Carl Hiaasen

in conversation with Dave Barry

Recorded Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

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Carl Hiaasen in conversation with Dave Barry

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

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Carl Hiaasen‘s new novel Squeeze Me is a hilarious new novel of social and political intrigue, set against the glittering backdrop of Florida’s gold coast.

Carl was born and raised in Florida, where he still lives with his family. A graduate of the University of Florida, at age 23 he joined The Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter and went on to work for the newspaper’s weekly magazine and prize-winning investigations team. Today his column appears on most Sundays in The Herald’s opinion-and-editorial section, and may be viewed online at www.herald.com.

Carl began writing novels in early 1980s with his good friend and fellow journalist, William D. Montalbano. Together they wrote three mystery thrillers – Powder Burn, Trap Line and Death in China – which borrowed heavily from their reporting experiences. Tourist Season, published in 1986, was Carl’s first solo novel. Since then, he has published Double Whammy, Skin Tight, Native Tongue and nine national bestsellers – Strip Tease, Stormy Weather, Lucky You, Sick Puppy, Basket Case, Skinny Dip, Nature Girl, Star Island and Bad Monkey. All the novels are set in Florida.

Carl is also the author of several popular novels for young readers: Hoot, which won a Newbery Honor, Flush, Scat and, most recently, Skink – No Surrender, which introduces one of the wildest characters in his adult books to a teen audience. He has also written two nonfiction books. The first, Team Rodent, is a wry but unsparing rant against the Disney empire and its grip on American culture. In 2008 came The Downhill Lie, which chronicles his ill-advised return to the sport of golf after a “much-needed” 32-year hiatus. He has also published three collections of his newspaper columns, Kick Ass, Paradise Screwed and Dance of the Reptiles.

For his journalism and commentary, Hiaasen has received numerous honors, including the Damon Runyon Award from the Denver Press Club and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. His nonfiction work has appeared in many magazines, including Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Time, Esquire and Gourmet.

Dave Barry was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his syndicated newspaper column, which appeared in more than 500 newspapers. He has also written more than 30 books, including the novels Big Trouble, LunaticsTricky Business and, most recently, Insane City. Dave’s most recent books are Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His HomelandLessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog and A Field Guide To The Jewish People, which he co-wrote with his friends Adam Mansbach and Alan Zweibel.

“The Florida in my novels is not as seedy as the real Florida. It’s hard to stay ahead of the curve. Every time I write a scene that I think is the sickest thing I have ever dreamed up, it is surpassed by something that happens in real life.”

—Carl Hiaasen.

Get ready to join Carl in conversation, Tuesday, September 8th.

In the meantime, we invite you to take a moment now to help shape this upcoming conversation.

Check out the list of questions submitted by other registered attendees, and then vote to support any that match your interests.

Feel free to add your own question. Then spread the word to make sure others have the chance to help move your question to the top of the shared list.

  • 10

    votes

    Who are some of your favorite authors, whether fiction or non-fiction, and have they influenced your writing?

  • 9

    votes

    While quarantined I read my students “Hoot” virtually and they loved it! What tips do you have for educators and parents trying to encourage literacy and a love of reading in their children? (Especially those rascally middle-school boys!)

  • 7

    votes

    What writers excite you today?

  • 7

    votes

    Having grown up in Florida, how do you react to the many negative Florida stereotypes?

  • 7

    votes

    Your stories seem to roll from one hilarious moment to the next: What’s hardest about writing your stories?

  • 5

    votes

    I have read a number of your books and listened to a number of your audiobooks. I’ve enjoyed both. Do you think that the “reader” is missing out on the experience the you intended by listening versus reading?

  • 4

    votes

    You’ve written across many genres for many different types of readers – what brings you most joy to write?

