Author meets with aspiring writers at ASCC
Former local resident, J. Robert Shaffer whose new book about Samoa titled ‘Samoa’ A Historical Novel — spoke with aspiring writers yesterday afternoon at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC).
Faculty member of the Language and Literature Department at ASCC, Poe Mageo told Samoa News that ASCC’s Fine Arts Department is pleased to have the opportunity to invite writers and artists to come in and share their experiences with the students.”
“It is good for these students to get a feel of what is out there.” He said since this book is recent, it gives students an opportunity to evaluate sources. “This is one of the most important skills for college students to acquire, to identify sources. We are very grateful for the opportunity for (Schaffer) to come in today and talk with some of our students.”
After recently returning to the territory from Samoa where he was promoting his book, Shaffer also spoke with Samoa News about his new novel.
“This is the second book I have written about Samoa. The first one, Governor Tauese Sunia commissioned me to write a non-fiction history book about one hundred years of American Samoa as a United States territory. That book I finished in the year 2000 for the 100th anniversary of American Samoa,” said Shaffer. He explained that his current book, this time a novel, took about six years to complete.
“The difference between this book and the first one is, this book is a novel, it is a story and it is not straight history. I follow Samoan history throughout the whole book and I use historic figures, but I create fictitious characters to tell the story. My main fictitious characters are actually based on real people. For example, I will put two real together and create one fictitious character, so that person can tell the story,” he explained.
He went on to explain that the book is the story of Samoa and it begins in 1300 BC, with it coming all the way up to the year of 1967. He said that about two thirds of the book is centered mainly in Apia, Samoa, because according to Shaffer that is where the history mainly took place at that time. About a third of the book takes place in American Samoa and Manu’a.
“I go into great detail about Manu’a and the king of Manu’a and what life was like at that time, in the 1700s,” he said.
‘Samoa’ A Historical Novel, is available at local bookstores and Polynesian Picks.