Debut novel takes flight

An image from the book by American author Janice Lamotte-Lavallee.

An image from the book by American author Janice Lamotte-Lavallee. - Credit: Archant

The village of Beeston and the Wendling air base at the time of the Second World War are key settings in a debut novel from American author Janice Lamotte-Lavallee.

Author Janice Lamotte-Lavallee.

Author Janice Lamotte-Lavallee. - Credit: Archant

The Peacock Butterfly is a story which which spans the globe, tracing the lives of two families over three generations, but much of it is set in mid-Norfolk and also features Norwich and how it suffered at the hands of Hitler's bombers.

Although it is essentially an American story that moves from the war to the Savings and Loan Crisis of the 1980s she placed much of the action in the county.

'When I was writing the book the character Jack had been sent to Alamogordo, New Mexico, where the 392nd Bombardment Group was stationed and sent in 1943 to Wendling,' she said.

'These facts dovetailed into my writing. It was a wonderful happenstance that I was also familiar with Norfolk, and the area.'

She said: 'Like so many other parts of the UK and the British Isles the beauty of this area, the breadth of history, and richness of culture always amaze me. From majestic Norwich Cathedral and the ancient city buildings of Norwich, to the lush land and beautiful beaches, the county's abundant natural offerings along with its history dating to pre-Roman times, Norfolk left me a satisfied traveller.'

She said her personal dream had always been to write a book and titled her book after the symbolism of the Peacock butterfly.

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'Legend says the eyes on the wings of the Peacock butterfly portend warning,' she writes in the book, regarding the main character of Nena.

'Buddhism says a butterfly flapping its wings on one continent can cause a tempest in another. Ideas are interlinked and minuscule actions can have wide-reaching repercussions. Could not the same thing be said about what happens in relationships?'

'The book is about expectation, perception and deception,' she said. 'Just because something tragic happens, don't give up on your dreams.'

Mrs Lavallee, who is in her 70s, started writing the book in 2008,when the idea for the novel 'came into my head and I ran to the computer and started writing.'

She added: 'I didn't write the book, the book wrote itself.' But after completing the first draft she worked on it for another two and one-half years before publishing.

The Peacock Butterfly has been well received and many readers already clamouring for it to be made into a film.

But she reportedly said: 'I didn't start writing the book to be famous or to make money. I wrote it because I felt I had a story to tell; but now that it has gotten to this point, I would love nothing more than this book to become a movie.

'I think this book could reach so many people on so many levels because of the universality of the human being; I think every reader could identify with something that happens to a character in there.'

The Peacock Butterfly is available to buy at, published by Bent Spoon Media.

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