Interview with Charles Au Lavoie

What inspired you to write about expat Filipinas in particular?
My novel takes its origin from my friendship with a Filipina who was deeply involved in her community. I was her companion, chauffeur, and confident. Through her, I met Filipino expats living in Canada and Hawaii— men and women in their fifties, sixties and seventies who went abroad to work and start a new life. I had heard some of the matriarch’s personal story; I was now hearing other stories.
How did you capture Filipino culture in the book?
I felt the need to go to the Philippines to research the past of some of the men and women I had met over the years. I went three times. I saw how Filipinos were living, working, and, interacting with one another, and came to understand what fiestas meant to them. In Canada, I had met mostly older individuals; once I set foot in the Philippines, I was overwhelmed by the youth packed into jeepneys and piled up on tricycles. I interviewed several of them. When they were not proficient in English, I would simply observe them at work. Prior to my first trip to the Philippines, the book had only one main character; suddenly a new character was born—the nephew, a gentle soul struggling with his sexual orientation.
Why is this story so important for you to tell?
The book is about Us and Them; it examines the divide between these Filipinos and the North Americans —who encounter them on a daily basis, employers, co-workers, churchgoers and neighbours,—and the prejudices on both sides. Through the eyes of one of the three main characters, a gay Caucasian man, the reader discovers how Filipino expats see themselves. Their self-imposed isolation sometimes weights heavily on the second generation. Legacy of a Filipina explores the universal themes of love, loss and new beginnings—with a twist.
Published 2017-07-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Legacy of a Filipina
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 100,610. Language: English. Published: July 14, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » General, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Asian American
Legacy of a Filipina, a new novel by Charles Au Lavoie, examines the divide between these Filipinos and the North Americans who encounter them on a daily basis: employers, co-workers, church-goers and neighbours.