By Emily Williams-Robertshaw
Birmingham natives and childhood best friends Anna Nash and Katy Shelton recently celebrated the culmination of a book project four years in the making.
They hosted a virtual book release party Oct. 26 to celebrate the publication of their holiday devotional, “Christmas Matters: How the Birth of Jesus Makes a Difference Every Day.” The book came to be through a collaboration with Iron Stream Media and New Hope Publishers.
The pair plan to host an in-person book signing Nov. 13 at Nash’s family business, Innova Coffee, from 10 a.m. until noon.
Nash and Shelton’s mission with the book is to show readers that, “The joy of Christmas doesn’t just have to last the month of December.”
The daily devotional seeks to showcase why the story of Jesus and his birth make a difference every day of the year.
It’s dedicated to their mothers, who were close friends and shared their Christian faith with their daughters.
As Shelton notes, she and Nash never knew a day without each other, having been friends throughout their childhood, their schooling at Briarwood Christian School and as roommates at Auburn University.
After college, amid marriage and raising their respective children, they became “Christmas card friends.” Then they reconnected at a college reunion and began collaborating with each other.
Both women are veterans in the writing industry.
Shelton, an Auburn graduate and Lake Martin resident, has been published in blogs, newspapers and magazines and notes that her skills lie in editing.
Nash has written a book and developed a study workshop, “pathFinder, A Journey Towards Purpose.” She is also a life coach and director of the nonprofit Beacon People, which works with people to build a purpose-driven life.
Inspiration From Luke
When Shelton initially conceived the idea for “Christmas Matters,” she had spent the days leading up to Christmas challenging herself to read through the Book of Luke, which tells the story of Jesus through his birth and resurrection.
Shelton said she approached Nash after completing her journey with the idea to collaborate on a book following the parables of Luke.
Initially, Nash turned down the offer, but Shelton kept pressing her and Nash finally agreed.
Their roles in the writing process meshed seamlessly.
“Anna has this wonderful gift of what I call ‘Anna-logy’,” Shelton said. Nash pulls examples from her own life to match her interpretations of the works she reads in the Bible to make the stories more relatable.
So, Nash would write out her stories and Shelton, an editor at heart, would turn it into a chapter that was concise enough to be easily digestible for the reader.
“We can almost read each other’s (minds) because we grew up together,” Shelton said, which made the process that much more enjoyable.
Last year, Nash and Shelton released an e-book version of “Christmas Matters.” This publication offers a different experience.
“There are three questions, more cross reference promises and a prayer at the end to make it personal, process and meditate over what you’ve read and learned,” Nash said.
In addition, the women have expanded their project and will be publishing a second devotional, “Easter Matters, How the Resurrection of Jesus Changes You.” The book will walk through the Book of John from the Bible and will include daily devotionals for the Lenten season.
It will be released Feb. 15.
For more information, visit Christmasmattersbook.com.