Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen's novels include the best-selling Skinny Dip, Sick Puppy, Lucky You, and the newly released Star Island.

From his Q & A with Alexandra Alter for the Wall Street Journal:

A couple of iconic characters from your previous novels show up in "Star Island" —Skink, the former governor of Florida who went nuts and lives naked in the mangroves, and Chemo, a former hit man who is hired as Cherry Pye's bodyguard and has a weed cutter as an artificial hand. Why did you revive these characters?

I hadn't used Chemo for, god, I don't know how many years. He went to prison at the end of the [1989] novel "Skin Tight."…I had gotten a note from [novelist] Elmore Leonard that said, "I'm so glad you didn't kill Chemo off. I really liked him." I sort of had that in the back of my head, and I did the math and I thought, "He ought to be out by now. Even in Florida, he's probably out of the slammer by now, and he probably would be selling mortgages." I was fond of him, as depraved as he was. And Skink is just this old familiar deranged crusader that I keep bringing back because I like him and I get more mail about that character than any other I've created.

A lot of the villains in your novels get punished in creative ways—a sea urchin to the groin for a developer who is destroying mangrove forests, for example. Is writing such scenes cathartic for you?

Very cathartic. When I was in college and I was young, you read these great novels that have these ambiguous, artsy endings—what happened to who, where did the bad guy end up, is the couple staying together? And I think if you have invested a lot in a really rotten character like...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue