Bankrate: You always kept your day job. Was that due to an underlying skepticism that the fiction writing would work out?
Carl Hiaasen: Absolutely right. There's no business as unstable for a writer as book publishing. I mean, most people get a paycheck regardless of what kind of week or month or year they've had, they still get a check every week. The security of having the paycheck from the Herald coming in was essential, because there are gaps in royalty payments and gaps in the advances you get. At the beginning of each year, I have no idea what I'm going to make that year, none whatsoever, so it's pretty tough to budget when you've got a family, a college plan for your kids, this and that. I could have a great year or I could have a lousy year. If someone in Hollywood buys one of the books, suddenly it's a great year. It is uncertain. When there has been a point in your life that you haven't had any money, you are very careful with it, and I am.
If you can't predict what your income will be, it's important to budget.