Shelby Elementary teacher writes young adult novel

By KATIE MCDOWELL/Lifestyles Editor

Shelby Elementary School teacher Amy Nelson recently published her first novel – Saving Elizabeth.

Nelson, whose pen name is Amy Machelle, describes the book as a “young adult paranormal romance.”

“I would categorize it as a Christian story,” she said. “It’s a back-to-faith story.”

The novel follows 16-year-old Elizabeth Bridges, who loses faith in God following the death of her father. Following a move to a new town, she begins to have dreams of “monsters” chasing her and a handsome male stranger who comes to her aid.

“She realizes the things she’s dreaming about are real,” Nelson said.

The novel was partially inspired by the Twilight series. Several years ago, Nelson noticed that the teenage girls in her husband’s youth group at First Freewill Baptist Church in Sylacauga were infatuated with the novel.

“They were coming into youth group with their Twilight books instead of their Bibles,” she said.

Nelson read the novels to find out why they captivated young girls. After some research, she realized that most Christian literature overlooked the young adult market.

“They didn’t really have a teen section,” she said. “I sort of tried to fill the gap.”

She began writing the novel, usually working late at night so she could spend time with her husband and now 4-year-old daughter. She completed the book in 2009 and began searching for a publisher.

Tell-Tale Publishing, a small, independent press, made an offer, which was finalized in May 2011. The book was released for purchase in E-book format in December 2011, and the publishing company plans to release a print version in the future.

Saving Elizabeth is available for Nook and Kindle downloads, as well as in a PDF version at

For more information about the Nelson or the novel, visit