What’s behind the creative mind: Isabelle Laflèche

By Hannah Polinski

Celebrating the arts in Brome-Missisquoi

Life has a funny way of bringing us to our passions, even if the path to get there isn’t always clear from the beginning. Such is the case for writer Isabelle Laflèche, who began her career as a corporate lawyer on Wall Street, chasing a big-city dream and glamorous version of success. As a child, she had always loved writing stories, something that could keep her occupied for hours. It wasn’t until her mid-thirties that this all changed, when she was stopped on the streets of New York by a psychic who told her to quit her career as an attorney and to begin writing.

“I left the practice of law for the simple reason that I chose this career path for the wrong reasons,” Laflèche explains. “I thought it was the right way to meet society’s expectations of success when in fact this career left me feeling burnt-out. Success truly comes when you choose to do what you love[…] I believe that we all have talents and gifts that we are meant to explore in this lifetime and exploring them will bring us joy.”

As a spiritual person, Laflèche took the psychic’s words to heart, leading her to launch her career as a writer. While law was not the right path for her, her work as a lawyer and time in New York have had a great influence on her writing, particularly her first novel J’Adore New York, which follows a chic Parisian lawyer who transfers to New York City and must navigate the struggles of a new pace of life and romance on the horizon. Her own lived experiences in the field, as well as her knowledge of the legal world, lended the credibility that her protagonist needed to pull the reader right in to this fictional tale.

Her narratives have a strong cosmopolitan feel, as evidenced in her successful Bonjour Girl series, which follows a multilingual international student’s adventures at fashion school in New York and Shanghai as she confronts bullying and harassment in an increasingly digital world. As a storyteller, Laflèche uses literature to help her readers travel and learn about new places, providing a cultural education through the written word.

“A young reader who had enjoyed my adult novels was bullied online and I witnessed it first-hand on Facebook,” Laflèche explains of her inspiration behind the Bonjour Girl series. “It made me sad to see how young people treat each other on social media. I decided to write this series to show young readers that there are ways to overcome bullying and to reclaim your power and dignity in a graceful and creative way.”

The writer has received positive feedback from this series from young readers, allowing her to make a difference in the lives of people struggling through anxiety or bullying in an age where social media has its grips on the physical world just as strongly as the digital one. Her novels tend to attract women with a similar background to her own, who enjoy travel, fashion, spirituality, and self-development with a good sense of humour.

While her novels may take place far from the Eastern Townships, Laflèche keeps the area close to her heart. As a child, her parents often rented cottages in the area, where she developed a deep love and appreciation for the region. While her fictional novels don’t visit the Townships, they are mentioned, along with photographs, in her new book Splendeur: Naviguer à Travers Le Changement et La Transformation.

This Francophone self-help book takes a personal approach as Laflèche gives advice for readers to navigate change and transformation in their own lives, drawing on her experiences of how she went from being a stressed-out lawyer in New York to writing novels and speaking in the spiritual field. Splendeur will soon be available as an e-book on Amazon, teaching others how to pursue their dreams.

“[The psychic] changed my life and I am extremely grateful,” Laflèche emphasizes. “Today, I offer writing workshops and coaching services to help others align with their creative dreams and life purpose.”

Laflèche is currently working on books in a new genre, which for now she is keeping a secret. To learn more about her services as a spiritual coach or find out more about her novels, check out her website at www.isabellelafleche.net.

This project has been made possible by the Community Media Strategic Support Fund offered jointly by the Official Language Minority Community Media Consortium and the Government of Canada.

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