  • 3

    votes

    As someone who grew up in Miami in the 80’s and has watched the seemingly inevitable destruction of everything Skip Wiley held dear Skink has always been more than just a character to me. Unfortunately hes been my pseudo role model (WWSD). I was very happy to see Skink back in the game and I think micro dosing was the obvious next step for our favorite toad licker (a guy from my high school ended up in the hospital for this – he wasn’t related). My question is have you ever considered writing the story of Skink from his childhood up until the governors mansion. Not only would it be for me an amazing character study but it would also give non Floridians a chance to know what was lost… from catching gators and snakes at loop road to the potential grand slams at Matheson Hammock when Miami was more than just a great place to visit it was a great place to raise reptile loving Haydukes. Thanks again for all of your contributions and to continuing to fight for what is right in Florida and beyond.

  • 2

    votes

    Please, please tell me that there is such a group as the POTUSSIES. I so want this to be based on something that actually exists.

  • 2

    votes

    What color is your favorite Travis McGee?

  • 1

    votes

    How do you know when a book will become a series vs when it is only a standalone?

  • 1

    votes

    Nature is a common theme in your books. Have you always been drawn to nature and environmental activism?

  • 1

    votes

    The NY Times compared you to PG Wodehouse because you use lots of similars elements in each of your books. You’ve written so many books that by now do you have a formula that you use to structure your plots?

  • 1

    votes

    What inspired you to write “Squeeze me” ? How much research did you do about Florida vs how much is based off your childhood?

  • 1

    votes

    “Hoot” was one of my favorite books growing up! What was your inspiration for creating that book? What was the process like of it becoming a movie?

  • 1

    votes

    How important is it for you to express humor in your writing?

  • 1

    votes

    Carl, when did you first hear the term, turd fondler? Or did you make it up? Loved Sick Puppy, btw.

  • 1

    votes

    Is there anything in Florida that makes you squeamish?

  • 1

    votes

    Just finished SQUEEZE ME and really enjoyed it — I laughed out loud many, many times. I know you write satire, but one of the characters and some of the events in this book are dispiritingly close to real life. You know which character I mean. My question: Did you ever think, after writing this novel, Dang, I should’ve made this asshat even more ridiculous? Because this dude seems to have gone completely off the rails.

  • 1

    votes

    Will there ever be a Mrs. Skink?!

  • 1

    votes

    Hi Carl, How’s your golf game ? I loved “The Downhill Lie ” [2008] so much I sent you some magnetic insoles to help improve your game. Are you still at it ? David Demarest/San Anselmo

  • 1

    votes

    Do you outline your novel before you write it? And as a full-time journalist, how do you find the time to write?

  • 1

    votes

    How is it that none of your books have been made into a TV series? When I saw the (Joe R Lansdale) Hap & Leonard series pop up, I had high hopes there were people in TV with a good sense of humor. Apparently, they’ve been purged.

  • 0

    votes

    How do satirists compete with actual news & facts?

  • 0

    votes

    I have a couple of questions not to the authors who are just two of my favorites but to this extended sessions that so far has failed 100% of the time I have never been able to log on and hear an author or the recording afterwards it would be so nice to be able to actually tune in and hear these wonderful talks how do I do that today how will it work today? Whenever I click on the link it looks like I’m going to play a recording not a live session and in any case whether I tune in half an hour before hand 5 minutes before hand on time or during the lecture it’s always the same result – nothing.
    My second thing is I that I’m disappointed that the outfit function also fails to work whether I’m logged out or logged in wanted to vote up one of the questions

  • 0

    votes

    Do you have a real Florida story that is so ludicrous that you haven’t turned it into a novel because it is just too unbelievable?

  • 0

    votes

    As a Florida native – are there parts of the state or communities that give you HOPE to keep the beauty of the state alive? What are some of the GOOD things happening for FL and her environment (if any!) Hope so!

  • 0

    votes

    How much of the character of Skip Wiley was based on your own darker side?

  • 0

    votes

    Local question here: “east San Francisco”?

  • 0

    votes

    These days do you find it more difficult to satirize real life?

  • 0

    votes

    I am curious if you both talk regularly with Craig Pittman from Tampa Bay Times?

  • 0

    votes

    Please talk about how the pandemic has influenced you. Thx