Last week, I had the opportunity to talk with newspaper columnist and author Carl Hiaasen about writing fiction. He was in Pensacola for the University of West Florida Seligman First Amendment Lecture Series .
He has written more than 20 novels that some have been classified as humorous crime fiction. I read several of his books before I embarked on my Walker Holmes series, so I loved listening to his thoughts on the importance of writing fiction in his life.
“It’s therapeutic, in a way, because you get to write your own endings, and so, everybody, in the novels, gets what they deserve,” shared Hiaasen. “And, the fact that you can do it, you can write something to make people laugh, which is what the publisher pays me for, is a relief in the sense that you can have more fun and certainly more freedom.”
The Miami Herald columnist said that journalism is still very important to him, but the novels have always been an outlet where he could balance the heaviness of what he does as a journalist.
“In journalism, you’re confined, of course, by the actual facts–what’s in your notebook, or what’s in the realm of public knowledge of fact. In fiction, you can take something that one of those facts, or incidents, and you can spin it into something funny or outlandish.”
He added that writing satire has become harder “because the real life defies satire.”
“The characters that you would’ve invented in fiction, at one point, now they exist in real life, and they’re in the headlines everyday,” said Hiaasen.