'm a bird-in-the-hand kind of guy."

He was still a copy editor at the Tampa Tribune in 1999 when his first book was published. "I didn't tell anybody about it. I was afraid I'd jinx it. Finally, the book editor at the Trib got the fall catalog (of upcoming books) from the publisher, and my book was in it. That's how far it had gone."

This time, he was caught by surprise when the news went public. A news release from Sonar about the project appeared on deadline.com, an entertainment industry website, last week.

"All these fans were posting the link to Deadline on Facebook," he says. "Readers found out it was out before I did."

Dorsey says he is "learning a lot about the industry. They're talking about getting a show runner. I don't even know what a show runner is. I'm under contract to be a consultant. I guess it means they'll check with me about Florida accuracy. Or maybe it means stay out of the way."

Writers Evan Endicott and Josh Stoddard are expected to deliver a script soon, Dorsey says. Then executive producers Danny Davis, Jennifer Eatz and Neil Canton (a producer on the Back to the Future trilogy) will move forward with casting.

"I know they'll pick the right people," Dorsey says.

He says "because of content" the series is likely to end up either on premium cable, such as HBO or Showtime, or on a streaming service with original material, like Netflix.

The books are definitely adult fare, with lots of weird and explicit violence as well as some salty language and dashes of sex — all mixed in with enough Florida history and trivia to count as a college course.

In the meantime, Dorsey says, true to the road-trip theme of his books, "I'm just along for the ride."

Learn more about Dorsey, his books and Serge Storms at timdorsey.com.

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