FALLSDALE – A local writer has recently published her first novel, which is now available for purchase.

FALLSDALE – A local writer has recently published her first novel, which is now available for purchase.

Melody Balthaser, a resident from Fallsdale, published the first of a three-book series, Seeking Sophie, through CrossRiver Media.

The publisher is based out of Brewster, Kansas.

The novel came out this past Monday and is available through Amazon, CrossRiver Media and it will also be available in some book stores.

Seeking Sophie is in the historical romance/inspirational genre and is about a character's faith journey.

According to CrossRiver Media, the story follows Sophie, an orphaned, indentured servant in 1858 New England, who stabs her master to protect herself from rape.

Now she must rely on her brother to protect her. His plan to ensure her safety strands her on an island in the hands of a stranger.

Surrounded by the sea and occupied with the duties of a lighthouse keeper, Jackson Scott just wants to be left alone.

His fortress is about to crumble when his friend deposits Sophie on his doorstep. An old debt needs to be aid and the cost is dear.

Balthaser started writing the book seven years ago.

“My niece follows a blog of another author who works with CrossRiver Media and told me I should check them out,” she said. “I went there through a wing and a prayer.”

Balthaser has always loved writing and credits two English teachers for helping her pursue the field. Those teachers were Barbara Edwards and Roberta Conroy.

“They were very encouraging,” she stated. “They were a big push for me to consider writing.”

Balthaser said CrossRiver Media has been a great company to work with and that her editor is “awesome.”

“You don't have to be good at everything,” she said. “There are other people who can help you with it. The key is to write a good and compelling story.”

She added historical romance is her favorite genre and that writing comes more naturally in that genre for her.

“The characters start forming and then it takes on a life of its own,” Balthaser said.

She is currently working on the second book in the series.

“I'm going to keep writing,” she said. “It happens naturally. I'm going to see where it goes.”

Balthaser said she's excited the book is out for people to see and said it's also nerve racking and very surreal.

“I'm hoping they [CrossRiver Media] pick up the series,” she said. “I'm hoping for a three-book series.”

She added she also has other ideas for novels.

Balthaser has been working hard to get word out about her book. She has done a lot of promoting through social media and blogging and hopes to do more book signings and book clubs.

She will be speaking to a class at Damascus Elementary as well.

“You have to keep trying,” Balthaser says to anyone wishing to publish a book. “If you want it out there, keep trying to put it out. Even if you are weak in an area, find people who can help you.”

She also recommends building a platform and getting the word out in different ways if you want to publish.

“We are all unique,” Balthaser stated. “Each writing journey is different.

“You can learn from others, but remember that it's your thing. Also remember that God loves us and wants the best for us. Know that it's okay to be you.”

She added the best thing to do is enjoy the ride and see where it takes you.

Melody Balthaser lives in rural Pennsylvania with her husband and their three children. She has traveled to Africa to help orphans in Zambia and worked in children’s and women’s ministry.

She enjoys traveling, hiking, camping and canoeing. When winter settles in she heads indoors to sit in front of the wood stove, while a classic chick-flick plays on the T.V. and homemade soup simmers on the stove.

Seeking Sophie will be available on Amazon, CrossRiverMedia.com and area bookstores.

To learn more, visit www.MelodyBalthaser.com.

You can also find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/melodylbalthaser, Twitter at https://twitter.com/MelodyBalthaser and at http://www.pinterest.com/melodybalthaser/ and http://melodysperspective.me.