Joslyn Moldstad, a Mankato mother of seven, is laying the foundation of her literary career on the bedrock of her religious faith.
"Megan's Mountain," her first full-length novel, tells the story of a teen-age girl who unhappily rails against life's circumstances until a spiritual awakening guides her in the right direction.
Billed as young-adult fiction, the 333-page soft-cover book was released in recent weeks by America House Book Publishers, an imprint of PublishAmerica, Inc.
Moldstad, coming to Brainerd for a book-signing event this weekend, calls her novel a "unique book, in that it's a Christian novel with a mystery, which is unusual."
The author will discuss her works -- she's also authored several Christian devotionals and a children's book -- from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Book World at the Westgate Mall in Brainerd/Baxter.
Moldstad and her family have vacationed each summer for many years at a family cabin on Hay Lake, on the Whitefish Chain.
The author is married to the Rev. John Moldstad, a professor of New Testament theology at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary in Mankato. The couple has seven children ranging from ages 6 to 23.
A teacher trained at Dr. Martin Luther Academy in New Ulm, Moldstad operates a faith-based child-care center in Mankato. But she also has "dedicated her life to bringing the message of the Gospel to young people through my stories," she said in an interview this week.
"Young people are drawn to the spiritual truths of God's word through humor, intrigue and mystery," a combination she's employed in "Megan's Mountain," she said.
Growing up in the shadows of the San Juan Range in Colorado, Megan Taylor is caught in the turmoil of her parents' divorce, her father's financial collapse and the blame-game that accompanies these setbacks. The mountain is the only thing that seems dependable.
With the help of her young-adult Christian friends, Megan learns the value of forgiveness, the author said.
"This story shows that what you believe can help you with your daily life," Moldstad said. "It's targeted toward Christians searching to be spiritually uplifted."
The novel represents a rapid acceleration of Moldstad's writing career, which began in 1982 with "A Few Minutes With Jesus," a devotional released by Northwestern Publishing House, the publishing arm of the Wisconsin Lutheran Synod of Milwaukee.
Another devotional, "At Home With Jesus," was published by the same company in 1992, distributed over the years by the synod's affiliated insurance company to 150,000 policyholders, Moldstad said.
She also has written a children's novel and a "book of object lessons for children."
Moldstad circulated the early chapters of her latest work to several mainstream publishers before turning to America Home, an "on-demand" publishing company.
Spurred by technological advances, on-demand publishers have emerged in recent years as a ready alternative for first-time authors, more often than not ignored by major publishers.
Like many others of its kind, America Home prints copies of a book as retailers and consumers place their orders, sharing in the sales proceeds with the authors.
Moldstad said she receives 8 percent of every sale, but the publisher assumes all the costs of designing, printing and distributing the work. The author assumes the responsibility of marketing the book, although America Home lends a hand at national book fairs and industry conventions, she said.
"I'm just happy the book has been printed and if I work hard, it will gain visibility," Moldstad said. "So far, I'm getting lots of positive feedback from readers."
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