Jennifer Graves is the mother of 5 beautiful children, 2 girls and 3 boys. She and her husband have been happily married for 19 years and together have been active in their community and church.
Jennifer is the sister of Josh Powell who killed his 2 sons, Charlie and Braden, as well as himself in February of 2012, and is also believed to have killed his wife, Susan Cox Powell, in December of 2009.
She is the recipient of the 2013 ChainBreaker of the year Award, given for breaking the chain of abuse and violence in her family.
She enjoys homeschooling their children and mentoring in classes for the commonwealth school they attend. She also loves reading, playing card and board games, and learning new things. Most of all she loves to spend time with her husband and children. They currently reside in West Jordan, UT.
Emily Clawson is an author, a mother and a mentor. She traditionally writes inspirational fiction. This book has been a life changing experience for her and she is grateful to have been a part of telling this story. She resides in Taylorsville with her husband and four children where they run their leadership mentoring programs for youth.
Before working on A Light In Dark Places, had you ever considered writing a book?
I had never seriously considered writing a book before writing A Light in Dark Places. I really started into the process in January 2012, though I had the impression that I should write the book in January 2010, about 3 weeks after my sister-in-law’s disappearance. At first I was afraid of the idea and had no idea what to really write about. Should it be about Susan’s disappearance? About Josh and Susan’s troubled marriage? I tried to follow through with the impression but found stumbling blocks in my path each way I turned and I finally set it aside. In January 2012, I had the impression come to me strongly again and decided I shouldn’t ignore it. I started to write. It was not the best quality, for sure, but I was finally writing. In February 2012, my nephews, Charlie and Braden, were murdered by their father, my brother, Josh Powell. It halted my writing progress for a time as the grief overwhelmed me. Emily Clawson, my co-author, and I came together shortly after this tragedy, and it was through working with her that I finally came to realize that I needed to tell not just Susan’s story, but my story too.
Where did you meet your co-author?
Emily and I had known each other for a while already. We both homeschool our children and homeschoolers frequently end up running into each other at different events. I didn’t, however, know that she was a writer until after Charlie and Braden were murdered. She offered help with the writing process, big or small, and after praying about it I knew we needed to work together on this. I am so grateful for Emily and her amazing talents!
How would you describe A Light in Dark Places?
A Light in Dark Places is a story about relationships. The patterns of abuse and dysfunction are brought to life in this compelling true story. Disclosed are details about life growing up with an abusive father. I share my insights about Josh and Susan’s relationship, and also offer views on what made my life so very different from those of my siblings.
What has been most helpful to you as you’ve moved forward from this tragedy?
My faith in God has been very grounding for me. Knowing that there is life after death, and that I’ll see Susan, Charlie and Braden again because of the wonderful plan Heavenly Father has prepared for us, his children, brings a great deal of peace. My husband has also been an anchor of support and steadiness through everything. I’m very grateful for him. Heavenly Father has been very kind and sent many other wonderful people my way as well. I have felt surrounded by an army of loving, kind people going out of their way to bring comfort in any way they could. We all need people, even sometimes when we think we don’t. Heavenly Father continues to support and comfort me in many ways, including sending friends when I need them!
What is the message you would like readers to take away from your story?
There’s always hope! For those who find themselves in an abusive relationship, I hope they find the courage to make the hard choices--for the sake of their own lives and those of their children. Abuse is not okay. It is not something we ‘deserve’ because we didn’t do something just right, or haven’t tried hard enough, or brought it on ourselves. It’s never okay! I hope readers will recognize abuse in their own lives or the lives of others around them--and then act to stop it.
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