While working as a journalist for the Stars and Stripes (Darmstadt, Germany), the Athens News (Greece), the San Juan Star (Puerto Rico) and the Daily News (New York), I often felt that the deeper truths of the news stories and the people involved escaped the journalistic form. Don't get me wrong, journalism—as practiced by the truly accurate, fair-minded, determined, judicious purveyors of history's (and I'd say in many cases, good literature's) first drafts—is as important for a functioning democracy as—and this may sound weird—honest, caring, scrupulous politicians. 

     My journalistic endeavors provide me with real-life incidents on which to base plots for novels, and to try to make that intuitive leap into the heart of what or who I'm writing about. I believe that serious fiction is the lie that tells the truth.
     While some of my novels are based on true incidents, I also invent characters and events inspired by the original story to try to explore broader themes, always presenting foremost the personal stories of the characters in all their humanity, good and bad but seldom indifferent.
     All my four (now five) published novels have been set in Puerto Rico. I lived and worked on the island for more than 20 years and became intrigued by the people who live and survive there, and, specifically, how the highly ambivalent relationship between Puerto Rico and the U.S. plays out in personal lives.
     Here's a quote from William Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize-winning Albany novelist and former journalist who happened to have once been managing editor of the San Juan Star: "The fact-fiction tension always exists for the journalist-turned-novelist. There's always the compulsion to use your collected information, the power of the event, in some way or another. But you have to transform it. You have to let the information pass through your soul." 
     That's what I try to do. All my novels—Caribbean Dreams, Shadow of the Fathers, Under a Dark Sun, The Surrounding Sea, and now “Island Wildlife”—are listed and reviewed on the Amazon books website. 

Robert Friedman
Author of ISLAND WILDLIFE: Exiles, Expats and Exotic Others (Aignos 2018)