Here’s a picture of my friend Frances and me.
On the morning this photo was taken, we’d met for coffee in leafy Parque Mexico before Dave and I were to embark on the rest of our day. However, we ended up spending a lot of time talking about our families, our gardening plans and our enneagram signs. ( I’m a six. She’s a two. Does this mean anything to you?)
I’ve come up with a new math equation. Women + Interest in Personal Growth = Cultural Universal. Anyway, Frances and I always marvel at the fact that we come from two different cultures and yet have so many of the same interests.
When we finally looked at our watches (OMG the time!), I got on the cell phone—like every other Mexico City resident— and arranged to meet Dave in another of my favorite neighborhoods in Mexico City—The Roma. Actually, the two neighborhoods that I love sort of merge into one another and are sometimes referred to as Condesa/Roma.
I wanted to walk around Parque Rio de Janeiro—the setting that inspired my novel. After the 1985 earthquake, the buildings around the park, which are so romantic, fell into disrepair. Many were abandoned, and it didn’t take long for Mexico City’s artists, musicians and writers to move in.
I don’t know what it’s like for other writers of women’s fiction, but I didn’t make a conscious decision to write about the two expat sisters—Vivienne and Lili— who inhabit a house on this park. They just came to me, like new friends do—and I spent the rest of the time trying to get to know them—their passions, their rivalries, their secrets. Finally, the whole draft came together and the title —Palace of the Blue Butterfly— as well. I have no, I mean it, no idea how I got the title. It just flew into my head the way a bird might fly into a room.
If you are familiar with Nahautl, you’ll know that Quetzalpapalotl means Blue Butterfly, and if you know that, you’ll know that Blue Butterfly was the rain god’s (Tlaloc) wife. Okay. Actually, the real translation is iridescent, blue-green butterfly goddess. Not really a book title.
Well, to continue in this pedantic vein a moment . . . the actual Palacio de Quetzalpapalotl is a beautiful temple to Blue Butterfly at Teotihuacan, which houses this mural . . .
The Paradise of Tlaloc. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of Pre-Columbian art.
A little digression, I know, except that’s Mexico—so many layers, ancient, colonial, modern—and they all sort of blur.
After poking our heads into the OMR gallery, Dave and I ended up in a little tea shop on Orizaba—the street that wraps around Rio de Janeiro Park, the street where my characters Vivienne and Lili live. Okay. Live? I can hear you say. Uh . . . Jane?
Oh dear. That’s why I have to get this book out there in the world . . . as an e-book, anything, so Lili and Vivienne can actually live— in someone else’s head not just mine— and can be sitting at a table in this exact cafe on a lovely, autumn evening when one of them gets the news that . . .
If any of you folks out there know anyone who has published an e-book, I’d love to hear about it. And yes, I’ve gotten agents and so on. They were both lovely, supportive people who only wanted the best for me. And then, there’s the publishing industry, the economy and well . . . If you write, you know the rest of the story. Let’s just not go there. Life, my friends, is too short, and there’s still so much to do!