He dreamed of being a journalist from a very young age, and has been writing ever since his father gave him the typewriter he requested at the age of six. Back then, he wrote about neighborhood kickball and softball games. In high school, he banged out a newsletter for his friends, called it "More Trash," and filled it with rants and opinion pieces sparked from, for example, being on the receiving end of the dreaded parental "No."
While writing "More Trash," Hiaasen learned to use humor and satire to get his point across, finding that those were tools that drew in a bigger audience. He has been using those tools in his writing ever since. In a Los Angeles Times interview with reporter Margaret Wappler, he said:
"You've got to be funny sometimes. All my humor comes from anger. Satire is terrific therapy. Making people laugh is a joy, but making them think about something serious is the ultimate reward."
Hiaasen entered Emory College in 1970, then transferred to the University of Florida two years later, graduating in 1974 with a degree in journalism. He then spent two years working for Cocoa Today, out of Cocoa, Florida, before accepting a position with the Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter at age 23. From there, Hiaasen moved on to that paper's weekly magazine, and then to its investigations team in 1979. He switched again in 1985 - still with the Herald - to write a regular column on Sundays in the opinion and editorial section, and continues to do so.
It wasn't until the early 1980's that Hiaasen began writing novels for adults, together with the late William D. Montalbano. His first solo effort, Tourist Season, came out in 1986, and he went on to publish nine others. His first young adult novel was Hoot (2002) - a Newbery Honor winner, followed by Flush (2005), and the recently released Scat (2009). His novels are typically classified as "environmental thrillers" and housed in bookstores' mystery sections.
Carl Hiaasen was born (March 12, 1953) and raised in Plantation, Florida - the first of four children. He now lives in the Florida Keys with his family.
Hiaasen, Carl: Newspaper columnist, environmentalist, and author, Career, Sidelights, Selected writings