Background and Other Notes of Interest

The genesis of The Glass Butterfly was a thought that came to me while I was shopping in an antiques store–in Cannon Beach, as it happens, where this novel is set.  There were such fascinating things there, and I was intrigued by how many stories they represented. China, glassware, linens, old books and records–and photographs.  Framed family photographs, which must once have represented a family’s history, and which now–through some twist of events I could only imagine–were offered for sale to strangers.  It occurred to me that a person could reinvent her life completely with such things, invent an entire history for herself, and start anew.  This is what Tory Lake does, and does successfully–except that she brought one item of her own real life with her on her journey, and that changes everything.


Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon, becomes Tory Lake’s cathedral, a place she retreats to for solace.  She dreams of another place and another time, the source of the music she loves, like this exquisite aria from Turandot, “Nessun dorma”:

Giacomo Puccini had a very special home in Torre del Lago, on Lake Massaciuccoli, where he retreated to work and where a number of the great singers of the day–Enrico Caruso among them–came to rehearse with him.  The villa was a renovated tower, known as Villa Puccini.  Puccini and his friends filled the tiny village with glorious music, like this famous aria from the opera Gianni Schicchi, “O mio babbino caro”:

Villa Puccini is now a museum run by the granddaughter of the composer.  Music plays as you tour the villa, seeing where Puccini composed, where the family took their meals, and how the little balcony on the second floor looks out over a garden Puccini himself designed.

Imagine the music that must have poured from this house!  Perhaps even this lovely aria from La Boheme, “Mi chiamano Mimi”:

Tory dreams of two very different worlds, and neither one is her own: