Melody Balthaser, author, mother, (and my sister-in-law!) just released her new book “Seeking Sophie.” Set in a lighthouse, the story is all at once suspenseful, romantic, thrilling and inspiring. I was proud to be able to talk to her about the story, and her own personal journey in publishing it.
PGTW: So what is the book actually about?
Melody: This book is about a young woman finding her place in a male dominated nineteenth-century world. It is a struggle between the desire for independence and belonging. – A common theme in my writing 🙂
And what’s the message?
The message throughout the book is that no matter what the situation looks like there is always hope.
I’m always fascinated by the journey – the internal one – that it takes to form and write a story. You’ve been kind of fascinated by lighthouses for a while, now, I know… tell me how this all came together….
It sounds funny but this story just began to take shape in my mind. Characters came alive and took up residence in my brain and the story unfolded over the next few years! I had read a little harlequin romance about a lighthouse keeper whose wife died suddenly and he had to row ashore and find a wife immediately. Lighthouses and the mystic surrounding them have always fascinated me so it was a perfect setting for my story.
No, I began to write it immediately but it took many years to develop as I was busy with a family and had no real aspirations of becoming an author at that time.
What do you ultimately hope that people take away from it?
I hope that people realize how much God loves them and that His plans for them are excellent! I also want people to be inspired to be tenacious and courageous in living out their lives.
This is obviously a labor of love for you – so in addition to knowing the story in the book itself, I’m dying to know your own story of evolution – how does it feel to accomplish such an amazing thing? To me, being an author, publishing a book – is a dream and such a big deal! What does it feel like?
I have always envied people who know exactly what they wanted to be from an early age. I, on the other hand, felt like a butterfly flitting from one flower to another as I tried different careers. I never knew I had a gift for novel writing. At bookstores, I would gaze at the books lining the shelves and wonder what it would be like to have my name on the cover.
I love it!! What has been the most surreal or ‘pinch me’ moment since the book has come out?
Holding my first copy of Seeking Sophie and laying in bed reading it just like I had done with so many other novels over the years. This one had my name on the cover!
I can imagine!! I also happen to know you have a husband and three kids and a job and church activities you’re involved in – so how did you find the time to do this?
I’ve come to the conclusion that every phase of life has it’s challenges and I’m constantly trying to find focus and prioritize my activities. I love early mornings when my family is still sleeping and the only sound is the gentle trickling of our fish tank. I pour myself a strong cup of coffee and step into the minds of my characters.
What message would you give to other women (and moms) who have a dream of becoming an author?
Becoming an author takes determination to see your story through to the ending and stay with the process of critiques and editing and publication. You have to do the hard work but in the end it takes submitting it to God and allowing Him to open the right doors in His perfect timing.
I’m so happy for you!!!