Author L. Filloon to speak at ASCC
A new voice in fantasy fiction appeared on shelves in the nation’s bookstores in 2011 in the form of a book titled “The Binding” by an author going by the name of L. Filloon. What few knew at the time was that the “L” stands for Logo, short for Fa’alologo, and that “L. Filloon” is a Samoan in fact born here in the Territory, although she grew up in Hawaii and San Diego.
Filloon has not returned to American Samoa since her early childhood, but she will be in town this week to talk about her life, her craft, and the successful novels that make up The Velesi Trilogy, a series that takes place in a fantasy realm and has made the author something of a sensation among fans of the fantasy genre.
Filloon will speak at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) this Friday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the College’s Lecture Hall. Her talk is open to the public, although seating may be limited.
Speaking from her home in Las Vegas, Filloon shared her thoughts about encouraging young people who may have an interest in becoming writers.
“Self doubt is one of the biggest adversaries a young writer faces,” she reflected. “I can’t tell you how many emails and letters I receive from young writers looking for guidance, searching for approval on following their dreams and words of encouragement to brave the onslaught of ‘what if’s?’”
She believes that a mentor can make a big difference in encouraging fledgling writers to stick with the craft.
“I’ve been fortunate enough and blessed to have several mentors in my life, because mentors are not meant to live your life with you but to guide you in the direction you wish to go in life. Great examples of early mentors for young writers are their parents and teachers. A mentor can walk a young person through that gauntlet to a place of strength and courage so they can make their dreams a reality.”
Filloon also has strong opinions on the role education plays in building literary skills.
“English classes don’t just teach you how to write a sentence, they open you to a world of writing that transcends beyond your classroom walls,” she emphasized. “English was the major I had to get an ‘A’ in. No matter how I was doing in my other classes, I could not fail English. I knew at a young age I wanted to be a writer, but before I could start I needed to know the basics. Like any other art form you commit yourself to, you need the proper tools and the guidance to start.”
With that proper guidance, Filloon believes, language opens the door to extraordinary levels of self-expression.
“Being exposed to the works of Hemingway, Frost, Poe, Hawthorne and many more, you learn not only how they write but also why. You learn how words are used, manipulated and construed to create beautiful stories, poetry and lyrics by some of our greatest authors, musicians, and poets. Look how politicians use provoking oratories that rile and build within the listener a sense of patriotic brotherhood, all from putting one word in front of another. As a writer, you learn how to bring your thoughts together in written words to solidify and communicate them, and how relate what you see, hear and feel to others and make “them” see, hear and feel how “you’ want them to.”
Asked how she chose to write in the fantasy genre, she explained, “I believe story lines are limited to the author’s reality. Real-life stories are limited to a universal truth that is our reality, a reality that most can anchor to and relate to. Fantasy story lines break those boundaries and take a reader away from the mundane and the norm. When writing fantasy, the sky is the limit. Within your story you can create your own realms filled with your own being and creatures. You give them breath and soul, intent and purpose. You bring to life something strange and beautiful and you are able to share it with like-minded readers all over the world. It’s awesome when your creations are looked upon and spoken about as if they actually exist.”
Filloon’s “creations” reflect her multi-cultural upbringing, and even echo her Samoan origins.
“The course of my life has been influenced by the mythology of many cultures because I was fascinated by the mystical and fantastic and still am,” she said. “I grew up in the states and although I remember some of the Samoan mythology mentioned when I was a young girl, it seldom influences how I write today. However, that doesn’t mean I am without the influences of my culture. It is part of my creative core, part of what continues to provoke new and exciting worlds I can create within my writing. It is the foundation of my creativity.”
The author sometimes fields questions about the surname she writes under, and Filloon shared how the name has a “stranger than fiction” story to go with it.
“My first husband was Irish, French and American Indian,” she explained. “When his great, great, great grandfather migrated to Ellis Island from Ireland, he changed his last name from O’Fallon to Filloon because his brother was a horse thief and he didn’t want to be associated with such a criminal. And, as you know, Logo is short for Fa’alologo, hence… Logo Filloon.”
For more information on Filloon’s talk at the College, contact the ASCC Library at 699-9155, extension 418.