Family collaborates on new book

Jason Wright just published a family project, "A Letter to Mary," with his wife Kodi, center, providing the photography, and his daughter Jadi, 17, left, portraying Mary. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – New York Times best-selling author Jason Wright adds to his collection of books he’s written with “Letters to Mary,” a fictional story of a letter Jesus writes to his mother.

“It’s about a woman whom I adore, written from the point of view of a man we worship, and created by a team that I love,” Wright states in the book.

Creation of the book was a family project.  Photographs for the book were taken by Wright’s wife Kodi, with the role of Mary was portrayed in those photos by their 17-year-old daughter Jadi.

Jadi said playing this iconic role was a surreal experience that she is glad to have been a part of, but admits that she felt strange when she saw the first printed photo of herself as the mother of Christ.

In the book, Jesus thanks his mother for his birth and the care and love he received and commends her on the struggles she endured raising the son of God.

Others from the Shenandoah Valley were featured in photos in the book as well. Spencer Shemwell played Joseph, Bexley Shemwell played infant Jesus, Matthew Richards played the boy Jesus and Rosie Gagnon played Elisabeth.

Jason Wright said that while they may not be precise physical matches to the historical figures, the photos represent what he sees in his mind’s eye when he pictures them in a “Bethlehem yearbook.”

Kodi Wright said a struggle of deciding on locations for the photo shoots was finding places and wardrobe that looked Middle Eastern to match Jesus’ place of upbringing. The Baldwin, Cottrell, Gagnon, Massey, Peer and Robinson families provided the locations and clothing.

Jason Wright said the story began as a simple Facebook post that turned into something much more, a publishable work of art.

He said he spent an hour writing the book, but about three months editing and perfecting the story he wanted to tell the world.

This newest book joins his collection of previously published books that include adult contemporary fiction and a children’s picture book. He is working on his first nonfiction novel, and a children’s novel is under review by his publisher.

Writing is his passion and Jason Wright said he doesn’t intend to stop writing anytime soon. He said he knew in the third grade that writing would always be a part of his life and even after venturing off into other jobs he migrated back to writing.

He said writing is a job and as with any other job, you have to keep working at it, regardless of how you feel at the moment. He added that he has written in his office, at restaurants and at parks; wherever he feels comfortable and focused.

He said that when a spark of inspiration hits him, he finds a place to write and types away before the thought disappears from his mind.

“It’s less about where you’re at and more about the focus,” he said.

Get rid of distractions, such as televisions and phones, he said, and the words will begin to flow from you.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or


Book Signing

The Wright family and others involved in the creation of “Letters to Mary” will be signing books from 2-4 p.m. Nov. 19 at Fort Valley Nursery, 1175 Hisey Ave., Woodstock.