Everyone has no doubt heard about Josh Powell and his horrible actions. His wife, Susan Cox Powell, is still missing and presumed dead while family members continue to mourn the loss of Charlie and Braden.
No one can understand the story better than Jennifer Graves. As Josh’s older sister she has watched his downward spiral for years. But she never could have thought things would turn out this way. Jennifer is an amazing woman. She has stayed strong in her faith even though all of her siblings have caved in to the twisted control of her father, Steve Powell. She is a wonderful wife and mother and teaches leadership to youth. Most astounding to me is the level of peace that she has found even in the middle of all of this.
On that awful day back in February when Josh killed his sons and set fire to his house in Washington, I discovered for the first time that Jennifer was his sister. It wasn’t hidden, I had just not followed the case very closely. She was a friend, mostly because our children were involved in the same educational programs. We always enjoyed seeing each other but it was very casual. As dozens of people poured out their condolences over Facebook, I made the connection for the first time.
I hurried to offer my own sympathy, saddened by the fact that I had never been a good enough friend to understand what she was going through over the last two years. We talked a few times during the next couple of weeks, just quick words of comfort and encouragement. It was about that time that Jennifer’s husband, Kirk, mentioned to me that Jenn was writing and it was helping her process everything that had happened. I offered a listening ear or support if she needed it in the writing process.
Jennifer took me up on the offer and we spent some time chatting. She expressed her frustration with the process. She knew the story needed to be told but writing it was not something she enjoyed. I don’t know which one of us came up with the idea first but we left that conversation with the thought that maybe we could work together.
During our next meeting I made it clear to Jennifer that I did not want to pressure her into choosing me as her co-author. I feel that her story needs careful handling. She had already been approached by two authors who were interested in telling her story, both with more experience than me. I told her that I was happy to help in any area she needed, even if that meant helping her to hook up with someone else, or just giving her feedback on her own writing. We both decided that this was a decision best made by consulting with our husbands and praying about it. That is the way we each find inspiration and we applied it here.
The next morning Jennifer texted me and said that she felt without question that I was the one who could tell the story that she wanted to tell.
I have never felt more humbled than I was at that moment (unless you count every moment I’ve spent working on the book since then). Yes, I am a novice in this genre. I am not a published author yet (although I do have some good news coming on that front soon). But I can tell you this. I am passionately committed to telling the story that Jennifer wants to tell. And that is the most important part.
In the meantime, I am working away. Jennifer supplies the personal details that no one else could share. She witnessed things that no one else saw or did. The story is big enough that the hardest part is just managing the flow. I find myself more of a cowboy than an author, wrangling in and roping the beast.
Jennifer continues to amaze me. We are quickly becoming very close friends and our book is halfway done! The story is so amazing and I can’t wait to share it with you!
I have the best critique group! We have a lot of fun, strengthen each others writing and in general, just work well together. I wanted to talk today about my two partners in crime. They are both much better in the blogosphere than I am and have heaps of valuable information to share with you as a reader or as an aspiring author.
First is Julie Coulter Bellon. Julie is an amazing mother to her eight children as well as an accomplished writer and editor. She always keeps me grounded in my setting and doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to getting blocking correctly. She keeps my commas in check and I love to hear her Canadian accent. Julie writes international romantic suspense. You’ll love her books! (I can’t wait for everyone else to read the one she’s finishing now. It’s seriously intense!)
Jordan McCollum and I sometimes disagree (which makes things even more interesting) but we always get along. Jordan has the cutest precocious children and she is a passionate blogger and speed-writer extraordinaire. Her first book is coming out next year and she has some KILLER stuff coming up. I mean that literally. She is also a suspense writer and keeps both Julie and I wanting more.
The three of us have found a great dynamic. We can rip each others writing to shreds all while laughing about it and wanting more. We stay up too late but get a lot done. It’s the best of all worlds. I am so grateful for the help they give to me, even though it hurts sometimes.
So, go check out their websites, buy their books and you’ll be as addicted to them as I am.
Due to a foul up with wordpress I lost all of my content and design for my site. Please be patient while I get it back up and running. I have exciting book news to share with you!