Dream becomes ‘The Peacock Butterfly’


Janice Lamotte Lavalle, a former Fairfield resident, has published her first novel, “The Peacock Butterfly.” It is set in Fairfield, among other local towns and cities. (Julie Butler photo)

“When dreams do not come true, make new ones.”

This is not only something that former Fairfield resident and debut novelist Janice Lamotte Lavalle once told a friend, it is also a line offered to the main character of her recently published work of fiction, The Peacock Butterfly.

“I was always a dreamer,” Lamotte Lavalle said. “I always had hope. So I wanted to impart this message through the book — even in your darkest hour, you need to cling to your dream … or make a new one.”

Lamotte Lavalle, whose personal dream had always been to write a book, titled her book after the symbolism of the Peacock butterfly.

“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? She read in her book when the wings were closed the underside was a noticeable dull brown, creating deception, serving to frighten away or divert predators. Now she understood the significance of perception, how something can give the illusion it is not what it seems.”

“The book is about expectation, perception and deception,” Lamotte Lavalle said. “Just because something tragic happens, don’t give up on your dreams.”

Lamotte Lavalle knows of which she speaks (and writes).

When she was living in Fairfield and New Canaan in the early 1970s to the early 1990s, a personal and sudden traumatic event occurred, and she has spent the better part of the past 20 years climbing out of the results of that event — as well as another ensuing tragedy that also befell her — during her metamorphosus that has been akin to that of a caterpillar into a butterfly.


The Fairfield years

While a resident here, Lamotte Lavalle lived on Unquowa Road. She attended and graduated from Sacred Heart University while raising her two children, R.J. and Michelle. As a student at SHU, she was instrumental in developing what eventually became the Council on Aging.

A native of Massachusetts, she moved back there for five years after living in Fairfield County, and then spent a decade in Florida before moving back to Massachusetts last year.


The making of a dream

Lamotte Lavalle has always been a storyteller. Although her educational background was in social work, she began writing as a child. In the 1980s, she started writing a kids book, “but put it aside,” she said. She also wrote a novel in the mid-90s called Blind Trust, which took place at the end of the 19th Century.

“I showed it to a friend, who gave it to an agent,” she said. “They liked it, but said it needed work.

The book then found its way to an agent in New York through another friend.

“I met with him,” she said. “He took the manuscript out of his briefcase, and when he opened it up, there was a sea of red [pen marks]!”

In 2008, while watching TV — and after a painful illness — she said, the idea for the novel that was to become The Peacock Butterfly just “came into my head and I ran to the computer and started writing.”

“I didn’t write the book, the book wrote itself,” she said of her novel, which is set in Fairfield, New Canaan and Concord, Mass.

She showed the manuscript to her son, R.J., who told her, “There’s a great story here, Mom, but it needs a lot of work.”

And so she worked on it for another two and one-half years.

“I believed in this story and its message and wanted to get it published,” she said.

It was finally published in June 2012 through Bent Spoon Media, an offshoot of her son’s company.

She is selling it through word of mouth, book clubs, BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com, and lulu.com.

Lamotte Lavalle is already at work on a sequel.

“People asked me if I would be writing one,” she said. “And like with the first one, an idea for a sequel just popped into my head and I realized, wow, there is a sequel!”

“I’m in Act III,” said Lamotte Lavalle, who is in her early 70s. “I’m doing what I want to do and what I should be doing. This has always been inside of me; the opportunity presented itself now,” she said.

“My dream had always been to write a book,” she said, “and I’ve done it and I am loving it.”

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